19 Steps You Can Take Today(!) to Sustain Word-of-Mouth for Your Business

Guest post from Zane Safrit
Blog: www.zanesafrit.com
Radio Show: www.zanesafritradio.com

There is a growing amount of buzz on the web about word-of-mouth marketing. How it’s done, how do you get you some, what colors should it be?

Too much of that buzz is about gimmicks. You know the gimmicks I’m talking about: viral emails with cartoons, clever slogans, shock and aw[ful] ads or sites, hidden camera-stuff.  These are the proverbial one-hit wonders.  After their done, and the agency’s been paid, the customers are left with what? They’re left with that same company and the company gives them nothing to talk about.

Real, authentic, word-of-mouth is generated by real, authentic, relief for a customer’s pain. It’s a relief that is so inspiring to the customer they are compelled to tell their friends and colleagues about their experiences. And often overlooked is the simplicity of these pain-relievers and that anyone in any company has the resources to deliver them each time they connect with/about a customer.

Here are 19 steps YOU can take today to create and sustain word-of-mouth marketing for your business:

•    Answer the customer’s calls faster.  Answer it on the 3rd ring, not the fourth.
•    Reply to their emails faster. Reply within 1 hour, not two.
•    Give that customer what they want,  regardless of ‘policy’.
•    Issue that credit today, while they are on the phone, not next week or so.
•    Listen while they vent for a moment or two. Maybe, they earned that moment. In their mind they had.
•    Found a solution for a chronic problem. Used it. Presented the results. Ok, that’s three steps.
•    Arrive a few minutes early each day.
•    Leave a few minutes later
•    Found a little door through your department’s silo…? Walked through it into the other department. Said hi. Ok, that’s more than one.
•    Used spellcheck on all your emails.
•    Personalized your emails with 2-3 sentences
•    Wish the customer a great day and mean it.
•    Call the customer back to make sure your promises were reality in their world.
•    Call them back to make sure they received the email.
•    Ask what else can you do for them?
•    Send a bouquet of flowers
•    Convince your CEO to join you on a call to an important customer
•    As CEO, you called your customers regularly

Not everyone can take every step here. This list is not complete.
But what if you took one step more each week? Too fast?
What about this plan?

  • Take one step.
  • Make it a habit.
  • Take the next step.
  • Make that a habit.

Do that until you run out of steps from this list. I think you will discover more steps to take by then. And more people who want to take them with you.

Ok. So you want to measure the results in something more meaningful? Great. Try these metrics:

•    Lower advertising costs
•    Lower customer churn
•    More upsells
•    More cross-sells
•    Higher employee loyalty
•    Lower employee training and recruiting costs
•    Better cash-flows
•    More control of your destiny

That last one is not a metric. It’s the result of when you generate growing positive cash-flows from a growing community of customers singing your praises or sharing their experience of your company via plain old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

How do you sustain word of mouth for your business?

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This post was written by who has written 473 posts on Deborah Shane Toolbox.

Top 100 Small Business Champion and Podcast, Top 20 Small Biz Women to Follow on Twitter. Deborah Shane is a Career Transition Author, professional branding consultant, content marketer and social media strategist, writer and speaker. She hosts a popular blog and a small business radio podcast with 340K+ downloads. Deborah’s articles are featured on SmallBizTrends.com, Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, Careerealism and Business Insider. Deborah is a go-to resource for local and national media including CNN, Fox, CBS and NBC. Engage with her @DeborahShane, and visit her at DeborahShaneToolBox.com.

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