5 questions to ask customers when creating a word of mouth strategy (and how to ask them)

questions ask customers word of mouth

questions ask customers word of mouth

Every brand has a story to tell. But not all businesses know how to inspire customers to tell their stories.

Despite the inherent difficulties, word of mouth marketing is a kind of machine that works on its own should be the goal of every company as it grows. Instead of relying too heavily on traditional advertising, turn to your best and least expensive marketing asset: your customers. How do you do this? By creating chat trigger – the essential elements of your brand experience that customers cannot help but share with others. When done right, you can turn your customers into an army of volunteer marketers.

Instead of overspending on traditional advertising, turn to your best and least expensive marketing asset: your customers. #TalkTriggers Click to Tweet

Not all word of mouth are created equal, though. Obviously you should avoid giving your clients murky gossip, but it might not be clearer how to create positive agents that will stand the test of time – or even better, dimensions. Chat activity can adapt to changing times.

Timeless like a compass

In the midst of ever-changing market dynamics, any brand differentiator is always moments that are no longer relevant. Like the products or services you offer, your conversation triggers require continuous improvement, optimization, refinement, and user feedback. Without adjustment, even the best ideas can become stale.

You are not convinced? Consider the history of today’s popular Google Maps. When Google Maps first appreciated our browsers, its obvious superiority over MapQuest generated a lot of attention. But that premium design quickly became popular. Not long after, Google took things a step further by adding real-time traffic. Once again, it became a topic of discussion online. When that conversation subsided, Google added the street view image. Prime, rinse, repeat. Today, Google Maps is more popular than a compass.

However, many brands don’t notice – or choose to ignore – when their buzz begins to fade. The hype can wane for a variety of reasons, whether it’s due to imitation by competitors, customers becoming more accustomed to what once felt new, or changing social norms. Whatever the reason, the end result is the same: The buzz about your brand dries up as other companies spark new conversations.

Ask the right questions

Creating your talk trigger is not something you include in your business plan and apply for a rainy day. It should be an ongoing marketing project for your business. So how do you continuously generate these ideas?

creating talk triggers

First, you have to ask the right questions. When you ask yourself the following questions, consider them from the customer’s point of view. How do you think they will respond?

  • When purchasing or using this product/service, I…
  • What I did not expect from this product is…
  • What I’m talking about in my life right now is…
  • What I think I want is…
  • What I really want is…

These prompts will uncover a lot of valuable answers, but they are by no means exhaustive. Add your own to the list to paint a more comprehensive picture. Ultimately, however, this exercise is meaningless unless you’re looking for answers from actual customers. Once you have a list of pressing questions, use these four key feedback channels to gain insights to ensure your talk starters last through time:

  1. Search through surveys. While they may not be the most exciting way to engage your customers, survey is a useful way to collect data about their desires, opinions, behaviors and more. Considering that preferences can change over several months, this tool is especially useful for charting customer expectations over time. Have we been quick to expect a USB port in our car while forgetting the once-standard cigarette lighter? Surveys are a great way to see how new market trends are changing what your customers want before those preferences become obsolete.
  2. Use social media. Nothing can replace face-to-face stories, but it’s hard to deny the role social media now play in consumer conversation. As Interaction Labs Research has shown, roughly 50 percent of these conversations now take place online. While social media dialog often represents only a small subset of your customers, you can’t ignore what that group is telling you. Track conversations over time to get a better idea of ​​exactly what’s going on with your customers. Pay attention to what’s affecting them, what’s popular, and how willing they are to engage with brands that matter to them.
  3. Talk to your customers. Literally. Actual conversations with your customers, whether over the phone or in person, are irreplaceable. There is no better way to maintain a close connection and many successful companies recognize the importance of constant dialogue. Follow that lead and prioritize those conversations. Bring some key questions with you, and you’ll gather valuable data to share with your team.
  4. Get into their shoes. When was the last time you actually tried your product? Better yet, when was the last time you tried a competitor’s product? It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Extended talk triggers are not created in boardrooms or labs. They are built on the ground floor, where customers actually experience your brand. Only by regularly entering that space can you maintain a keen eye and keen awareness of any gaps in your user experience. Consider inviting others with different points of view as you experience your brand first-hand. For instance, you might be surprised at the insight you can gather from seeing things through a child’s eyes. The change in opinion is priceless.

Timeless talking triggers often become synonymous with the companies that created them. Huge menus, freshly baked cookies or stellar customer service – countless customers associate these distinctions with The Cheesecake Factory, DoubleTree by Hilton and The Ritz-Carlton, respectively. These brands have been around for decades because people just can’t stop whining about them. They persevered because their stories were shared time and time again. What stories will your customers share in the years to come?

This content is inspired by research and case studies contained in “ Chat Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers With Word of Word ,” new book by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin.

By Nguyen Manh Cuong

Nguyen Manh Cuong is the author and founder of the nguyendiep blog. With over 14 years of experience in Online Marketing, he now runs a number of successful websites, and occasionally shares his experience & knowledge on this blog.

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