Perception in Business
Perception is Real; Reality is Not
by: Daniel Sitter
Reality may at times confuse our senses. We have all been entertained or confused by optical illusions that trick our eyes into seeing things that may not actually be there. We have witnessed a ventriloquist throwing his voice or making sounds appearing to be emanating from a particular source, distant from where we might have expected. Have you had the experience where you were not certain if something was either extremely hot or cold to your touch? While traveling through a mountainous area, are you always certain whether you are going up or down a slope? If you smell asparagus while chewing green beans, you will certainly believe that you are eating asparagus. The point is that it is entirely possible to fool our senses.
So what is real? In the hit movie Forrest Gump, you would have “sworn by oath” that Lieutenant Dan had no legs, but we all know that esteemed actor Gary Sinise does indeed have two. So if what appears to be reality actually is not real, what is? Our perception of reality is what is actually real to us.
Perception is actually more important than reality in many cases. In the world of business, particularly marketing and advertising, perception is reality. Marketers spend great sums of money to alter your perception of their product. Their goal is for you to believe their advertising to be real and ultimately entice you to purchase their product, perceiving that it is right for you.
In the active area of delivering superior customer service, perception of an issue by the customer is often a very different matter than the actual circumstances might describe. The professional customer service specialist must actively listen in order to intelligently discern what the customer is actually saying, regardless of want the facts of the matter are. Often, a tense situation can be diffused by simply being sensitive to the customers’ viewpoint and perception of the issues, and then suggesting solutions based upon those perceptions. Insensitivity and indifference will fan the flame of customer anger and possibly lead to a lost customer.
Awareness of the facts is necessary but sensitivity to customer perception is critical. Accelerate your listening and learning skills. Listen closely to what the customer is really telling you, and then act. Paying more attention to customer perception will supercharge your customer service reputation and subsequent sales figures.
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