Businesses need to make their customer experience as memorable as possible if they are to reap the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing.

With companies of all sizes looking to get the best return for their advertising spend, many are keen to let their customers promote their brand on their behalf, particularly since a number of recent studies have suggested that word-of-mouth recommendations are usually more effective than expensive marketing campaigns.

One key way of tapping into this potential, experts advise, is to ensure customers enjoy the best possible experience.

Indeed, a study carried out by Mediallia found that customers who have the best experiences tend to spend up to 140 per cent more than those who had to endure poor experiences.

Moreover, those customers who feel they are treated well tend to stick with a company for nearly six times as long as those who feel they are treated poorly.

Notably, the power of word-of-mouth recommendations is only expected to become greater over the months and years ahead as consumers become increasingly willing to share their thoughts on both businesses and public organisations through social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.

As Mediallia research scientist Peter Kriss notes in the Guardian: “With this rise poised to continue, the return on investments that improve customer experience will likely continue to increase relative to the return on traditional marketing expenditures.”

The good news for businesses with limited means is that getting customers to promote a brand is relatively straightforward and, just as importantly, cost-effective.

Above all, taking the time to listen to customer feedback and then acting on it accordingly can be more beneficial than spending big money on a lavish marketing initiative.

Similarly, giving individual staff members the initiative and the power to respond directly to feedback rather than leaving this to a central PR department not only means that any potential problems are nipped in the bud, it can also mean that customers feel a brand is more transparent and personable, both attractive qualities in an increasingly cynical world.

People power: turning customer experience into a marketing tool, The Guardian

Posted by Robin McCrink