When it comes to marketing strategies, word of mouth marketing is one of the most powerful. Consumers care about other consumers’ opinions and experiences, especially when they are their friends and family. Research has shown that 62% of consumers read reviews online before purchasing a product or service. Additionally, a colossal 90% of consumers believe brand recommendations from friends and family. With these statistics in mind, it’s easy to see why word of mouth marketing can be such a game-changer for businesses of all sizes.
Before Twitter, Facebook, and even television, most people came to know of new products by talking to their friends and family. It was the primary way of sharing valuable information and getting the answers you needed. Today, we can hardly escape advertisements everywhere we go. We get advertised to walking down the street in the form of billboards. Products are promoted to us on the radio, listening to podcasts, watching TV, and browsing social media. But despite all the adverts we see, they don’t impact us the same way as word of mouth marketing does.
One study found that 75% of people don’t believe advertisements, but 92% believe the recommendations they get from their friends. When we see an advert, we know that there’s a whole team of marketers behind it trying to hack our brains into thinking we want or need that product. It’s hard to trust that marketers have our best interests at heart, but it’s easy to believe that our friends and family do. For this reason, people are four times more likely to buy a product when friends and family recommend it.
If you can utilize WOM marketing successfully, you can boost revenues and improve customer loyalty. Estimates show that WOM generates two times more sales than paid advertisements.
There are two types of word of mouth marketing (WOMM), traditional and modern.
In today’s article, we’re mostly focusing on modern WOMM since it encapsulates both types but focuses more on active steps companies take. With that in mind, here’s how your support staff can help promote your WOMM marketing efforts. Support staff are customer service employees, technical support employees, and all other customer-facing employees.
Online reviews are a great WOMM strategy. With traditional WOM, someone may convince a few friends and family to buy one of your products, but the impact is limited. It’s improbable that one person will encourage 10, 20, 100 people to buy your product by merely mentioning it as they go about their daily life. But with online reviews, one person can have a considerable impact. If you’re wondering whether online reviews have the same effect as traditional WOM, then the surprising answer is yes, they do. One study found that 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers (their peers) as much as they trust their friends and family’s recommendations. However, despite this encouraging study, only 33% of businesses are actively seeking out online reviews. If you’re one of the 77% who isn’t, then it’s time to take action.
Your support staff can encourage consumers to write reviews while they are helping them. For example, at the end of a call, the support staff can ask the consumer to write a review. Let your customers know why reviews are important to your business. People are much more likely to help you out if they understand the impact their actions have.
Your support staff are talking to your customers every day, so they intimately know how consumers feel about the buying and reviewing process. It’s all well and good asking customers to write reviews, but no one will want to do this if the process is clunky and cumbersome. Ask your support staff for help with the review process. Ask them if there’s anything they think could be improved, and whether consumers have highlighted any issues that need immediate attention.
The consequences of not doing this can be severe. If your customers have to jump through hoops to write a review, then you’re encouraging only the most passionate consumers to write one. Most people will give up if it takes too much effort, but not those that are angry. Angry customers are happy to jump through hoops if it means their voices will be heard. This is the opposite of what you want.
Here are some common barriers in the review process and how you can fix them:
To achieve successful WOMM, you need to understand your company and what you stand for. When people recommend you to their friends or family or write a review online, they will lead with their most prominent emotions and opinions about their experience. It’s your job to make sure that the feelings they feel represent the values you focus on most intently in your company. It essential that your support staff have a good understanding of:
It’s a good idea to design a short quiz for your support staff and then create training material based on any gaps you find in their answers.
There’s no word of mouth marketing without having great products or creating an excellent customer experience. Since support staff are on the front line, they are the first point of contact for your customers. They might also be the last point of contact. It’s no secret that most people don’t want to talk to customer service staff; they do it out of need. This often means that companies have a narrow window of opportunity to create a great impression. Don’t pass up this chance!
Other teams will be focusing on making a great product, but the support team should create an excellent experience for your customers. They can do this by:
The company can help the support staff by providing training and, most importantly, leveraging technology. An omnichannel platform can significantly improve the efficiency and productivity of operations for support staff. When employees can do everything in one place, they can talk to more customers and reduce the call handling time. They are also better equipped to get the right information quickly, and this information is less likely to have errors to be duplicated.
One of the best ways to expand your word of mouth marketing campaign is to encourage your customers to generate content. Now, of course, you don’t want to ask your customers to write blog posts about their experience. This would likely have the opposite effect of what you’re going for.
Instead, you want to make a simple way for users to share their experiences. A great way to do this is with hashtags. You can make a simple hashtag so users can identify your products and brand. Support employees can notify customers of this hashtag and even encourage them to use it by saying something like, “I hope you enjoy the product. If you want to share how you use X, then use this hashtag to join the X community.”
You can also incentivize customers to share pics of your product or their experience with your brand by offering a free gift, discount, or feature. Make sure your support staff understands what they can offer and how to offer it. You want to make customers aware of an opportunity, rather than bribe them into writing a positive review.
As we established above, people need a reason to rave about your product. One reason they will rave about your product is if it’s unique. Studies have shown that people are more likely to see you as you see yourself, not as you are. For example, if you consistently describe yourself as kind or ambitious, people will perceive you as kind or ambitious. Of course, this only works if you aren’t actively acting in a totally opposite way. You can’t give people a reason not to believe you, but if you don’t, they will believe you. Well, this works for brands too.
If you have something that makes you unique, for example, your product, style, company culture, or you utilize creative marketing, then make sure your customers are aware of this. Your support staff should have a thorough understanding of what makes you unique and convey this to customers.
Chatbots are gaining significant ground right now, becoming increasingly popular and technologically advanced at the same time. If you’re not using chatbots already, then you should be. Chatbots allow you to communicate with customers 24/7, no matter your operating hours. They enable customers to open a communication line with the company on their own terms and get instant answers.
It would help if you built language into your chatbots that promotes WOMM. Use the tips on this list. For example, if the customer asks a question about the product, you can answer the question and also ask what they will use the product for. In your next answer, you can highlight how your product is unique. The key is to be concise. You don’t want it to appear that you are using your chatbots to boast about your product even when your customers aren’t interested.
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