Misconceptions, if they aren’t addressed, can be really problematic for businesses of all sizes. When customers believe something that is untrue about your business or product, you can lose business and customer trust. Even if the misconception held by customers is positive, if it’s untrue, your customers are going to leave disappointed.
How customer misconceptions hurt your business
The problem with customer misconceptions is so serious, even huge corporations take action when they start to hear new misconceptions about their products.
Take a look at McDonald’s recent “What we’re made of” campaigns. They were designed to address the misconceptions, rumors, and myths that circulate about the origins of McDonald’s foods.
At some point, everyone has heard the rumor that McD’s chicken nuggets are made from the substance known as ‘pink slime,’ that their hamburgers were made from ingredients other than beef, that their french fries weren’t actually made from real potatoes.
McDonald’s stood by silently for years, letting the rumors weave their tangled web, before they stepped in and started offering official information about where their products come from and what they’re really made of.
As we talked about in a recent article about responding to negative reviews online, a lack of response is as good as admitting guilt in the business world. There is no option for pleading the fifth when it comes to rumors about your business. That’s why customer misconceptions must be addressed, even if it’s difficult or seems like a PR nightmare.
What misconceptions do your customers have?
A good way to find out the misconceptions your customers and audience may be holding about your company is to simply ask. Take a survey that asks questions about your company, what you do, what your products are, how they work, etc. Your customers’ honest responses will help you determine what misconceptions, if any, they believe about your business.
Another way to find out about customer misconceptions is to ask a friend or family member you know and trust. Start by letting them know you’re not there for a pat on the back or sugar-coating. Ask them for their perspective on what people might get wrong about your business.
For example, when working on this blog post, I asked my husband what misconceptions he thought people might have about virtual receptionists (the main service we offer here at Conversational). His response was, “When I see the words ‘virtual receptionist,’ I think of automated call answering, like a computer is answering the call, not a person.”
It was an “ah-ha!” moment. Because one of our main selling points is that we always have a real, live person answer our clients’ phone calls and not a computerized answering service, I knew this was a dangerous misconception that couldn’t go unchecked. I quickly made a note to address this misconception in a blog post later in the month.
A final way to check for any misconceptions people may have about your business is to look through your older customer service interactions.
What questions do people tend to ask about your company? What items do they normally need more clarification on? Do they approach you with any common misconceptions, rumors, or beliefs about your company that aren’t true? Make note of these and find ways to address them publicly so you can better manage your brand’s reputation.