Did you know that word-of-mouth recommendations hold more sway over your potential customers than any other form of advertising?
It makes sense if you think about it. Who are you going to trust when making a buying decision? A nameless, faceless advertiser or your best friend, your trustworthy neighbor or even the blogger who you read each and every week and feel a kinship with her words and her style?
The good news is as customers we love to talk about the brands that we LOVE.
We love to tell our girlfriends about where we got that “Oh-so-fabulous” pair of shoes ON SALE. We love to offer up product recommendations and detailed testimonials about how they helped us. We love letting people in on our best, most savvy shopping secrets.
If you get it right, we will talk and talk and talk and send more customers your way!
So how do you get that power of the personal recommendation working for YOU?
#1: Get the Basics Right – Deliver a quality product, and hire competent, friendly customer service staff. So often you see an amazing product marred by snippy frontline staff or a product that fails to live up to its marketing. If you don’t get this part right, don’t bother with the rest.
#2: Include a Surprise! – Maybe it’s an owner’s manual that includes a bit of humor or a free bonus that isn’t advertised, but arrives unexpectedly. The WHAT doesn’t really matter, but it has to be surprising, worthwhile and something your customers will talk about.
#3: Above and Beyond – Go above and beyond (or rather train and empower your frontline staff to get creative with how they deliver their service). Competent and friendly is the minimum standard. If you want your customers to talk, you need to do something special.
#4: Consistently Perform – Whatever you do to surprise and delight your customers, do it consistently. Don’t offer free cookies to customers on their birthday one year, and forget the next because they won’t (customers are good like that).
#5: No Strings Follow-up – Don’t you just hate it when every time a brand contacts you, it’s because they want something (that something being for you to buy more stuff)? Practice no-strings attached follow-up long after the sale – just cause.
If you aren’t sure what impresses your customers most about your brand or product, just ask. The answer will likely surprise you. Chances are good it’s something small you never considered to be all that important. Trust me, it is.