Word Of Mouth (WOM) – Does It Really Matter?

Yes, Word Of Mouth Does Really Matter.
Word Of Mouth


Word Of Mouth may matter more than ever before.

The reality is WOM has always mattered.  Long before radio and TV, WOM was the primary way of sharing information.  It is what people have always done. They get together to share information and their most recent experiences – positive or negative. It is what the Greeks did in Aristotle’s day, what hobos do and it is what we continue to do only more so.

But WOM is different today.  Instead of just sharing information with another party or with several, we now share our thoughts, opinions, experiences with the world thanks to social media. These shared experiences contribute to the overall impression others have about your company, your product or service.

Here are just a few factors to support this fact.

  • Fewer and fewer have any confidence in traditional advertising.  It simply isn’t believed.  What is believed are the recommendations and opinions of others and that happens through WOM online and off.  A recent global study by Nielsen shows where consumer confidence lies.  Respondents in the US and Europe were less positive about any form of advertising than the global averages shown in the chart.

Trust In Advertising

  • Social media is eating up more of our time and the value of social media exchanges is becoming increasingly more important.

Time Online

Okay.  I’ve convinced you that Word Of Mouth matters.  Now what?  I think the answer is rather obvious.

You Need To Generate Some Positive WOM For Your Company

To do this effectively you need to create a system so WOM actually happens and you want to make it easy for a customer to deliver that priceless WOM.

1.  Determine a WOM goal.

Do you want WOM in the form of online reviews on your Google+ Local listing or on  Yelp?  Or would it be of more value for you to collect positive WOM on your Facebook Page or on your LinkedIn profile?  Maybe you could really use direct referrals. Which will yield you the biggest returns in the area that matters most to your company?

2.  Decide how you will ask your customers to take action. 

You can request WOM via your regular email communications, through a trigger email based on some action by the customer, through your social media posts, during a transaction or in-person.  Perhaps a “refer” button on your website will do the trick.  Think about your operations and decide the best approach.

3.  Decide when is the best time for you to ask for the WOM. 

It might be best to ask during the transaction or a week or month after the customer has had experience with your product or service.  What is a natural fit for your product or service?

4.  Decide on a WOM format. 

Do you want customer stories in video, written testimonials, positive postings on their social networks, direct referrals, etc.?  Which format will make it easy and perhaps fun for your customers while delivering the WOM you want for your company?

5.  Decide what specific steps you can take to generate WOM. 

The easiest way to generate WOM is to surprise them.

Surprise them with exceptional customer service.

Surprise them by going out of your way to meet an unusual request.

Surprise them by performing a random act of kindness – something totally unexpected and worthy of note.

Surprise them with a follow-up (phone or email) that tells them you were paying attention to their concerns and wanted to know if everything was working for them.

Determine what types of surprises fit with your company, your operations and the customer and then take those surprises to another level to generate  WOW WOM for your business.

6.  Track your WOM results. 

Don’t just assume it is working.  Track and measure the results of your WOM efforts.  If you do, you’ll see just how critical WOM is to the success of your company.

Your Turn:  What ideas can you share to generate Word of Mouth?  What have you tried in the past and what were the results?



Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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  1. Pingback: How Advocacy Leads to More Sales | the marketing bit

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