Word of mouth marketing is business’ best-known secret. This is an oxymoron I hear you say and that most business people know how important word of mouth marketing is. What they forget is that the key to success is excellent customer service.
Major surveys have shown that:
- If a customer is very dissatisfied, they will tell around 22 other people
- If they are dissatisfied, they will tell around 11 other people
- If a customer is happy, don’t expect them to tell more than 3-4 people
Unfortunately, people are more likely to talk about your business when they are unhappy than when they are happy or satisfied. Excellent customer service goes a long way to silencing the dissatisfied.
There are things you can do to positively impact your business through word of mouth:
1. Use networking
If you want to build your business through word of mouth you have to be visible and active in the community by participating in various networking groups and/or professional associations.
2. Develop centres of influence
Contact spheres are businesses that are symbiotic (different kind but work together for mutual benefit) and non-competitive. For example, a tow bar retailer may offer free tow bar safety checks for caravan park customers. You should determine what business fits within your spheres of influence and start to develop relationships with them.
3. Cultivating relationships
Building your business through word of mouth is about cultivating relationships with people who know and trust you. People do business with people they have confidence in. It’s not what you know, or who you know, it’s how well you know them that counts. If you understand this point, you will have a better opportunity to build your business through word of mouth.
Having a customer actively encourage friends and acquaintances to use your services is probably the most effective and proactive way of promoting your business through word of mouth. For example, this could be achieved by supplying vouchers that provide an incentive to the person who passes on the voucher, or to the bearer of the voucher, or both. Again, you should think of a strategy to encourage your valued customers to pass on the good word about your business.
HOW CAN RSM HELP?
If you have any questions regarding word of mouth marketing, contact your local RSM office.