Friday, June 5, 2009

A Word About Word-of-Mouth

Talk to most business owners and they will tell you that word-of-mouth is their best, if not only, source for attracting new customers. And why not? It's free (almost).

There are some costs to achieving positive word-of-mouth. You must have spent money training a knowledgeable and friendly staff to ensure the best customer service possible. You've no doubt given discounts, refunds, and give-aways to satisfy unhappy customers. You probably spent time and money trying to measure your customer's experience with customer comment cards and surveys. Even after all these efforts your business can't be there when word-of-mouth takes place, or can it?

Your customers are talking about you online. Search around on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Myspace, and other Social networking sites to see exactly what I mean. If you don't see anybody talking about you, then try refining your search locally. If you still don't see chatter about you, then you have an even bigger problem, and also a great opportunity. (Funny how crisis and opportunity appear at the same time.)

First, let's talk about what to do if you see people talking about your company, products, or services. You simply need to join the conversation where the word-of-mouth is happening. You may ask," How do I find out all the places where my customers are talking about me?" Your WSI Internet Consultant has tools and reports to find out for you. We can simplify the process of gaining a presence in the Social Media sphere of influence. Now let's look at the second scenario.

So, you can't find any word-of-mouth about you online. What does that mean? It does not mean that your customers don't go online. Unfortunately, it does mean that your business is not creating strong word-of-mouth, which is as good as no word-of-mouth at all. Fortunately, like having no credit you have a great opportunity to build good standing. With the slate blank you can start the conversation then invite your customers to join you. In turn, you improve customer relations and build a community around your business.

Community organizing and involvement are buzz-words today that cannot be ignored. Look at how much success it brought to the Obama campaign in 2008. It has a powerful impact in your market share. Banks have to be involved in the community by law. Most successful small to medium businesses support local Little League programs or charities. There are communities built around these important organizations on Social Networking sites. Your business could support them online as well as off. People like businesses that act beyond their bottom line. Thus, word-of-mouth grows from community involvement.

Want to know more? WSI Internet Consulting and Education is a great place to start. Visit our website to learn more about marketing your business or non-profit on the Internet.

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