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The following is a guest post by Yifat Mor, VP Marketing of nanorep.
The rise of social media is in full force, and word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) has become a strategic force for brands looking to grow organically.
And of course, customers are continuing to spread their experiences with friends, family and coworkers over the phone and face-to-face as well.
As logic goes, customers who have a consistently positive relationship with a brand will be more willing to advocate the brand to others.
Here are four surefire tactics for achieving customer service experiences that are worth sharing about.
1. Focus on creating long-term, meaningful relationships with your customers - relationships that they will remember
Full story here: The greatest customer service story ever told, starring Morton's Steakhouse
Often, brands consider ‘loyalty’ to be just a small part of what makes their company successful. However, customer loyalty should instead be the the foundation of your company - and I mean the kind of care that motivates people to talk about your business.
The reason for this is simple – customers that care deeply about your product are much likelier to share about it with every single person they know.
Even people who end up not purchasing the product will always have a good association with the brand after a good customer service encounter, possibly motivating them to buy a product from the company in the future.
Consider the example of Warby Parker, a huge 1.2 billion dollar company that amassed huge word-of mouth. How exactly did they do it?
Well, the Forbes feature on their customer service might give us a hint:
Warby Parker is proof that personalised customer service that go miles-beyond expectations can achieve huge success - and more importantly, touch customers and create meaningful relationships.
Read next: How Warby Parker Earned Word-of-Mouth By Using Storytelling And Remarkable Experiences (8+ Examples)
2. Be available for your users 24/7, even when it’s after office hours
The beautiful thing about word-of-mouth marketing is that when it works, it really works. Unlike campaigns, word-of-mouth isn’t limited to any time period - it’s probably happening right now!
While this is one of the many beauties of word-of-mouth marketing, it also means that your customer service platform needs to be prepared 24/7.
Suppose customer A shares about your product to potential customer B. B decides to check out your website, and has some questions. What if this is happening in an entirely different timezone, and your usual customer service hours have already ended?
One workable solution would be to use a self-service plugin such as nanorep.
The plugin uses a ‘knowledge based system’ - it automatically imports content from your website’s FAQ, about pages and other sources. The widgets are also customizable, and it can even detect the context of customer’s questions to provide more accurate answers.
Plugins like these allow you to provide great customer service, even after office hours.
The easier you make it for your potential customers to find solutions to their problems, the likelier they are to talk about the good experience they had with your service.
3. Get as much feedback as possible from your customers
Knowing what your customer is looking out for can help you to pre-determine what are the most common questions or factors customers consider when searching for a product, and help to pre-empt questions customer service will face.
Some examples of questions are:
- “What is the most valuable service the product provides?”
- “What would make a customer choose this product over another?”
- “What are customers asking the most?”
How do you get such feedback? Using platforms like Google forms can help you gather data very quickly (it usually helps if you provide some incentive for customers to give feedback!)
These questions can help you improve your product and company strategies effectively by directly catering to what customers want the most.
4. Be responsive on all channels, especially when it comes to an unhappy customer!
If you browse the Facebook pages of almost any business, you’ll likely see their customer service pages filled with customer queries, comments, complaints... with so many avenues for contact, a non-reply is basically customer-service suicide.
Many companies make the mistake of ignoring negative feedback - this merely fuels unhappiness and can even lead to negative word-of-mouth.
A company that handle social media queries brilliantly is Target. Target’s agents are direct, highly responsive, and most of all they remain calm and constructive even when confronted with agitated customers:
Target is a company that recognizes the influence of social networking channels in the overall customer experience.
Patience, empathy and responsiveness characterises their support, and as we can see in the example above, it can reap extremely good results even in the light of unhappy customers.
To recap, how can great customer service lead to great WOM engagement?
- Build long-term customers - they’re the ones that are going to be actively sharing about your products
- Always be available, 24/7, so no customer gets left behind
- Know what your customers want so you can always cater to it
- Always be prepared to go the extra mile for customers - it’s usually worth it
- Customers always head to social media when they have issues, so make sure to keep these channels responsive
See some success stories in execution: 17 Ways That 15 Companies Got Massive Word-of-Mouth By Delighting Their Customers
Or, get the full story on the power of word of mouth marketing (WOMM) and why it works so well in our comprehensive guide to word of mouth marketing!