Your opinion matters and you will often get asked if you can recommend a product, service or restaurant for example. The reason this happens is that we have many options and we would rather try something that is recommended, rather than having to experience the disappointment of something mediocre.
We have all heard that word of mouth works, but people will often not talk about something just because they bought a product, used a service or dined at a restaurant. If people simply talk about the fact, they could come across as boasting rather than as recommending.
It’s only when the experience is unusually good or bad that people start talking about you, your product or your service. People notice what is different or different from what they are used to, and this opens up the possibility of a new and interesting experience occurring.
Conventional wisdom says that if you have an excellent product or good service people will talk about you. This wisdom usually works if people are looking for something specific, and the people who have used your product or service will recommend you. A recommendation is good, but you would really like people to talk about their experience so that their friends and colleagues are inspired to use your product or service.
So when will people really be prepared to talk about you? You need a disrupter, the differentiator between you and the rest of your competitors. There must be something that will provide an unforgettable experience. Good can become excellent, but that is still no guarantee that people will talk and give you that valuable ‘word of mouth’ traction you are looking for.
The key is simplicity and duplicity! Gimics, specials and promotions attract people to your product or service, but they do not provide memorable experiences that enable people to tell stories.
Think carefully about the experience that people will have with your brand. Take yourself on their journey and try to imagine what they are experiencing.
Let me give you an example of a recent visit to a local company; this particular company was situated in an industrial area and has a security perimeter with access control. The area outside had long grass and litter in the street, and it was clear that the company thought it was someone else’s responsibility to make their entrance neat and presentable. This leads me to start wondering if they do their own deliveries, or if that was someone’s else’s responsibility too. Before entering the premises I was required to sign the security control register, this was a tatty, dirty book and the pen provided was disgusting, to say the least. I know I should have had my own pen, but I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right decision to visit this company in the first place. Fortunately, the rest of my visit was uneventful. I did what I needed to do and left through the same dirty book procedure I had started with. This was clearly a company that had not thought about my experience, and the lasting impression and the experience I have talked about is probably not one the company had intended for me to have. It is vital to try and experience the customers’ journey and make it better. This is simple really when you take a moment to think.
We should remember that not all experiences will be positive, but we are more likely to be able to solve problems when we have identified potential experiences before our clients do. People develop trust in you when you have the ability to confront the challenges, understand their experiences and sort things out, not just smooth the situation over just to appease them.
When you can authentically accept the negative challenges, and turn them around through understanding and proper customer service, then you have reached a level where not only is your service good but people trust in your ability to provide them and the people they refer to you with an unforgettable experience.
When anybody recommending you has the reassurance that you are not just there to provide a product but rather an experience, and that the person doing the recommending can be sure that they will never be embarrassed because they recommended you, this is the true, valuable ‘word of mouth’.
There is a world waiting to talk about you, I encourage you to think about the experience they will be having with you, your product or the service you offer.