That all depends. Most businesses that have been around for years and have top notch customer service, takes care of customer problems when they occur, and places the customer first, probably has an A+ rating with the public. Whereas the business that does not listen and respond to customer complaints, thumbs their nose at the public, and generally takes the customer's money and runs, is likely to be found online in the online forums and blogs being trashed and generally not well spoken of. Both of these businesses are the recipients of word of mouth marketing and advertising.
In an article by Chuck McKay, author of Fishing For Customers, Chuck enlightens the reader into some interesting perspectives on this issue.
Control Over Word-Of-Mouth
Nearly every business person you talk to will tell you that word-of-mouth is his, or her, best advertising. Then someone, (usually a media rep), will point out that word-of-mouth is also the worst form of advertising, because you have absolutely no control over it.
I disagree. You have total control.
The Internet has been a great tool for business to use. But, what many businesses have failed to realize is what the Internet has done for the public. The public has been impowered by the Internet. No, I am not referring to the speed at which a person can search online for the local movie listings and times, or look up or place car ads for free on craigslist.org. What I am refering to is the power for the consumer to make a difference using the Internet as their own private marketing tool. It is simple today for any consumer that has a grudge against a company, to start a free blog to tell their story of what is going on. If a consumer has gotten to the point where they feel a story needs to be told, then a company may have lost more than one customer. This company has built, through their lack of good customer service, an everlasting record by this one customer's article, that can now be found in the search engines for a very long time. And guess what? Other consumers will likely read that same article online and go someplace else.
Every business needs to heed this advice. It is much better to approach the customer with the respect they deserve, then to ignore the problems when they occur. Every business will have problems at one time or another. How they deal with customer issues, both the good and bad will be a sign of what kind of company they are. Therefor, it is wise for businesses today to share both the good and the bad in a controlled environment where logical communications can take place.
Chuck states in his article, "So, if you want shoppers to start trusting you; if you want customers to keep trusting you, you need to tell it all, brother. Tell it all. The good, the bad, and what you’ll be doing next."
So, it really comes down to trust. And, I assure you, the consumer will attempt to verify before they trust you.
Above All, Tell It Like It Is, And Do It With Style!
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