Why Positive Word-of-Mouth is Insanely Powerful

by Jeannie Walters

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Positive Word-of-Mouth

What do you think when someone tells you about something that’s “gone viral?” Do you think it’s a funny video? A cringe-worthy comment? A parody of the latest topic in the zeitgeist?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of customer experience as a recipe for going viral. Cat videos? Absolutely. Great customer service? Not so much.

That’s why I find some of the latest data on what drives negative and positive word-of-mouth publicity so compelling for customer experience leaders like you.

It’s our role within the organization to offer exceptional, word-of-mouth (WOM) experiences for our customers. And whether we deliver an amazing experience or an awful one, there is equal opportunity to go viral.

We humans are emotional, irrational and often irate!

Misery loves company, and it’s become common to lean on the idea customers will share negative experiences more often and to a wider audience than positive experiences.

But here is the issue with statistics – they get old quickly, and once they are quoted they are hard to ignore. Have you seen this one yet?

News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.
Source: the White House Office of Consumer Affairs via Help Scout 

How about this one?

A dissatisfied customer will tell 9-15 people about it. And approximately 13% of your dissatisfied customers will tell more than 20 people about their problem.
Source: the White House Office of Consumer Affairs via CSM

Wow! Those are compelling!

But as I searched for the original quotes, I was stumped. There doesn’t seem to be a site for the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. The quotes surely came from somewhere, but from how long ago?

I believe we are in an age when customers are willing to share experiences both good and bad, and after digging a little bit, I found some compelling data to back this up.

New research from Ipsos Loyalty reveals we are more likely to share positive experiences than negative ones.

Positive Word-of-Mouth

Overall, [results show] that 52% of consumers who had a bad experience told their friends, family, or colleagues about it. Yet surprisingly, more consumers (56%) indicate to have shared a good experience with others.

Why am I so excited about this trend?

Many organizations spend lots of time just trying to avoid and react to negative WOM. But this new data shows us that by treating customers well, we gain bigger benefits and rewards. Think of what this means! If your customers love the experience you provide so much, they share about it on their social media feeds, plus tell everyone they know. Then you are likely to gain referred customers.

Referred customers mean more to your company!

According to data from Extole, referred customers mean a lot more.

  • Referred customers are more loyal and less likely to leave you.
  • Referred customers spend more throughout their relationship with you.
  • AND referred customers refer more new customers themselves.

So…what are you waiting for?

A better customer experience is not only good for your word-of-mouth marketing, it’s good for attracting the very best customers to your brand.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll be a viral sensation. But it might help to make a cat video. Cats will always be viral.


By the way, did you know…

Positive Word-of-Mouth

80% of today’s marketing reach comes from amplification through brand advocates.

You’ve been working hard to create a great customer experience that deserves more attention. But if you’ve been waiting for your best customers to refer the people who trust and admire them, the next move is actually yours.

New keynote for 2016:

Activate your Advocates for Game-Changing Word-of Mouth

Our Customer Experience Investigators™ have discovered what triggers powerful WOM in many industries to create this address for leaders who are ready to turn loyal customers into brand advocates. Our team is standing by to customize this address for your industry and audience. (It’s never the same presentation twice!)

Your advocates are standing by to do 80% of your marketing, but you must activate them.

This keynote with Jeannie Walters CCXP will help you find their “on” switch.

Other popular presentations:

  • CXI® Digital Experience
  • Microinteractions Lead to Major Engagement
  • Become Your Company’s Customer Experience Investigator®
  • More…


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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators™ by 360Connext, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.

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