Tag Archives: Word-of-Mouth

What do CUSTOMERS share?

social-networking_110003728-012814-intWe all share something at some time. What you choose to share, however, has a lot to do with your passion and commitment to whatever it is. We don’t share what we don’t care about.

Do you share about something that is pretty good? Probably not.

Do you share about something that is great? Maybe…sometimes.

Do you share about something that is incredibly awesome? Almost every time.

Now make it personal…your business. If you were to gather up all the experiences you delivered to your customers last week, or last month, or last year, which of the above three statements would they fall into? Great self-reflection question as a leader.

So when leaders ask me, “How do we get our customers to share stories or anything about us (in-person and on social media channels)?” The answer is in the question…what experience above are you giving them? That will tell you how much or little they will share.

Start with the experience if you want to make your social channels and other forms of marketing effective and incredibly rewarding…with great results.

How to Get More “Secret” Information About Your Customers

Portrait of happy young business womanAre you so in tune with your customers that you could almost finish their sentences or read what they are thinking and predict their next comment or question? Why not?

Customer Centric companies that offer an incredible, remarkable, and memorable customer experience can.

They can because their customers are willing (even anxious) to tell them things they wouldn’t tell others. They know you care. They know you truly want to help. They know you want to make a difference in their business by helping them the best way you can. They know if you know more about them you will use this to help them be better at what they do. In the end, they know if you care, they can get better.

Test it for yourself…after all, you’re a customer of someone else.

The next time you go somewhere that gives you an incredibly awesome experience, see if you aren’t more willing to offer up additional information and comments (whether solicited or unsolicited). We all do…it’s human nature…there is a connection. Contrast this with the next experience you have as a customer that sucks. How much additional information did you offer them…even if they asked? Not much…if any. This works.

Customer Centric companies that have invested the time to map out and deliver incredible, remarkable, memorable, WOW experiences have a huge advantage. They get this “secret” information others don’t get. This makes creating and delivering a consistently awesome customer experience a huge differentiator. This is a game changer.

And one more note…this isn’t telling the customer you “care about them”…every company cares about their customers because they pay them money. This is a cop-out. No…this is about OBSESSING over your customer so they see it, feel it, and participate in it. There is a cavern between “caring” and “obsessing” over your customer. Next time someone says they “care” about you as a customer, ask them, “Why don’t you obsess over me?” That should change the conversation pretty quick.

Change the game…stand out…be different…get your customers to start saying, “WOW you really do care about me!” I can guarantee they aren’t saying it about your most (if not all) of your competitors if you are the company that obsesses over them. That’s what gets you more “secrets” and a competitive advantage in the market. Oh and did I mention that happier customers creates happier employees…that’s a topic for another post!

Word-of-Mouth vs. Sharing…which do your Customers do for you?


Two Officemates Sharing Secrets And Gossips

“I can’t believe I found the same product for a cheaper price…I can’t wait to ‘share’ it with all my friends so they can take advantage of this great bargain.” That’s sharing…

“WOW, I can’t believe how well Company X treated me during my entire purchase…what an incredible experience…I can’t wait to ‘tell all my friends’ about it so they can enjoy the same experience.” That’s Word-of-Mouth…

If you can’t see the difference, that may be part of the problem with creating the Long Tail of Word-of-Mouth. Word-of-Mouth contains passion and trust and commitment to stand behind an experience, a company, or a person. Sharing is providing information but without a personal connection/recommendation. You shared some information with your audience that you know about, not necessarily that you support and trust.

Creating a company to get more “Shares” is very different than creating a company that is built around getting more “Word-of-Mouth.” The key word that is missing is TRUST. I can share something I don’t trust. I won’t spread word-of-mouth about something I don’t trust.

Think about all the places you are passionate about and trust. These are the places you would be happy to spread the word about and tell people…and with passion.They can’t go wrong buying from this company or this person. This is why word-of-mouth is so valuable…shares aren’t nearly as valuable.

Ask yourself the tough question…”Is your company (and people) getting trusted word-of-mouth from your customers or are they getting shares about special deals or simply products?” The answer to this question you will give you much better insight into how much your customers Trust you and your employees.

The ULTIMATE Customer Challenge…How do you Rank?

Survey ratings with starsVirtually every business owner and executive I talk to says they “care about their customers.” Who doesn’t…they pay us money…what’s not to like? But do they really? Here’s a simple “test” or “challenge” for you to take behind closed doors…or with your management team. The answers just might change the way you think and might just help put you on a more aggressive path to achieve “Customer Centricity” in your organization.

The Challenge…

  1. Think of the most incredible and memorable “customer experience” you have had in recent years…picture yourself back in this experience.
  2. Write down the answers to the following (this makes a great exercise in your next leadership meeting)…
    1. Why is it your favorite and most memorable experience?
    2. What were the pieces that made it so incredible and memorable?
    3. If someone asks you to tell them about it, what are the key points you want to make sure and tell them about this experience?
    4. Have you told others about this experience? How many (roughly) and did you tell them one-on-one and/or on your social channels?
  3. Picture the experience your company delivers to your customer’s day in and day out. Think about the elements of the experience, good or bad, and write them down.
  4. Now do the comparisons…evaluate the two experiences. How close does the experience you deliver relate to the one you described as your most favorite in #1 and #2 above?
    1. The experiences we deliver and my most memorable one are equal…both remarkable and incredible
    2. The experiences we deliver and my most memorable are pretty close with the majority of key points the same
    3. Our Experience has about half the key parts of my most favorite and memorable experience
    4. The experience we deliver is not very close to my most memorable experience
    5. The experience we deliver isn’t anything like my best and most memorable experience
  5. The final…and arguably the most important question. Do you think your customers are going out of their way to tell others about the experience they have with you (good or bad experiences)? If so, how do you think they are telling them, one on one or one to many (social media)?

The Results                                            

The best way to think about the results is by discussing the answers to #4 and #5 above. This should give you some guidance as to where you fit on the scale below…

CUSTOMER CENTRIC                                                                         PRODUCT/SERVICE CENTRIC


This is a helpful exercise/challenge to ask your leadership team and top level managers. It will give you tremendous insight into how you might answer the most critical question of all…Why is it we deliver a customer experience that is less than what we would expect when we are the customer?”

CEOs, Presidents, and Business Owners…RISK or OPPORTUNITY?

Vector_0135If you are the leader of your organization, this question is for you…

“Are your CUSTOMERs, PARTNERs, SUPPLIERs, and EMPLOYEEs “proactively” talking about you and acting as your “Advocates” and “Evangelists”…either one-on-one or one to many (on their social channels)?

Over the past 15 years, I have learned that less than 20% (the actual number is closer to 9%) of a company’s customers are acting as Advocates and proactively talking about their company.

Here are the average numbers for where customers fit for the majority of companies…

  • Advocates – 0% – 20% … Your Advocates _______
  • Loyal Customers – 15% – 60% … Your Loyal Customers _______
  • Satisfied Customers – 25% – 75% … Your Satisfied Customers _______
  • Dissatisfied Customers – 2% – 40% … Your Dissatisfied Customers _______

Where do you fit…put your own numbers next to these averages…be honest with yourself as the leader of your company…what is your “gut feel” for what these numbers look like for your organization?

Once you have filled in the numbers, hold a meeting and have all your top officers do the same exercise, without sharing their answers. Then have them hand them to you and go through them…they won’t match…guaranteed!


Essentially, according to the numbers above, 80% of your customers aren’t “actively” telling anyone else how wonderful you are! If someone happens to ask them about you, 40%+ won’t tell them anything great about you. And according to the numbers, up to 75% are at the risk of leaving you at any time for “the next best deal” that comes along!


You have the makings of a “groundswell” within your existing customer base…your Advocates. Regardless of how small this number is, there are some that could create a groundswell of wonderful comments about you in the market. And with the power of Social Media today, this small groundswell of people could reach thousands of others…many of which could be potential customers or even customers who are “on the fence” about you…they could push them over into someone who is Loyal or even into being an Advocate. This is a HUGE opportunity!

The reality is that most of you won’t take advantage of the opportunity, just live with the risk and hope it gets better. The numbers show it won’t…with the market pressures the odds are more of your customers will be at risk in the future. Being the “top dog” in the organization gives you the ability to make the choice of which way you want to go…reduce risk and increased opportunity or do nothing.

This is a decision leaders make every day. The ones that want to lead their industry or space decide to create a “Word-of-Mouth” business strategy that focuses on getting more “Advocates” and less of everything else. It is not just a commitment, it is a passion. If you would like to know more about what a Word-of-Mouth strategy looks like…just ask…I would be happy to share with you what some of the leading companies are doing and some of the leading thinking in this area. They are taking advantage of the “OPPORTUNITY” and minimizing their “RISK.” In the end, it’s your decision as a leader which direction you want to head and how much risk you can balance against the opportunity. It’s just your job…

Get the “Inside Scoop”…just Ask a Building

IMG_1210Would you rather converse with a person or a building/office/group? Seems silly doesn’t it.

Social media channels, like Twitter and LinkedIn, are designed for “individuals to interact” with each other…not with inanimate objects…such as a “company”. People want to talk to people. We want insights from PEOPLE. We want to inside scoop from people who have it and can share it with us. We want people…

So the next time you are thinking about opening your “company twitter account,” think about who it is you are actually wanting to interact with…they are most likely people…just like you. Your audience wants to hear Bob or Sally or Mike or Carol’s views…not XYZ company views. Those are scrubbed and sterilized to make sure the attorneys don’t go nuts.

Be personal…share what’s real…talk about issues you know your audience really wants to know about. This individuality and sense of interacting with a person is bigger than you think. It is the lifeblood and core component of “social” media.

If you are doing nothing more than tweeting things (and promotions) about your company on your company twitter page or facebook page or LinkedIn page…STOP. Not only will you find it isn’t connecting with your audience, you are probably driving them away.

Be a person…talk to them as you would if you were face-to-face…tell them the way it is…they probably already know the way it is (or have a perception) but it goes a long way if they can hear it from you.

Oh…and one last thought…I have yet to see a “building” spread Word-of-Mouth about anyone…ever!

Instead of thinking BIG…think IMPACT

think big on blackboardI want to be the BIGGEST Company in my industry.

I want to have the BIGGEST gathering/meetup/networking event in the area.

I want to have the BIGGEST stars/celebrities/athletes at my event.

I want to have the BIGGEST revenue number of all time for our company.

I want to have the BIGGEST __________ (fill in the blank).


I wanmake a differencet to create the greatest IMPACT for my customers business.

I want to have an IMPACT on my employee’s lives.

I want to create an IMPACT in my industry that can change it forever.

I want to IMPACT the world in some way to make it better…one IMPACT at a time.

I want to have an IMPACT on ________ (fill in the blank).

It’s our choice. IMPACT is about PASSION and doing something that helps someone have a better life, whether it is personal or professional. BIGGEST is…well, the BIGGEST.

I get asked all the time if I am going to create a BIG firm because what I do is unique and a bit ahead of its time in areas of customer centricity and social media. My answer is always the same…WHY? What is most important to me is seeing the IMPACT I can have on helping a company think and act differently than their competitors…creating something unique for themselves. I like IMPACT…biggest, not so much.

Regardless of what you do or the size of your business, I would ask/challenge you to think about IMPACT…are you having IMPACT or just providing a product or service. Customer Centric companies create IMPACT for their customers…that is their passion. Product/Service centric companies create opportunities to buy and hopefully become the BIGGEST in their area of focus.

There is a difference. What is your mindset as a business owner, CEO, leader in your company…is it BIGGEST or is it IMPACT? I would encourage you to step back and at least think about it…it might just change the way you view your company and your customers and your employees. It might just change your future…

“FOLLOW” Relevant…6 Areas That Matter

social-icons-08It doesn’t matter what speech I give or to what kind of group…as soon as I suggest (strongly) that they sign up for twitter, I get asked, “How do I get lots of people following me?” Unfortunately, it’s the wrong question…

Relevance has changed…or has it? Back when Social Media first started gaining traction (it’s been 8 years since I started working in the field) and it was the “shiny new object” for people, relevance was about followers and connections and friends. If you had a lot of them, you were somehow important. Not that they all cared about you…they didn’t, but numbers were important and it made you “relevant” in social media and possibly your industry. Have times changed?

I have been back giving a lot of speeches and guess what…this question still comes up, “How do I get a bunch of followers?” It’s the wrong question…

If you want lots of followers, you can easily get them today and there are thousands of companies willing to take your money to build your twitter following…but it’s the wrong answer to the wrong question.

The question you should be asking is, “How do I get followers who could help me grow my business?” And if you asked this, they would fit into a few categories…

  1. Current Customers
  2. Past Customers
  3. Future Customers
  4. Industry influencers and leaders
  5. Thought leaders in your areas of business
  6. Business friends and colleagues

Start with this list and this list only. It will probably be a lot smaller list than you could ever buy from some “list building” firm…but they will be people that matter. They will be people who will do two things for you…

  1. Help you find and curate content valuable to your customer audience
  2. Find Value in the information you are sharing and talking about

Don’t over complicate a simple, yet valuable and critical tool to help you grow your business. Start with this and you will finally be focused in the right direction of BEING RELEVANT. Because if you aren’t “relevant”…no one is going to care about you. Sorry…it’s just reality in the “New World” we live in today and no one has time for something or someone who isn’t relevant to them. Now you also have some insight into why Social Media doesn’t “work” for most companies today and why they don’t get talked about on their social channels.

Why Should I Buy from YOU?

The good and the bad of the Internet is that you can find virtually anything you want or need (the good) and you, and your customers, can find it at the lowest price possible (the bad)…and it might not be from you. So the real question isn’t about how to get found on the internet, the real question is how do you get them to buy from you?

Over 70% of the conversation on most social media channels about businesses and organizations is “experiential”…meaning it is about the experience they had when interacting with your company. Not product or service…but the experience they had when talking, searching, or even buying from you. What was that like? Did it leave them with a WOW, remarkable, awesome, or memorable experience or did it just meet their needs? This is at the heart of why people buy from you. And they talk about it…a lot…on social channels.

According to eMarketer.com, 50% of their respondents said the “primary reason that US Internet users recommend a brand, product, or service is because of good experiences they had.” People love to talk about and share great experiences with others…one-on-one and through social channels. This is at the heart of what creates “word-of-mouth on steroids.” Check out the flow in the diagram below…Word of mouth flow chart

So the magic is in developing and “experience” that will cause your customers to talk about you and to share the good news with their connections, followers, and friends. When they do, you just tapped into thousands of new potential customers who might also want to buy from you because of the experience you deliver. This cycle is what drives people to buy from you far more frequently and in larger amounts than just being “found” on the internet…regardless of whether you are at the top of the listing or not.

We HEAR it…we SEE it…we WANT it…then why Don’t we DO it?

Happy Business People - 3000 x 700There are tons of statistics floating around today about how much time your visitors spend on your websites and associated sites (such as a blog). Whether you agree with them or not, the important part is the trend they are creating. Here are a few…

  • Current attention span for an adult is 7 seconds
  • Average time on poorly designed websites maxes out at 90 seconds before user is gone
  • Over age of 55, 57% of you will leave quickly
  • Under age of 24, 75% are gone quickly
  • Only 14% today believe the content of your advertisements today

While this list could go on and on, it’s important to realize one key component that HAS NOT CHANGED…when you offer your visitor/customer/prospect an incredible CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. In a post by Target Marketing, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for that: Most Frustrating Websites,” they specifically called this out when they said…

“But just what is a marketer to do in these dark days of only having 90 seconds before a user runs off in a huff? You’ve heard it before, but creating a valuable customer experiences (CX) is absolutely critical—and a website is one of the most important links of that chain.”

I couldn’t agree more…and even though I have been talking about how valuable Customer Experiences are for companies since we wrote our book over 10 years ago, it still hasn’t become the core driver for most businesses. We all see great experiences and envy companies that deliver great experiences, yet when it comes to our company, there is a disconnect between understanding its importance and making it the heart of our company. I find this fascinating and see a tremendous “green field” of opportunity for those who are able to bridge this connection and make the change to being “all about the customer.”

And just to add gasoline to the fire, the digital world has accelerated this issue beyond our wildest expectations. No longer is it a “bricks and mortar” issue…it is a digital issue. If you aren’t providing an incredible, WOW, totally awesome customer experience today in the digital world, you are now missing a huge opportunity to interact and capture the attention of your customers and prospects. Maybe today is the day when you say, “It’s time to change our company into an ‘experiential company’ and compete on an entirely different level.” I hope so…then you can actually say you DO IT!!

Skip to toolbar