Studies have shown that a satisfied customer tells on average three people about their positive experience. With a negative experience, that “tell” averages 10 people. This is a good indicator in days of old where information and reviews were not available for word of mouth on apps such as the NextDoor App and Yelp.
Nielsen states that 92% of consumers believe in suggestions from friends and family more than advertising. Beyond friends and family, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from contacts. 74% of customers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. However, only 33% of businesses are actively seeking out and collecting reviews. So, the takeaway here is to do a better job building your positive reviews (word of mouth) on all the social media sites you can. Studies indicate this can result in an approximate increase in sales from a few percentage points upward.
In my household, the NextDoor app is the source of more referrals than any other when we are looking for services for our pet, ourselves, the best places to dine, etc. Word of mouth has taken on new meaning and it can be a business builder as well as a business killer. Indeed, Yelp is filled with horror stories. There are dozens of other sites people turn to for reviews and referrals. It would serve your business well to monitor them and see if you can’t stimulate true and positive reviews about you. Among these sites are: Business.com, Angie's List, Better Business Bureau, Consumer Affairs, Expresit, Glassdoor, Manta, MerchantCircle, VendOp. Some of them review the workplace, some of them review the vendors. All of them have influence. Perhaps it is not viewed by a major corporate buyer, but it can be by a smaller local business, school, organization, etc. I had previously written how one bad review killed a lot of business for a screen shop in the Pacific Northwest.
Clients do not normally spread the word about their satisfaction with you. However, if asked, they will gladly do it. Your job is to make it easier for them. Build a list of social network sites your company is listed or reviewed on (or would like to be). Assuming you have no listing on Manta, one person can start the ball rolling. Build it carefully. Then, provide the live links to your happy client with an email and double down with a personal handwritten and snail mailed thank you note.
Harriet, Thank you again for the order and telling us how satisfied you are. We build our business with happy clients and through referrals and recommendations from our clients. I have provided you with links where a good word from you will go a long way. I am not going to suggest what you write but simply request that you do. Your help will be greatly appreciated.
The willingness to share a positive review is promoted by strong positive emotional experiences that are innate in purchasing satisfaction. However, a negative experience triggers vastly different emotional needs that can manifest into external actions such as vengeance. If it is even sensed that a client has cause to head in this direction, you must take every action to ward it off. Within seconds, years of building your brand can be undone on the internet, far greater than the word of mouth in the “old days."
While the world is a more complex web, good reviews need only be a mouse click away and can be touted to build a better brand.
Joel D. Schaffer, MAS is CEO and Founder of Soundline, LLC, the pioneering supplier to the promotional products industry of audio products. Joel has 48 years of promotional product industry experience and proudly heralds “I was a distributor.” He has been on the advisory panel of the business and marketing department of St. John’s University in New York and is a frequent speaker at Rutgers Graduate School of Business. He is an industry Advocate and has appeared before the American Bankers Association, American Marketing Association, National Premium Sales Executives, American Booksellers Association and several other major groups. He has been a management consultant to organizations such as The College Board and helped many suppliers enter this industry. He is a frequent contributor to PPB and Counselor magazines. He has facilitated over 200 classes sharing his industry knowledge nationwide. He is known for his cutting humor and enthusiasm in presenting provocative and motivating programs. He is the only person to have received both the Marvin Spike Industry Lifetime Achievement Award (2002) and PPAI’s Distinguished Service Award (2011). He is a past director of PPAI and has chaired several PPAI committees and task forces. He is a past Chair of the SAAGNY Foundation, Past President of SAAGNY and a SAAGNY Hall of Fame member. He was cited by ASI as one of the 50 most influential people in the industry.