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Why generating positive word of mouth is more important than ever

Why generating positive word of mouth is more important than ever

“Word of mouth” may seem like a quaint or even passé idea in this era of digital technology, but it remains a powerful force in the competitive landscape, and one that’s worthy of attention from every manager, director and c-suite exec. Plus, new Brick Meets Click research shows that it explains a lot about why some online shopping options grow faster than others.

Better than just advertising

Word of mouth is extremely important when consumers are in flux and changing the way they shop, especially for online grocery. When they become aware of a new service or retailer, how do they learn more about it?

• The power of advertising and even promotions is limited. We’ve seen that even some of the big discounts offered on the first online grocery order don’t resonate with many consumers.
• The reality? Most consumers will likely find out about new services or retailers by word of mouth from friends, family or associates — in person or via social media. Or they’ll read blogs, reviews and comments online. Positive word of mouth is how Trader Joe’s has parlayed its business into steady growth.

The power of positive

A recent Brick Meets Click shopper survey revealed that consumers are actually more likely to share positive experiences than negative experiences. We asked 1,000 grocery shoppers about their experience shopping online, and then we asked only those who had extremely positive or negative experiences how likely they were to share those experiences with others.

Conventional wisdom says people are more likely to talk about negatives, but we found the opposite was true for online grocery services: 95% of shoppers with a positive experience were very likely to share that experience, while only 60% said they were very likely to share a negative experience.

I would offer that retailers who continue to add new online grocery customers can probably trace a lot of that growth back to positive word of mouth from current customers.

Employee engagement — a win/win

So how do you generate more positives? Deliver an experience that goes beyond what’s expected to one that’s pretty darn easy, helpful and relevant, and customers will feel valued. These great experiences, however, don’t happen because of good supervision, they depend on what store-level employees do in the moment, and to be effective in that moment, these employees need to be truly engaged and feel connected with the business.

Studies continually provide evidence that engaged employees produce higher levels of customer loyalty, customer-perceived service climate, and customer satisfaction — but it isn’t always evident how to translate those concepts into a company’s culture or management practices. Norman Mayne, CEO of Dorothy Lane Market, sums it up well when he says to treat employees the way you want them to treat your customers.

To see what employee engagement looks like in action, check out Coca-Cola Retail Research Council’s new resource called Power Up Your People. It includes a video series that features real managers and real success stories. Plus, you’ll find additional resources on best practices and ways to translate employee engagement into competitive advantage.

Here’s to tapping into the power of word of mouth by better engaging the employees who deliver the good shopping experiences that customers will likely share with friends and family. It will help every aspect of your business performance from in-store to online and everything in between.

How do you encourage customers to talk about your business?

TAGS: Marketing
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