Earlier this week one of my favorite blogs at wordofmouth.org offered a great article on building word of mouth marketing with solid customer service. The article stems from a talk at a recent word of mouth conference. The speaker offered five essential steps to use your customer service to create positive word of mouth conversations about your business.
- Know you purpose. Understanding your purpose gives you a goal when you interact in a customer service capacity. When the customer service person understands the core purpose of the business, the conversation becomes an opportunity to instill the fundamentals your business believes in.
- Set ground rules. Set boundaries and structure for your customers. It is ok to let your customers know what is and isn’t acceptable. Check out Flickr.com’s example the “Don’t be creepy” guideline.
- Set clear expectations. Build trust and respect by maintaining consistency in your responses. Your policies may change over time and when they do communicate this openly and clearly. Involve your customers in the process whenever possible. You will not only deliver great customer service but also build a community around your business.
- Cast a wide conversational net. Conversations should not limit customer service reps and should not be confined to emails or phone calls. He recommends pulling online conversations throughout your website and inviting your subject matter experts to get involved. Whole Foods uses customer forms online to allow customers to see how senior leadership get involved in questions asked by customers. You might take questions from your location and post the answers in a newsletter or social media forum.
- Make it personal. Use a real person with a real name, and picture as that builds credibility. We all prefer talking to a person as opposed to a faceless business.
The full 30-minute talk about inspiring word of mouth with customer service available here.