If you’re in the business of creating fans, not just customers, then you’ll get your share of positive word-of-mouth. That share, though, may not be as much as you would like considering the time and money you’ve spent building your reputation.
As we all know, if someone is frustrated and angry with a company, they’re much more likely to tell their friends (and even total strangers) than someone who’s blissfully happy. That’s our nature. We often focus on the negative, and don’t always pass on positive stories about the companies and products we really like. Sure, we want to say nice things about those companies that consistently provide us great products and services. We’re just busy. If we’re happy with a company, we have other things on our mind that are more pressing (including those companies we’re unhappy with). But, there are some things you can do to give your happy customers a reason to brag about you.
Run a Contest
You can run a contest, and provide customers an incentive to say why they like you. For example, today we launched a video contest for our customers called “I Love TruVizion.” TruVizion is our cloud-based application for cable modem and CMTS diagnostics. We know we have fans out there. To provide additional motivation for customers to tell us and others their story, we’re giving away a trip for two to the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, which is here in our home base of Atlanta this year. We’re asking our TruVizion customers to create a video showing and/or telling why they love TruVizion. We’ve even produced few sample videos like the one below to help generate some fun and creative ideas.
We all see in our Facebook feeds when this or that person “likes” this or that company. While it may appear as just another “like’ so someone can get free stuff, we know intrinsically that someone will not click that “like” button if they don’t like the company. Having a Facebook page and then finding creative ways to get folks to like it is a great way to promote your brand and stay in touch with customers. It’s also important to monitor social networks like Twitter to see what customers are saying about you. If you’re good at what you do, positive comments will come up and you can share those with others.
Another way to leverage your good reputation into additional sales is by rewarding customers when they send you referrals. I wrote about customer referral programs in a post a while back. It’s inexpensive, easy to promote, and a great way to motivate happy customers to brag about you to their friends and family.
You may be thinking at this point that running a contest or a referral program seems like you’re paying someone to say nice things about you. That’s because it is. But, only those people who really want to say something nice are going to participate. We all have our reputation to think about, and are not going to recommend something we don’t believe in (unless we’re an infomercial actor who’ll say anything). Remember, people who are angry are plenty motivated. On the other hand, even if someone loves your company, it’s not usually at the top of their mind to tell others. You’re just giving them a reason to think about it and providing some motivation to take action.
Do the Unexpected
Of course, the key component in getting people to brag about you is to create fans, not just happy customers. Sometimes that means doing the unexpected. If you do what’s expected, the most you’ll do is make someone happy. If you surprise them and take it to the next level, you’ll make a fan. Whether it’s that “certain extra something” you add to your product or service, or going the extra mile to help a customer in need, those are the types of things that make a fan, and fans are the most likely folks to sing your praises.
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