Right words to pass around
They call it word-of-mouth, and while it’s as old as time and super-cheap, it’s one of the most effective marketing tools around. Does it always work, however?
The other day a guy on the road asked my help. His car’s battery was dead and he was looking for a nearby repair shop. No one came to mind, at the moment, but after moving on for 200 meters, my eyes met up with a banner I was well aware of, having my own car repaired just a year ago! I’m sure it happened to you. I had simply forgot. Yet, the man had made a beautiful work, didn’t even ask me for much!
Satisfaction isn’t enough to make word-of-mouth click. It’s fundamental to leave a trace in your customer mind to be remembered and above all recommended. Reasoning on my own experience as a customer – and provider – I started to make a list of “word-of-mouth success rules”. It’s just a draft, of course, so please help me to fill it up.
1) Satisfying your customers is not enough: you need to amaze them
Today, customers normally expect totally flawless, fast and fulfilling services. If you want to be remembered, meeting your customer needs can be less than enough. You must provide for something more and not always this “more” is a convenient price: it could be a single thing, unexpected and personal. Think about your travel experiences. What do you take with you out of your holiday, or your hotel stay? A comfortable bed? A spot clean bathroom? No, you remember that personal, unforeseen touch. That “something more”!
2) A communication feed to stay within your customer’s “radar”
Why I hadn’t recalled that repair shop when the unlucky fellow was in need of a suggestion? Simply, because in our daily life car repairs aren’t exactly what we think about most. Repairmen do not regularly think about their former customers, either. To stay within a customer’s radar you have to have a permanent place in his mind, through a constant communication feed. Continuity doesn’t mean pressure. In my opinion an uninterrupted flow of “special”, “time limited”, once-in-a-lifetime bargains tend to make people very nervous. A lightweight feed of interesting to read content, under a cordial, non-commercial tone of voice, in tune with your customer profile is far better.
3) Prospect-2-prospect “miracle”
That way, the miracle of someone who recommends your services without ever having been a customer of yours becomes suddenly possible! Like repair shops, what I sell is not something constantly needed. It may happens my prospect didn’t have the opportunity to become a customer yet, but he may have liked the way I reached him with my content. When I succeed in starting a true narrative, a tale, from there a “platonic” relationship with my prospect lives on and it’s perfectly likely this “liaison” will sooner or later trigger a recommendation from a prospect to another prospect I knew nothing about.
Word-of-mouth can be the perfect sale machine. But if you want it to work, you need to keep inside your customer mind.