What is “Word of mouth” reach to Customer

“Word of mouth is 10 times more effective than traditional ad,”

A major influence on consumer’s mind is word-of-mouth recommendation, as it cuts across the overwhelming marketing noise quickly and effectively. Word of mouth is behind 20 to 50 % of all purchase decisions and has peak influence when consumers purchases a product for the first time or when products are relatively expensive and where people conduct more research, seek more opinions, and deliberate longer than usual.

Digital world has accelerated its reach from intimate, one-on-one communication to a one-to-many basis. People post their product reviews online and opinions spread through social networks. Some customers even create Web sites or blogs to praise or punish brands. While marketers recognize WOM importance, it is not easy to measure and manage the same.

With advent of social networks, marketers craft a coordinated, consistent response to reaches the right people with the right content in the right setting. With more information available online, consumer feels overloaded with mass marketing emails and become skeptical about them. Their decisions become independent of what companies tell them about products.

This also creates challenges to customer. The product/service marketed extensively or marketed with low price is known to many people and gets more consumed irrespective of its quality. Good products developed with low budgets are less known and hence less consumed. For some good low-budget movies, consumers used word of mouth publicity to lead to more crowd to the theater. Social media can take air from their Tyre and social media can add extra stepney to the good but lesser known products.

How word of mouth reaches customer?  Reach to customer in one of the below approaches

  • Customer Experienced WOM result from a consumer’s direct experience with a product/service and experience deviates from what’s expected. Negative experience affect brand sentiment, positive generates a tailwind for a product or service.
  • Consequential WOM is result of marketing activities performed by marketers. They are driven by messages delivered via marketing campaigns. These messages have stronger impact on consumers than advertisements.
  • Influenced WOM is influence created through celebrity endorsements to trigger  positive buzz. Marketers find them difficult to measure their impact and are unsure when to call campaign execution successful.

Consumers rarely complain or praise a company when they receive what they expect.
Customer Experienced word of mouth accounts for 50 to 80 percent. The word-of-mouth recommendation or dissuasion to change behavior is reflected by what is said, who says it, and where it is said and what is the product category.How to measure word of mouth? 

  • What’s said primarily drives word-of-mouth reach. The content of a message must address product or service features that qualifies to influence consumer decisions. While battery life is a crucial thing for mobile-handset consumers, they talk about it less than design and usability.
  • The receiver trusts the message based on who is the sender and the belief whether sender really knows the product or service in question. Be-aware of digital influential bloggers with disproportionate power.
  • Messages from tight, trusted networks has less reach but greater impact than those circulated through dispersed communities. A person close-knit network of trusted friends has the real influence on him than the people connected casually with him
  • What is trigger for the WOM message? It is from customer own experience or something he heard on the way from others.

The creation of consequential WOM is influenced by interactivity and creativity. They are more important in relatively low-innovation categories that struggle to gain consumer attention.

Intention matters less to actual actions in customer service. The strength of customer service gets decided by its weakest link. In offering a well designed customer experience, one weak link can spoil the entire experience. Design end to end customer experience to cover all the customer touch points till the end.

Do all mgmt intentions transform in to superior customer experience? Challenge lies here. When will your customers become you sales and marketing crew?