Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been privy to several situations where Word of Mouth (WOM) was the sole reason a few people made the choice to select or not select certain vendors.
And on a personal note, I had an experience where one of the places I frequent went over and beyond for me and, not only was it a blessing, but it’s something I have not hesitated to share.
Let’s start with the first situation I mentioned – I was having lunch with friends and there was a small group of folks at the table just in front of us. We overheard one of them talking about a problem she was having with her car and how it was troubling her. Evidently, she had taken it to a repair shop and felt like the mechanics were trying to take advantage of her. So she asked if any of her lunch companions knew of a place that would be honest and give her options. Interestingly enough, the overwhelming response from everyone at the table was sharing stories about places they would not trust. So because there were not any positive recommendations, she turned around without hesitation and began asking those of us at the surrounding tables for recommendations. She received mixed responses, but did get the names of a couple of places to try and made a note of them.
So what’s so interesting? I think there are a couple of things:
– When the question was initially asked, the overwhelming response at her table was negative, related to places to avoid.
– The person at the table seeking information then turned to ask all of the folks around (not just our table) without hesitation to get our recommendations (great example in action – that folks will trust strangers online or offline over a brand’s messaging).
As marketers, we often coach our brands to give their target markets something to talk about. By giving their customers something to talk about with their circle of reach, it broadens the brand’s reach and helping to grow their market. But, if you take a moment to think about it, every experience with your customers and their circle of influence is an opportunity to build something that matters.
Make no mistake – I’m not suggesting by any means that our marketing messages are not important. However, it’s just as important if not more important that every customer interaction be treated as an opportunity – not just an event. How do you want them to talk about your brand and their experiences with you?