There is a marketing trend, fueled by social media, of businesses trying to appeal to the masses by doing something special for customers. Called “ surprised and delighted ” in the social media community, these initiatives often involve finding customers via Twitter or Facebook and then tailoring activities to create a “Magic Moment” for a customer. in that single case.
These touching stories can create momentary spikes in brand buzz, especially on social media, where sharing bitterness (even if you’re not involved in the story) ) seems to be a usage condition. They are also a must-have in every book, speech, one-act play, poem, and puppet show even directly related to customer experience , as role models for how to treat your customers. Except this one. Why? For one simple reason: Any difference in circumstances is a gimmick, not a word of mouth strategy .
That’s not wrong, but it’s certainly not strategic.
Surprise and fun is a lottery ticket, not a word of mouth strategy. It’s a stunt and the stunts don’t look like a reliable, repeatable scheme.
For everyone Joshie the Giraffe spread on the internet like a fruit pie given back, how many other attempts to surprise and delight have failed? So many.
And even for “viral” ads, the long-term brand impact of these efforts is minimal. While it may generate some temporary goodwill for the brand, it quickly dries up. While the story is cute, it’s not personally relevant: It didn’t happen to us, and we know it won’t happen to us when we get to the Ritz-Carlton.
The problem with surprise and delight is that it is a surprise. It happens once, to one person, in a scenario. It’s not an active option that generates conversation day in and day out. Instead, one or more team members do something special because they feel like it. A stuffed giraffe is a random act of kindness.
A better approach — and a more strategic one — is to create a Chat Trigger for your business. Talk Trigger is a strategic choice, an activity that requires word of mouth. It’s a purposefully delivered differentiator that sparks customer conversation every day.
Consider Hilton’s DoubleTree Hotel. They give a warm chocolate chip cookie upon check-in to each hotel guest for 30 years. Currently, they bake and give away 75,000 cookies a day. Will this cookie ritual generate word of mouth? Does it turn their customers into volunteer marketers? Does it build their brand? YES.
In fact, we recently spoke with 1,000 DoubleTree Customers and found that 34% of them — without being prompted — mentioned cookies to someone else in the 60-day prior. That means 25,000+ customers EVERY DAY talking about cookies at DoubleTree. That’s just one of the reasons you don’t see a lot of DoubleTree ads: the cookies and the conversations it generates IS a marketing strategy.
Talk Trigger is not a stunt, but a conversation strategy. It’s word of mouth on purpose, rather than by accident. And all Chat Triggers should be made available to every client, every time.
The impact of a much more widely available differentiation tool in total is a “miracle moment” and a one-time surprise, because we can all achieve it. We can experience it ourselves. It’s a story where we (or someone we know) is a protagonist.
As Jake Sorofman , formerly a vice president at Gartner, said: “The n game of customer experience. . . Consistency will always prevail. ”
We believe that not only does consistency outweigh enjoyment, but inconsistency creates contempt among your customers (or at least has the potential to do so). Nowhere is this more acute than the airline’s boarding process. Airlines in the United States continue to add new “zones” to load passengers onto planes that cover incredible distances. Perhaps made to give frequent flyers comfort and solace, having too many boarding groups (American Airlines currently has nine per flight) can’t be a great experience for everyone. passengers boarded the plane last, followed only by baby strollers, ice packs and flotsam and jetsam varieties.
Is the boarding process the talking engine? Quite possibly, if you’re in group nine, and it’s not a funny story to be told. Robbin Phillips and her co-authors describe the importance of consistency in Conversations about passion as they write: “The goal of any business is to make word of mouth marketing invisible. That is, that should be how a business operates not just one day, but every day. ”
To be a trigger, and work for your business every day and not just for a day, the difference has to be repeated. It is not for randomly selected customers. Or your best customers. It is for all customers.
(An excerpt from my new book, written with Daniel Lemin . It is called Chat Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Word . Super special pre-order deals available now (for a few days) including free books AND free chocolate chip cookies. Access TalkTriggers.com to see the special packages I made for you).