Word of mouth is the best form of advertising that your business can have. It can be defined an unpaid form of promotion in which satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a business, product or service. On social media these days, people call it ‘reviews’. Word of mouth gives credence to all the claims your business has advertised. It says, ‘I am the real deal’. The best form of word of mouth is the one you never even knew about, and you just keep getting phone calls and messages from people about how they want your product. As a business owner, I can tell you it’s the most amazing feeling.
According to entrepreneur.com, there are several ways to generate word of mouth:
- Word-of-mouth is triggered when a customer experiences something far beyond what was expected. Slightly exceeding their expectations just won’t do it. You’ve got to go above and beyond the call of duty if you want your customers to talk about you.
- Don’t depend on your staff to trigger word-of-mouth by delivering “exceptional customer experience.” Good customer service is sporadic, even in the best establishments. The customer who receives exceptional service today can’t be sure their friends will receive the same tomorrow, so even the well-served are unlikely to put their necks on the line and make a recommendation. Deep down, customers know service comes from an individual, not from an establishment. And even the best people have bad days.
- Budget to deliver the experience that will trigger word-of-mouth. Sometimes your word-of-mouth budget will be incremental, so that its cost is tied to your customer count. Other times it’ll require a capital investment, so that repayment will have to be withheld from your advertising budget over a period of years. The greatest danger isn’t in overspending but in under spending. Under spending on a word-of-mouth trigger is like buying a ticket that only takes you halfway to Europe.
- Don’t promise it in your ads. Although it’s tempting to promise the thing you’re counting on to trigger word-of-mouth, these promises will only eliminate the possibility of your customers becoming your ambassadors. Why would a customer repeat what you say about yourself in your ads? You must allow your customers to deliver the good news. Don’t rob your ambassadors of their moment in the sun.