Word of Mouth Marketing? Go for WOW!

Don’t Settle for Customer Satisfaction, Strive to WOW Your Customers!

WOW - Word of Mouth Marketing

I recently read an article from Forbes on Word of Mouth Marketing, and it is a pretty good article with some worthwhile takeaways.  I completely agree with the overall theme of the article – the concept of continuing to earn your customers’ loyalty to your product/service. However, I think the article falls short when it talks about how to “Surprise and Delight” customers.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Surprise and Delight

Little things can go a long way in encouraging customers to leave a review. That could be anything from providing top-quality service to settling a customer service complaint in an above-and-beyond manner. There are several things you can do to surprise and delight your customers, including offering freebies and sending a thank-you note. Both provide photo opportunities that stand out on newsfeeds when your customers receive them. While there’s no guarantee you’ll get a referral off this type of behavior, if you routinely go the extra mile for your customers, you’ll find you get more word-of-mouth recommendations than if you didn’t.

So based on the article the recommended recipe to “surprise and delight” customers is to offer:

  • Top quality service (this is a surprise???)
  • “Freebies” (YES – if done right)
  • A thank you note  (good practice. . . but should be common – not a surprise)

I certainly agree with the idea of “surprising and delighting” customers as a catalyst to word of mouth marketing.  I think as marketers we can do more than the ideas listed in the Forbes article.  Keep in mind that whatever you choose to do should not be overtly self-serving.  Offering 10% on the customers next order does not constitute a WOW.  To qualify as a WOW your activity should be:

  1. Customer-focused and not directly associated with a hook to drive more business from them (immediately).  This comes across as self-serving and will not be perceived as a WOW.
  2. Unusual – something that elicits a real genuine surprise from the customer. If your competition is already doing something similar – you should come up with something else.

Here are a couple of examples that would likely WOW customers:

  • If you ran a restaurant that provides a valet service, occasionally have a loyal customer’s car detailed while they enjoy their meal.  No question this will be a surprise and most certainly delight your valued patron.  They will think – WOW!  Extra credit if you place a handwritten thank you note on the front seat thanking them for their business.
  • If you provide professional services (legal, financial, etc.) and a client has a baby, consider something extraordinary to commemorate the blessed event.  Professional courtesy would be to offer assistance in the establishment of a formal 529 plan for the child.  You could earn a WOW by providing an initial deposit in the account – maybe a share of Apple stock or shares of a growth fund.  Do you think that they will remember you for this?  Do you think they will tell their friends about you?

You can enhance your word of mouth marketing significantly – but you have to break convention.  To transform customers into advocates, a great method is to “go for the WOW”.