How can you encourage positive word of mouth for your small business? Try these three strategies.
1. Offer exceptional customer service—every time
There’s no way around it: positive word of mouth has to be earned.
Unfortunately it is exceedingly difficult to prevent negative word of mouth. People are much more likely to share a bad experience than praise a business. The best way to earn positive referrals is to make your customers feel special each and every time they come in contact with you and your brand.
Here are a few simple ways to win over your customers:
Be friendly and approachable in person and online
Get to know your customers personally
Ensure customers are greeted promptly and don’t wait long to complete a transaction
Express gratitude for ongoing business
Offer perks for loyalty
Pay attention to the details
Be honest, always
If something goes amiss, take immediate steps to resolve the problem to the customer’s satisfaction.
2. Invite - and reward - referrals
You can increase the odds that customers will spread the good word about your business with an incentive—such as a freebie or discount on their next purchase for completing a review on your website, Google or Facebook.
Try an app like Wufoo to set up a simple referral form right on your website. Make it easy to pass on your e-newsletter to more potential customers with a web based referral system that automates the process.
3. Don’t miss an opportunity
Remember to ask those clients or customers who praise your products and customer service that you’d love a testimonial for your website, or a shout out on social media.
On that note, it’s essential to keep track of what people are saying about your brand online—whether the talk is positive or negative. Be sure to take a moment to thank your fans for their kind words. As an added bonus, replying to positive business reviews can help give them a bump in search results.
Be sure to respond appropriately to negative reviews, too. Consider a bad review an opportunity to make things right. It’s much better to know what people are saying and respond than allow a problem to fester.
As you make efforts to increase word of mouth for your business, remember this: it’s the element of surprise that really gets people talking about a company. Think about how you can do more than meet your customers’ expectations, but dramatically exceed them. They’ll not only tell their friends about you—they’ll keep coming back for more.