We often see discussions of the need for a great “customer experience” to start the conversations, which build word of mouth. However, the customer experience is only one of the “experiences” that will shape the Web and traditional word of mouth for your business. Another experience that can create positive or negative Web Word of Mouth is your sales communications with prospects. Let me give you an example.
I responded that I’d downloaded the info to learn, but I’d be happy to discuss my website. The salesman emailed back and set a time for a phone conference at 2PM Eastern the following Monday. I was in my office ready to go at 1:30PM, when he sent an email asking me to shift the meeting to between 3:30 and 4PM that afternoon. I responded that I’d be waiting for his call at 4PM — and I waited and waited with no call or follow-up email. I’d just been “dissed” by the salesman, and I was unhappy about it and about this company because I’d twice rearranged my schedule to accommodate the salesman’s call.
Now it would have been fine if he had said at the beginning that he’d be happy to talk to me when I felt like I’d be closer to making a purchase. It would also have been OK, if he had emailed an apology after missing the appointment. He did neither!
So when I was thinking of an example of how poor communication with prospects can impact a company’s online reputation, I thought of this salesman and his company. Athough I’m only an unhappy prospect, I can still impact this company’s Web Word of Mouth.
About a week after I initially published this post with the salesman’s name and the company name, I got a follow-up email from the salesman and eventually an apology from his boss. The company was monitoring its online Word of Mouth and my blog post popped up on their radar. They handled the situation effectively and although I’m not a customer, I could become one in the future.
The lesson here is that it’s not only your customers who are contributing to the “customer experience” that builds word of mouth. It’s also the people around town who might see one of your vehicles being driven erratically, it’s the people who know and like you outside your business, it’s the employees who believe in your vision or those who see it as a sham, and it’s the prospects who never become customers because of a bad experience with your sales force. Look for ways to build better business communications outside, as well as inside, the traditional marketing funnel.
Web Word of Mouth can do wonders for your business, because it can start from non-customer conversations, even when you have very few customers. Conversely, Web Word of Mouth can cause you problems, even when surveys indicate that customer satisfaction levels are high, because these non-customer conversations highlight some dissatisfaction with your business. Your business communications for customers and for non-customers must promote positive Web Word of Mouth if you want your business to succeed. Look around your business, talk to your employees, promote a positive face for your business in the community, and talk to your neighbors. If we can help you develop a business experience that promotes Web Word of Mouth, please contact us.
- Online Word of Mouth – An Austin TX Example (business-ratings-reviews.com)
- Building a buzz (word of mouth marketing and libraries – book review) (alisonwallbutton.wordpress.com)
- Web Site Helps Entrepreneurs Create “Word of Mouth” Campaign (theindustrycosign.wordpress.com)
- Word of Mouth: Still Dominating Marketing (likeable.com)
- Word of Mouth or Cyber Bully? (wordservewatercooler.com)