WOM: Why Care about Word of Mouth

    Have you ever had such a great weekend that you couldn’t wait to get to work on Monday so you could either brag about it or share the awesome events and experiences you had?

    I’m sure we’ve all experienced this at one time or another. Maybe going to work wasn’t how you wanted to share the experience, but perhaps you told a close friend or relative all about it. The point is you had a positive experience and you shared it almost immediately. What about a negative experience? Ever had one of those?

    I’m pretty confident I know the answer to that one as well. Imagine this scenario; You purchase a product or service. You finally get it home, open the package and it’s not what you thought it would be. To make matters worse you realize that it’s defective and doesn’t work properly. You decide to return it immediately and since most of us are purchasing products online and with mobile devices, you are looking for the customer support number and can’t seem to find in on the Web site.  After what seems like an eternity, you finally figure it out and get someone on the phone only to get the endless run around. This has now become a nightmare.

    Do you think you would share this experience with your close friends and family? Absolutely! Do you think they will be less inclined to purchase that same product and service based on your experience? You go it!  WOM! WORD OF MOUTH can make or break a brand.

    In the social environment we live in, we have to take note of and care about what is being said online.

    I just clicked on Delta Airlines FaceBook page and the first post there was the following:

    “It is SO frustrating and irritating to not be able to complete a reservation online and call to get help and they want to charge you $25 for something you can’t control. And when they transferred me to the support people; I was disconnected. That is is for the night. I don”t understand why someone would be charged for soemthing they can’t control. Stupid website.!”

    So then, I went on to the AT&T FaceBook page and of the top 10 posts, five were complaints. Here is an example:

    “This new AT&T/Yahoo e-mail sucks! It was already bad but usable and the new version is so terrible will probably delete the account. Yahoo e-mail is already the worst on the market and why you partnered with them makes no sense. I could not access my e-mail unless I switched so once I transfer my important ones I will delete it”

    There are a myriad of sites dedicated to allowing consumers vent their frustrations. Or, you can do what one group did for United Airlines and create a special FaceBook page for United Airlines Complaints.  United Airlines Sucks.

    Now this may seem frivolous to us, but imagine owning a smaller business or a brand not as well rooted and established as Delta, AT&T or United. Do you think you can afford any negative reviews? I would venture to guess that regardless of who you are, no one wants any negative review as they will eventually take its toll on a company’s reputation and ultimately revenue.

    The point is people are going to share, be it good or bad. And, we have encouraged them to do so.  A recent E-Paper by Extole.com lists the 5 Core Motivations for Sharing. Here is an excerpt.

    • To bring valuable and entertaining content to others: 49% of respondents say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action
    • To define ourselves to others: 68% share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about
    • To grow and nourish our relationships: 78% share information online because it lets them stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with
    • Self-fulfillment: 69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world
    • To get the word out about causes or brands: 84% share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about

    We live in a world that thrives on connections and sharing information. We need to be very aware of what is being said about our brand and our company. Above all, we need to make sure we are proactive in resolving potentially harmful situations that could permanently damage our reputation. Not only on a business level, but on a personal level as well. I will get into that a little more in my next blog. WF

    Frank Guzzo is a speaker, trainer and coach at Emerging Sales Success, a sales and marketing consulting company focused on creating and building marketing solutions for businesses. The firm keeps up with trends, filters the noise and helps companies focus on building a strategy that achieves results. To learn more or to hire Frank as a speaker for your next event, call  (858) 633-7177.


    Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online on June 11, 2013.