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That all elusive holy grail of marketing, word-of-mouth, is right up there with Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster in that we hear reports that their real, but most of us have our doubts. The biggest reason why this is, is because most businesses fail to plan for it. Like anything else, if it's worth doing its worth planning for, below I will show you 5 powerful ways to get your customers to talk about you, in their online social graph.
Up, Up And Away - Going Way Beyond
One of the best ways to get people talking is to give them more than they expect. I know that can come across as 101 but it's the basis of word-of-mouth, let's face it if you don't give your customers something to talk about, they won't.
Each one of us, when we make a purchase, expect a certain level of customer service but it's the difference between what's expected and the actual level of customer service received that will influence your customers to want to talk about you. Of course that can be a double edged sword in that if you fail to meet those expectations the word-of-mouth received will be negative. But, if you take a look at all of your customer touch points and ensure that each one over delivers you will go a long way to producing positive word of mouth. Never let a moment to over deliver pass you by if you want to enchant your customers into talking about you.
Sam Walton said it best when he said, "The goal of a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary."
Achieve legendary status in the customer service department and you'll be a legend in the ROI department.
Don't Go Faceless - Show Your Personality
What is the personality of you dealership or other business? That is, who are the people that make it up? What are their stories and what makes them unique? Answer those questions and make sure to put it out there for people to see. Have employees create videos about why they work there, let them tell their story and the story of the dealership. It's okay to get personal because that's what you want, you want their personality to shine.
The idea is to create a voice that people can relate to, that people want to be part of. Think of personality as a magnet, what kind of people do you want to attract?
Correcting Mistakes - Listening To What They Are Saying
It's okay to make mistakes, we all do and nobody is under the illusions that you are going to be perfect, it's just not in our DNA, things will always crop up! Just remember that it's in how you fix those mistakes that will differentiate you from the competition and get people talking.
The first rule of thumb is to not let the negative stuff people may say about you get you down, look at it as a way to improve, as a way to stand out and better meet your customers needs. Remember, people won't always come to you and let you know what they think about your customer service but you better believe they are out there talking about it, which is why it's so important that you set up a social mention listening station. Don't stop there, make sure that you take to heart what other are saying and make a change, integrate the negatives, turn them into positives and make them part of your day to day processes to ensure that it doesn't happen again (The Most Powerful part of Social Media that You're NOT Using).
Making Connections - Staying Connected
Connect with your customers online, go to where they are and get to know them. By building relationships that go beyond the transaction you are better able to influence people to talk about you and your dealership. Relationships, by their very nature, are influential and working to become part of your customers social graph will go a long ways to creating word-of-mouth, increasing repeat business and boosting the number of referrals you receive.
Give, Give, Give - Working Philanthropy Into The Budget
Every business should be doing this. As part of your monthly budget you should include charitable donations, keep in mind that not all charity means that you have to donate money. What do you think would happen to word-of-mouth if once a month employees got together and mowed grass for the elderly, picked up trash on the highway or covered over some graffiti? That's right, it would go through the roof!
Plan For Word-Of-Mouth
Include it as part of your strategy, plan for it, otherwise word-of-mouth will continue to allude you and you will never find your way into your customers social graph. Take a look at your processes and integrate the information in this post into them. Make sure that it's the goal of EVERY employee to enchant your customers by creating exceptional customer service, developing their personality, correcting mistakes, connecting with their customers online and being philanthropic. Word-of-mouth isn't as elusive as you think, as long as you know how to coax it out... are you ready to start coaxing?
Social Media Strategist