Beyond sophisticated marketing strategies and expensive advertising campaigns, word of mouth is the most powerful promotional tool at your disposal. Studies have shown that people are 4 times more likely to purchase from companies that have been recommended to them by a trusted friend or family member. Your most powerful marketing tool is your current customer base which is why it’s so important to ensure that each and every single person that interacts with your business walks away feeling satisfied.
here are several ways you can use your customer’s appreciation to boost your sales. Effective methods such as referral programs, online testimonials, superior customer service and following up with your customers are all effective ways to drive your base to speak positively about their experience. To give you an idea how effective some of these tactics are, 79% of people trust testimonials while customer reviews are actually 12 times more trusted than advertisements. People will value the opinion of an objective customer who has no stake in the claims that they make about a business.
However, the best way to deter a customer from ever interacting with you to begin with is through poor word of mouth. Continuous bad word of mouth can be the detriment of any business and with the popularity of social media and review sites it is easier than ever for dissatisfied customers to vent their complaints publicly dragging your business’s perception down.
In order to boost your word of mouth there are many ways that you can start steering your company’s energy that are not only cost effective but are proven to produce positive results.
1. Provide a Superior Customer Experience
When your customers feel as if your business has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their happiness it makes a lasting positive experience on them. They are more likely to refer you to their circles and they are more than likely to return. Customer service is more than a friendly attitude, it’s the act of putting processes in place that ensure that everything that can be done to satisfy your customer’s needs. Whether they come in simply for an inquiry or complete a transaction it is in your best interest to prioritize your customer’s best interest. Your customers will become your most effective marketing tool if they feel valued by your company, know that your company will make any relevant tasks painless and stress free for the customer and that you offer quality products or services. Retaining that customer loyalty doesn’t just mean more money spent on the bottom line, but that you now have the potential to reach a market that is more primed to become loyal in the future.
2. Make Your Business Environment Pleasant
Good word of mouth is reliant on a pleasant experience across the board including the environment your customer is doing business in. If your place of business is drab, dirty, cluttered, and uncomfortable this not only subconsciously signals to your customers that your business may not be of quality but it affects your customers experience as well. There are many ways you can change your environment to be more comfortable for not only your customers but you and your employees as well. In fact there are many studies that have proven that a comfortable work environment boosts overall productivity which means a better and more efficient experience for your customers.
Install bright but not harsh lighting. LED lights that simulate daylight are excellent for stimulating energy. Add a few indoors plants for some ambiance. Make sure that your business is consistently clean and free of dust and grime. Get rid of any clutter that might signal to your customers that you’re disorganized. Play some appropriate light music. Oil diffusers are a great way to keep the place smelling fresh. It may seem like a minor point but all of these small changes will make a big difference in your customer’s perception which will prime them to speak positively about their experience with your business.
3. Host Seminars and Workshops
Customers are more educated than ever and information is incredibly widely available. This new interest in knowledge has developed more educated consumers who value researching relevant information before they make a purchase. As such more business are making use of connecting with their customers via relevant seminars and workshops. This does several things to help your word of mouth: If your customer feels like they walked away with value and knowledge they not only have connected with your brand in a positive way but they are more likely to inform their circle of their positive experience. This also helps to give your business more credibility as you demonstrate your knowledge as an industry professional. For example a bakery may want to do monthly cake decorating workshops. Or an accounting firm may want to offer the public a symposium on updates on tax laws. This is not only a great way to drive new business your way but to also start the momentum to generating positive word of mouth.
4. Implement a Referral Program
Incentivize your customers to purposely spread positive word of mouth. A referral program is a great way to do this. Offer discounts for every new customer they bring in. Offer vouchers for leaving a testimonial on your website. Get customers to interact with your brand on social media by offering contests and giveaways to for liking and sharing your posts. This is a great way to use your creativity to improve customer interaction and motivate them to spread positive word of mouth.
5. Be Aware
If nothing else, be cognizant of the fact that people will be discussing your business. They will talk about the quality of your product, they will discuss the level of your service. They will vent to their friends about the negative mishap that happened. They will share on their social media pages what they think about you. Do not give customers a reason to complain. Make striving to achieve being the best in your industry a part of your company’s culture. Listen to what customers have to say when they have complaints and make rectifying issues a priority. You cannot stop people from talking, but you do have control over the quality experience that you offer so in order to maintain positive word of mouth, make sure that there is nothing to complain about.