Word of Mouth (WOM)
Word of mouth (WOM) is the passing of information from person to person through oral communication. It is a powerful tool that can bring your business to an entirely new level. WOM allows customers to tell their own stories and experiences. It often generates new referrals that send people to visit your website and potentially lead to sales.
Other than oral communication, WOM can also be transferred through social media. In today’s world, marketing has become a huge platform through the power of technology and social media. When customer excellence is provided, people will often leave reviews sharing their positive experiences. As your online reputation grows, the more customers will be talking about your business and purchasing your product or service.
Driving Factors of WOM
WOM is a potent marketing tool that doesn’t cost a penny. If your company provides excellent customer service, there are endless opportunities for customers to share that experience with friends, family, or online reviews. When someone close to you leaves a positive review, you typically have more trust in the product or service and are willing to purchase. The news also spreads a lot quicker than any advertisement a company could do for themselves. How does that happen? Six driving forces influence WOM.
This driving force can become tricky, depending on how the customer shares your business’s product or service with their network. You want to make sure they promote your organization in a positive light. Positive WOM can drive a lot of customers to your business. If the customer feels that they received a quality experience that equates to what they purchased, then they will talk about the product or service in that tone.
Remember when you watched the movie Titanic, and it pulled on your heartstrings? Then, it became one of the most highly respected films in Hollywood history? That’s because those 3-hours took the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster ride without losing interest. Due to the emotional response it caused, people have never stopped talking about it.
When your business’s product or service can create an emotional response from the client, they’re more likely to remember and talk about your brand. Now, sometimes that emotion won’t be positive, because every customer has their individual experience. However, that is why consistent customer excellence is critical. The end goal is for all, or majority, of your customers to have a positive emotional response. This response will encourage them to come back again in the future, showing their brand loyalty. And, be more likely to talk about it amongst their network of friends, family, and peers.
Like any item that is “trending” on the market, customers lean towards products that are already popular. So, providing an excellent customer experience will provide your business with added brownie points to heat up the competition. The hope is that those customers’ WOM will help your business become the new best thing or a “trendy” product or service.
This is a factor that can benefit both your business as well as the customer you work with. Let’s say you provide your customers with an amazingly positive experience. Now they will use WOM to suggest your business to their network. Your customer has utilized WOM to promote your business in a positive light; therefore, people in their network will probably be willing to purchase said product or service. If they have the same experience as the referrer, then the trust will be established. In turn, this will continue to bring in more customers for your business.
Customers want to tell their stories and experiences to whoever they interact with. For example, someone may be looking for a local hairdresser and ask around for a referral. The people closest to them, friends and family, will share their personal experiences and give suggestions on who to go to or who to avoid. They may either have a positive or negative reaction from their hairdresser, which would either result in a new client or none at all. Therefore, providing customer excellence is vital to what tone of WOM your customers are sharing.
How WOM Can Help or Harm Your Brand
Customer service can have a major impact on your brand, whether positive or negative. If your business provides a positive experience for the customer, then there is a likely chance they will come back and use you again, or better yet, refer your services to their friends and family. There is no greater compliment a company can receive than a referral. In turn, the more positive and rave reviews customers share through WOM, the more traction your business will get. This will result in more relationships, referrals, and revenue!
On the other hand, if a negative customer service experience is given, then the consequences could become detrimental to your business’s success. Customers are 80% more likely to talk poorly about a company than to praise them. Why is that? Customers believe that all businesses automatically provide an amazing customer service experience. However, when a bad or negative experience is given, then you can guarantee that their in-person and social network will be hearing about it. You would be surprised how much one negative review can default multiple positive ones. It’s as if you applied for a new credit card – it’s so easy to bring your score down, but a mountain climb to bring it back up. It goes the same way for building your business’s reputation. That is why customer excellence is key when WOM comes into play.
While working with customers, not every experience will be perfect. It is important to keep in mind how much of an influence and impact WOM has on a business’s success. Always continue to strive to provide a positive, memorable, emotional, and exceptional experience for all customers. We offer several solutions to help provide the best customer experience for anyone who interacts with your brand here. Whether they walk through your door, visit your website, or better yet, purchase the product or service, always aim for excellence.