How Important is Word of Mouth?


According to the new best selling business book, Contagious, word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.

What’s the first thing we do when we are considering an update for our website? A new phone system? A new car? Or a new refrigerator? Well, Google may be right up there at the top of our first actions, but we still ask our friends and business associates. “Where do you go to get the best deals?”

We don’t even open emails unless we recognize who sent them. There is power in relationships. The old saying still rings true: it’s not what you know, but who you know… We put lots of confidence in recommendations from the people we know.

We are so fortunate at Feedback Plus. We work for the very best companies in the world, companies who care about their customers. If they did not, they would never assess their customer service on an ongoing basis. Companies who consistently deliver poor customer service are like that ostrich with his head in the sand. They already know what’s happening in their stores; they’ve probably been told several times by their (used-to-be) customers. They don’t need a mystery shopping company to reveal the obvious.

So how do companies increase word-of-mouth advertising? First of all, they hire the right people – people who really care for other people. Then they train their employees well. The Container Store is known for fabulous customer service. Their new hires spend weeks in superior training prior to ever serving a customer on the floor. And then companies assess performance on a regular basis. They incentivize sales associates and they never miss an opportunity to let them know how much they value them.

People don’t just care about how they are doing; they care about their performance in relation to others. (Page 682 of the book Contagious) We all like feeling that we’re high status, top dog, leader of the pack. But status is inherently relational. Being leader of the pack requires a pack, doing better than others. After all, what good is status if no one else knows you have it? Every time one’s status is shared, it elevates the company he works for. There it is again, that invaluable word -of–mouth advertising.

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