In days long ago passed, a neighbor’s recommendation meant everything. Word of mouth was king, and if the buzz at the water-cooler about your business, product, or service, was favorable, you were golden.
Then the age of advertising hit its stride. Corporate giants spent countless hours (and dollars!) with the world’s top advertising agencies, looking for just that iconic message, mascot, or jingle that would resonate with the world. Ronald McDonald? Ever heard of him? Can you recognize the Starbucks brand from a mile off? Mercedes? Nike? World Cup Soccer? Absolutely. But these days, a radio jingle or swingy commercial slogan doesn’t seem so commonplace.
Things are again changing. American Express Global Customer Service Barometer says that 92% of people are most influenced by a company’s reputation or brand, and 88% say that they are most influenced by the recommendations of family and friends.
We all know Zappos… Amazon… The Four Seasons… but did you ever see an ad for any of them? Can you sing their jingle, or even remember their logo? Probably not. Chances are, you either heard about these service giants, or read about them, in a blog or an online endorsement.
So, the question begs asking… how can “word of mouth” be motivated, encouraged or leveraged? How can you create “buzz” even if you are a single employee, or manager of a business? Does it take a huge budget? An ad agency? Nope. Sit down, we are going to offer you some staggering statistics.
You guessed it… the power of Social Media.
Facebook now has over 500 million users – the world spends over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
LinkedIn has over 90 million users and is now adding a million users every 12 days.
Twitter – over 200 million users and adding 460,000 new accounts every day. In the last year alone, the average number of tweets per day had nearly tripled from 50 million to 140 million tweets per day.
Yelp – 30 million users, no longer a start-up
You Tube? Bebo? Yes, they too are active!
To quote Gary Vaynerchuk on the release of his new book “The Thank You Economy”
“Now customers’ demands for authenticity, originality, creativity, honesty, and good intent have made it necessary for companies and brands to revert to a level of customer service rarely seen since our great-grandparents’ day, when business owners often knew their customers personally, and gave them individual attention.”
Yes, it all winds back to service. Superior Service. Uplifting and Surprising Service! Service Culture. How is service culture wound throughout the place you work? When a customer visits your place of business, what do they see? How do they perceive their experience with you? Have you ever considered the small and surprising ways that you could impress a single customer? Sometimes, the ideas that matter the most are the small surprising ones. Have you listened to the voice of your customer to ask them their perceptions? Do you see how easily you could ask them through social media? Are you doing this now? Consumers now have the power to speak their minds, and to propel their opinions to millions of friends, family members, and followers, with a single click of the mouse. Don’t you want them to tell you first?
We hope that you are already working in the Social Media space, and encouraging your customers to continuously interact with your brand through this incredibly powerful medium. Want to touch your people on a consistent basis? To ask for their opinions, hear their concerns, offer them service, enticements, or support? This is truly the ultimate service culture. Ask them how they feel, what they want, how you can serve them better. It is all right at your fingertips.
BUT unless you are ready to listen, respond, and react, it is better to wait. The “now” generation is watching to see what you will do. Will you listen to them? Will you respond?