When you’re merely meeting expectations, you’ll never rock the reviews. You need to start at “good” and aim for “mind-blowing.” The good news is data from Yelp shows it's easier than you think.
Today's customers are a little entitled. And it's not just the younger generation. Companies are using data to personalize their offerings and the customer experience to the point of appearing to be mind readers. This sets a precedent and expectation of something way beyond good customer service.
You can't expect your business to be successful in word of mouth marketing by providing a good experience. That's the bare minimum of what you should be doing. Start at good and accelerate to amazing.
If you don't have a Fortune 500 budget, you want to concentrate on the experience that builds around feeling known and valued.
An Amazing Experience Needn't Be Costly
Have you ever spent quality time with someone that cost absolutely nothing? Perhaps you stayed in and watched a movie with a loved one. Maybe you took the time to reconnect with an old friend over the phone. Whatever the example you have in mind right now you know that to have a memorable experience with someone doesn't necessarily require money.
The same is true in business. You can surprise and delight your customers without the budget of a Fortune 500 company. You can do this in several ways by:
Think back to that example of quality time from a moment ago. What did that person do that made you feel valued in that moment? What was so special about the situation? It wasn't an exchange of money. It wasn't sleek and shiny advertising. It was something real.
But to give you that “something real” that person likely had to know you pretty well.
That's the challenge here. If you want your business to get talked about on social media, to get more referrals, and more five-star reviews, you need to make people feel like you know what they need, you care about what they need, and you deliver on what that is.
Good Is the New Adequate
Good is a starting point. Good is your baseline. If your customer service isn't yet at “good” get it there first. Do the necessary things to ensure your staff is providing good customer service and meeting expectations. You can't do anything until you get there
But you can't stop there once you attain it.
There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of three-star reviews with adequate customer service but you don't want three-star reviews. You want someone to help you carry the marketing load by singing your praises on social media and review sites. That type of feeling doesn't spring from good. That comes from extraordinary.
6 Ways You're Stuck in Ordinary
Before we get into ideas on how you can surprise and delight customers and potential customers, it's important to address what may be keeping you from those five-star ratings.
Wow Your Customers
Marketing expert and author Jay Baer refers to the “minimum viable delivery.” This is what people expect from your business. If you own a restaurant, for instance, the minimum viable delivery is good food, good service, and (most likely) expedient delivery. These things do not equate to an awesome review of you perform them. You need to move beyond this if you want to improve your word of mouth marketing.
Yelp, the business review site, took a look at its data recently and analyzed several thousand reviews to find the key to five-star reviews. It found:
Look for ways to do something extraordinary. anticipate needs and rewarding loyalty are great examples of this. For example, Lulu's, an online women's clothing retailer, offers a discount for joining their email subscriber list. This is pretty standard. It’s unlikely that alone would warrant a favorable review.
What is unexpected is that with every order they provide their customers with an additional 15% off their next order. This is not random, or a discount given for a mistake. This is every time. They are cultivating loyalty.
Some businesses include handwritten thank-you cards in all of their deliveries. Others print off an inspirational quote or fortune. Look for ways to surprise your customers and build loyalty because good is no longer enough. Good should be your starting point, your neutral. What you need for a loyal following and awesome reviews is not good but extraordinary. You can create those experiences by looking for ways to surprise your customers.
About the Yuba-Sutter Chamber
The Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce is the Region’s premier business organization; We exist to be the CATALYST for business growth, the CONVENER of leaders and influencers who make things happen, and the CHAMPION for a stronger community. Visit yubasutterchamber.com.
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