Tag: Success

9 Levels of Word of Mouth

9 Levels of Word of Mouth

Last time we talked about the second part of word-of-mouth tactics which help you put together a system to help shorten your customers’ purchasing decision time, which can increase your profits immensely.

Today is not so much of a blog but a tool to evaluate where your word of mouth stands and how it affects your business. We’re going to talk about the nine levels of word-of-mouth which gives you a scale to measure the word-of-mouth circulating around your company, products, and services. You can then see where you are getting negative or weak word of mouth and find ways to correct it.

So, launching into the nine levels of word-of-mouth, it should seem relatively obvious that the negative levels are, well, negative, and the positive levels are positive. 

Word of Mouth Scale

Minus 4-Death Blow

This is the worst of the worst and means your product or service is creating a scandal. Remember when the popular over-the-counter pain relievers, like Tylenol, were deemed unsafe? Yea, you won’t want that kind of word of mouth.

If this is where you are, it is most likely a death blow for your business and you have most likely done something very wrong. 

Minus 3-Karen is Out for Blood

Disgruntled customers are going out of their way to convince other consumers from purchasing your products and services. They are boycotting you. 

They are actively making a seen, leaving bad reviews, making their tik toks. In some respect, this can be the worst place to be. Karen does not allow you to have a minute to respond and fix the problem. 

Minus 2-Unacceptable and Unhappy

While not outwardly boycotting, when customers are asked about you, they will give a negative response. They will take the time to leave a Yelp or Google review and most likely leave it at that. 

Minus 1-Solvable 

At this level, people are mildly dissatisfied, and while not outwardly talking about it, they will have an opinion if asked. Now they may purchase from you despite their negative feelings; this can be a little confusing. 

These people may stick with you because it is easy or the pain is not enough to change. It is important to spend time giving them a better experience.

Level 0-Neutral 

This is sort of a neutral place to be. Customers are using your products, but don’t really talk about it. People rarely ask them about it, so they aren’t sharing their opinion with others. This can be a slippery slope because you don’t want to turn that neutral experience into a negative one. You should work to make it a positive one.

Plus 1-Satisfied 

At this level, we are finally starting to work our way into the positive word-of-mouth about your company, products, and services. Plus 1 signifies that people are generally pleased with your products, but unless asked, don’t really say anything about them.

Plus 2-Tip of the Tong Solution

When asked, your customers will talk about how much they love your products or service. They will be a person who says something like, “o I use …” or “consider trying …”. These people need to be prompted but once they have been you’re their go-to.

They may give a review but most likely need to be prompted before they will do it.

Plus 3-Have You Heard About

Customers will go out of their way to talk about your products, services, company, and shopping experience with you. This is most evident when you see how people recommend movies to their friends and family.

These people will leave an unprompted review and 5-star score. These tend to be your 7-9 net promoter scores.

Plus 4- Champion

Your product is the toast of the town. There is an obvious buzz going around, and your business is the place to be. People are not only talking about your great products and services, but they are talking about their shopping experience, your customer service, and how they perceive the company to help them in the future.

These are the people who do not only leave a review but also go out of their way to make a social media post. These are your 9-10 net promoter scores. 

Some great examples of Plus 4 companies are:

  • Lexus
  • Harley Davidson
  • Lululemon 
  • Tesla
  • Apple
  • Costco

 

We’re going to leave this lesson for you to mull over and take a look at what kind of word of mouth you are generating. If you need help with this process, try our FREE test drive to get help from our experienced business coaches.

Next ti, we will talk about the 30 ways to harness the power of word of mouth.

Are People Talking About You the Way You Want?

Are People Talking About You the Way You Want?

Take Control of Your Word of Mouth

It is time to start a new series, all about Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in an extremely short amount of time. In this first lesson, we’ll explore exactly what word of mouth is and give you a chance to know if you’re using it correctly. 

Word of Mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People talk about ads they see, experiences they have, and the products they purchase. So if you treat people right and spread the word about your new products/services in a positive way, you’ll attract the right customers and clients who will sustain your business for a long time. 

Now, as positive as word of mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Unfortunately, bad news seems invariable to travel faster than good news. If you have a less than high-quality product or weak customer service system, then your customers will tell everyone they know not to buy your products and services.

The age of technology has proved to be an amazing benefit in the world of word of mouth. With blogs, podcasts, online marketing, forums, social networking, and other online mediums available, it is easier and easier for consumers to share their experiences. And remember this is all free advertising for you. 

Shorten Customer Decision Cycle

The decision cycle or more commonly known as your sales cycle. This is your first opportunity to influence your client experience. There are three great ways to shorten & streamline your IAC decision cycle, plus they have the added benefit of impacting your revenue. They are:

  • Decision Speed
  • Friction & Stress Reduction
  • Operational Flexibility

Decision Speed

Let’s take a deeper look at decision speed. Offer simplicity, ease, and a fun purchasing atmosphere, and you’ll help your customers make their decisions quicker and more confidently. When this happens, your customers will buy more frequently, spend more money than usual, refer friends, and decided to purchase more quickly. This can raise your market share by over 100 times.

The time it takes your customer to decide and purchase far outweighs any other component of marketing. When you focus on customer decision speed it forces you to take a hard look at your company and brand image, positioning, value, customer service, guarantees, and product quality.

Friction & Stress Reduction 

The next area I want to talk about quickly is how to minimize the friction or stress involved with decision-making. No matter how easily people find decision-making there is a certain amount of anxiety we all experience when making a purchase, especially from a new source or for a large amount of money. When you help to minimize this emotional response, you will soothe your customers’ anxiety and they will make their decision quicker and more confidently.

There are a few secrets to accelerate the customer’s decision making progress:

  • Your benefits, features, claims, and promises must be obvious, clear, and concise.
  • The information you offer must be complete, easy to understand, credible, and balanced.
  • Use comparisons that show a marked difference.
  • Your guarantees must be rock solid and more than the customer expects.
  • Make trial periods easy.
  • You must have simple evaluations of your products or services.
  • Testimonials need to be relevant and positive.
  • Your support, delivery, and other operational systems must be perfect.

Your website can be as good as you make it. You can offer more than information; you can offer an experience that guides your customers gently through the decision-making process to make it easy for them to buy. Take it a step beyond by offering toll-free support numbers, software downloads to help with the process, or other classy and informative ways to reassure your customers that you are there with them every step of the way and have nothing to hide.

Operational Flexibility 

The final area to explore is the customer journey. This might be the most important piece of any marketing strategy. A customer journey is the ideal touchpoints and behaviors you want to see your customers exhibit. A great customer journey has the following components:

  • A mapped out experience from prospect to fulfilled happy customer
  • Clear explanation of business action (items you put out in the world) and response (the action you want your customers to exhibit
  • The expectation of employees and responsibilities at each stage 
  • Training on your staff should implement these experiences

Now here is where the flexibility comes in, a great liner plan like a customer journey is an ideal experience. This means you need to empower your employees to be able to make edits, changes, skip steps, expand steps, etc to get to the finished product which is a repeat customer singing your praises to everyone they meet.

This wraps up the first post in our series on word of mouth. If you need help identifying your target market and the issues they run into that lengthen their purchasing experience, complete our One Thing survey and get an implementable solution within 48 business hours. 

Next time we’ll move forward with word of mouth and talk about the power of word of mouth and what exactly this powerful tool is and can be used for.

Customer Service Secrets

Customer Service Secrets

Attract client to post about customer service

Shhh... I Have a Secret

You can create a great customer service system for your business in 3 easy steps.

Customer service is a pretty hot topic and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for lousy customer service and quickly get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something, or trying to communicate through a language barrier. 

If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience, they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, your clients will tell everyone they know! 

There are three secrets to good customer service; the first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for your business’s future, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business, including customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

  • Understand Your Road Blocks
    • It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website, and other technology-based programs to help them shop. No matter what medium you chose, make sure you understand all of the steps your asking your client to do. Then make sure you can make them as easy as possible.

 

  • Your Experience Needs to be Like Talking with Mom
    • Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff has to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm, and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their shopping experience.

 

  • A Penny Wise a Dollar Foolish
    • Change your mindset and ask yourself, “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy customers. It is always essential to think about customer lifetime value when dealing with complaints, refunds, replacements, etc. Think a penny today is a dollar tomorrow.

With these thoughts in mind, you also need to consider a few things when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place.

  • Share your customer service vision with the rest of your staff. 
  • Empower your staff to make decisions at the moment.
  • Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  • Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out.
  • Set a time to review and improve your customer experience regularly.
  • Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
  • Continuously focus on your goals.

 

Now that you know what you want, you can start thinking about meeting those wants and creating a positive customer service experience.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources, and coaches in our GUIDED TOUR can help you define your company’s wants and needs in relation to customer service.

5 Quick Tips for a Kick A$$ Internship

5 Quick Tips for a Kick A$$ Internship

Internships are no longer a tool for massive companies to get grunt work out of college kids. It is a significantly underutilized option for small businesses to develop high-quality talent. Entrepreneurs tend to be overworked and stretched thin. Many of them have dreams of growing their business by adding digital marketing, business outreach, sales teams, or taking a real vacation. However, most feel they lack the funds to invest in their business. 

Here comes the power of an internship. The internship provides you the opportunity to get high-quality inexperienced talent at a low to no cost. It also is a fantastic tool for building relationships with major educational institutions.

Take a minute and review the graph to understand the cost and benefits of adding this program. It is always essential to understand what your committing to before you get started.

Cost/ Benefits

I have created several internship programs, from short 4-week middle school programs to multi-year professional programs. Here are my tips for creating an effective program for both you and the participant.

Set aside time.

It is pivotal before you get started creating a program, you first organize your schedule. Most internships require a reasonable amount of time upfront to get up and running. Then minimal time to maintain the progress.

Here is a rough time breakdown to run an effective small business internship program.

  • 3-5 hours for initial planning
  • 4 hours for onboarding 
  • 1 hour a day for the first two weeks 
    • Specifically for skills training and internship planning
  • 15 min a day for daily check-in
  • 1 hr every two weeks for the remainder of the internship 
    • Continued skills development
    • Performance review

Start with the talent.

Now that you have a rough idea of the time commitment, my next tip is to start by finding great talent. Most people will tell you to start by having a problem in mind and then find the person to solve it. 

However, when it comes to internships, most of the people you talk to will not have extensive experience or knowledge. It is best to look for two things talent and attitude. The rest you can teach them or even better they will learn themselves. Hire fast and let them have some control of the scope of their work.

Define the scope.

When starting a program, make sure you keep the project somewhat vague. Once you have great talent, engage them in identifying the work that will benefit the organization. How do you do this?

Tell them your desired outcome, for instance, if you would like them to take on your marketing. Then simply say that you would like to see a 10% increase in inbound leads. Then they can figure out how to achieve this goal, and you can coach them to this desired goal. 

Find the right partner.

Go to your local high school, junior college, college, technical school, or university and offer an internship for the semester by connecting with the student affairs office and at least one professor in a field similar to your business. Set up a meeting and discuss the possibilities.

For example, every business needs additional administrative help, so offer an internship to a student majoring in business administration. The schools LOVE it when a company provides internships since they act as a value-add to their educational offerings by providing their students with real-world experience. Make sure you negotiate that the school will give the student credit. On the flip side, if you find the right student, they can do all of this for you.

Prepare to mentor, be patient. 

Have a plan to mentor and develop the missing skills of your interns. Once you have created the space for them to successfully make sure you provide them access to the coaching/skill development to achieve your desired outcome. 

I strongly suggest taking a scientific approach to coaching. What I mean is be prepared for your interns to fail. Use their failure as a chance to improve your process. Remember, an internship is a low risk and high potential reward. The only way to get those results is to create a process around failure. 

Measure Your Results.

The final tip is to make sure you measure your results. I strongly suggest committing to running your internship at least three times before you scrap it. Each time you run, make sure you measure it against the previous results and against what your business was like before having the program. Make adjustments and improvements with each iteration.

Here are few categories to consider when evaluating your program:

  • Revenue/profit
  • Where you spend your time
  • Problem solved vs. created
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Intern satisfaction 
  • Your happiness

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and feel free to share your top internship tips. For additional business improvement strategies, get your free copy of my book here

I am actively seeking business case studies for my next book; if you would like to be featured, please email me at doogie@ideasactionsuccess.com to set up a time chat.