And so on and so on and so on…

Sound familiar? It was part of a commercial for Faberge shampoo where the featured character says, “and I told two people, and she told two people, and so on and so on...."

A recent customer experience made me think of it again. I was in a craft store on a mission to find a small white Christmas tree for a special project.  In two long rows of trees, not one was white or small. Not to be deterred I wandered down a few more aisles and found one on the far side of the store on the very top shelf way beyond my reach. I ask the first associate I see for help. She states (with a smile, I might add) that she would be more than happy to assist me in getting what I needed. What came next is what stuck with me. She added, “I hate it when you go into a store and nobody wants to help you.  And I will tell you one of those stores is XYZ.” She had no qualms telling me the name.

My keen grasp of the obvious told me that I had just been tagged by one of the most valuable branding and  marketing tools we have – word of mouth.  Her experience with this store was not good; it stuck with her and she was taking every opportunity to share it.

Word of mouth has always been powerful and with the social media explosion, its strength has increased significantly. With blogs, Facebook, online reviews and more, word-of-mouth travels faster and farther, gathering followers along the way. In fact, it’s been said that where at one time an unhappy customer would tell three other people about their experience, today they can reach about three million.

People trust recommendations from friends and consumer online opinions above all other forms of advertising. And if you think you really know what customers are saying about you, you may want to double check that. For example, in a study done by Lee Resources, 80 percent of companies feel they provide “superior” customer service. In reality, eight percent of people think that these same companies deliver “superior” customer service.

What do you want three million people to hear about your company? What word-of-mouth message do you want customers to share? Give them something to talk about.  From top management to the employees on the front line, make sure everyone who represents your brand does it in a way that when your customer tells two people, and they tell two people, and so on…it’s a good thing.

Posted by MJ Thomas

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