Hands down, the most powerful marketing tool your business can access is WOM, or Word-of-Mouth. Put beautifully targeted and designed advertising and marketing in front of a prospect all day long, and none of it has the strength of a personal recommendation or testimonial from a source he/she believes to be credible.
Putting WOM to work for you starts with an audit of your customer service policies and actions, ensuring all touchpoints with customers/clients are geared towards making and keeping them happy. Customer service staff are trained to do so, but what about the person who answers the phone? Delivers the order? A customer service orientation must be shared by everyone in the company.
Once you have a satisfied customer, you can wait and hope they say good things….OR you can take a proactive approach:
- provide a review section of your website and point them to it
- interview them for testimonials and/or case studies to use on your website, in marketing collateral and social media
- encourage happy customers to post their experience on social media
- create a referral program, offering incentives for referrals
Conversely, a dissatisfied customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service related as opposed to price or product related. Train staff to identify and attempt to remedy negative situations, as the cost of a price break or free perk is minor compared to the damage an unhappy customer can do to your reputation.
WOM is powerful; put it to work for you!