According to marketing guru and founder of Convince and Convert, Jay Baer; customer experience expert and author of Iconic, Scott McKain; and Podium VP of Strategic Customer Success, Chris Nielson, the answer is simple—word-of-mouth marketing.
This strategy does not rely on spikes of attention from going viral. It’s not necessarily doing something outrageous. It’s “do[ing] something noteworthy in your organization, all the time, for every customer.”
From the “Turn Customers Into Marketers” episode of the Press Send Webinar Series, here are the 5 categories of distinction your business can use to stand out, delight customers, and grow.
28% of customers say price is less important than before the pandemic—meaning that customers prioritize other factors of a business. Customers care about the type of experience a business can offer. And not just for the VIPs. Do more than what customers expect.
Example: For Skip’s Kitchen in Sacramento, California, the generosity factor includes the chance for every customer, every day, every transaction to eat for free if they happen to choose the Joker from a deck of cards at the register. For a running company, a hand-written thank you card to a customer might add a touch of appreciated generosity.
Speed and Convenience
86% of customers expect business to be even more convenient after COVID restrictions lift. Almost half of all consumers say they’re more interested in messaging with a business than they were pre-pandemic. Texting and webchat beats an in-person visit to the store, an email, or a phone call almost every time. Why? Because it’s faster, it’s more convenient, and it’s what customers prefer.
Example: Hunter Douglas, a window covering company, is using texting and video chat to answer questions and provide virtual demos for several customers at once during COVID restrictions. This instant connection beats the two days of radio silence that normally occurs when a customer reaches out to a business via email.
Education and Usefulness
Whatever your service or product, your job is to improve the lives of your customers and prospects. Make their lives easier by reducing hassles and points of friction.
Example: Enterprise car rentals became the biggest in the industry by reducing a point of friction—bringing the car to the customer instead of making the customer pick it up. Lydian Dental of Austin, Texas, modified this idea with mobile dentistry, meeting customers in the physical location that is best for them. Other healthcare systems have implemented messaging solutions to educate patients or to create virtual waiting rooms before coming into the office.
For attitude to unlock word-of-mouth marketing, it has to be 1) true to your brand and 2) pervasive through the entire organization.
Example: The Philadelphia Flyers NHL Team is famously aggressive on the ice. Before COVID restrictions, there was a “rage room” in the stadium, where fans could go to safely smash familiar household items and take out their frustrations of the game. Wendy’s restaurant is also known for having a spicy attitude on Twitter.
Empathy and Service
The number one thing customers are looking for in a business isn’t actually related to the price, but to the customer service, or friendliness. If you can go above and beyond in caring for and serving your customers, you’re in good shape to grow. Contactless payment is one way to achieve this positive customer engagement. 77% of consumers want businesses to continue offering contactless payments after the pandemic. Companies using Podium payments have seen a 300% improvement in conversion over traditional collection methods.
Example: Chewy.com is one of many places to purchase pet food. What makes it stand out as a subscription service, however, is its customer care. When a customer canceled a subscription because her dog had died, Chewy.com refunded the cost of the last shipment, asking the customer to donate the food to a shelter, and sent her a bouquet of flowers in sympathy for the loss of her pet.
When you focus on delivering truly excellent experiences for your customers, they’re more likely to turn into volunteer marketers. Customers tend to talk about experiences they have at businesses incorporating at least one of these five categories. “And Podium,” Jay Baer says, “is frankly the best way to make this happen.”
Customers are counting on the convenience of digital touchpoints like messaging solutions, reviews, and mobile payments to stay long after the virus has passed. So now is the perfect time to evaluate your customer journey and choose the right tools to succeed.
To learn more about this process and hear additional success stories, watch the full webinar here.