Needless to call it word-of-mouth. ‘Spread the word’ is fine. It is one of the best marketing tools, even if it is the oldest and the least expensive. But are we sure it always works?

Yesterday I was stopped by a person. The battery in his car had run out and he asked me if I knew a nearby electrician. None of them came to mind. Continuing, not even 200 meters away, I saw the sign of an auto electrician to which I had also turned to even a year before! Maybe it happened to you too. I forgot it. Yet I had been happy with his work; it wasn’t too expensive either!

Having a satisfied customer is not enough to trigger word of mouth. It is necessary to impress yourself in his mind in order to be remembered and therefore advised. Reflecting on my experience as a customer – and as a supplier – I started a list of ‘successful word of mouth principles’. Obviously it’s just a start and I hope you help me complete it.

1) Satisfying the customer is not enough, you have to amaze him!
Today, as a customer, we expect absolutely error-free, fast and comprehensive service. Therefore, meeting the customer’s expectations fully is not enough to be remembered. We need to give something more. And this ‘more’ is not always the good price: it is something unexpected and personal. Let’s think about our travel experiences for example. What do we remember of a vacation or a stay in a hotel? Was the bed comfortable? Was the bathroom clean? No. We remember that personal and unexpected touch. That ‘something more’!

2) A flow of communication to stay in the customer’s radar.
Why hadn’t the electrician come to mind when answering the unfortunate driver? Simply because… in life hardly one thinks of auto electricians. And vice versa, auto electricians hardly think about their former customers. To stay on the customer’s radar, on the other hand, you must always be present in his mind, with a constant flow of communications. Constant but not pressing. In my opinion, a continuous stream of unmissable, limited and exclusive ‘special offers’ makes you nervous. Better a flow of communications that are pleasant to read, with no or almost no overtly commercial connotations and consistent with the type of customer.

3) The miracle of the Prospect-2-prospect.
In my opinion, doing so opens up the ‘miraculous’ possibility of being recommended by a non-customer! Like auto electricians, I sell services that are not of continuous use. It may be that my prospect has not yet had the opportunity to become my client but has nevertheless appreciated my way of contacting him. If I was able to give life to a narrative, I created a relationship, let’s say ‘platonic’ with the prospect and it is perfectly possible that this will lead him to recommend me to another potential client.