If you’re in the small business world, “strategy” is a word you hear all the time. Your business has a marketing strategy. A sales strategy. A brand strategy. Don’t forget about its PR strategy. If the company is digitally savvy, perhaps a social media strategy. A blogging and editorial calendar strategy. And a web and content strategy. Strategy. Strategy. Strategy. But did you know that word of mouth marketing is strictly responsible for 19% of all purchases? And influences as much as 90%? You would think that with such a high percentage, most companies would have a word of mouth strategy in place. Yet almost nobody has an actual plan to generate word of mouth leads.
The Customer Experience
It’s projected that by the year 2020, a majority of customer decisions will be based on one factor. No, it’s not price. Nor is it’s availability. But rather, customer decisions are going to be made based off of the customer experience. Often times, we tend to overcomplicate the concept of customer experience. But if we strip it down, it always comes back to one thing. How we make our customers feel. And those feelings are driven entirely by expectation. and when our customer’s expectations are not met, they share their sub-par experience with social networks and their friends and family and instead of being rave fans they are spreading the word about how bad your service is.
Expectations – You Can Meet Them, or Exceed Them
When you simply meet a customer’s expectation, not much is going to happen as a result. Why is that? Because plain and simple, you are expected to do your job. When you turn on your T.V. and have paid your cable bill, you expect to be able to watch your favorite show. And when you need to restock your fridge with produce, meats, and dairy, you expect to be able to find the majority of your needs at your local grocery store.
Many of you may be thinking, “Since when is being competent a bad thing?”. And you aren’t wrong for thinking that! We should all want to be competent in our work. But unfortunately, simply being competent is not going to grow your business the way you would like. We as consumers tend to ignore the average. But we do discuss the “different”.
When you begin to exceed your customers’ expectation, it compels conversation. Exceeding expectation means you’re truly thinking about your customers’ experience. You’re stepping into their shoes and figuring out their needs and wants. And you take it a step even further. By giving them the icing on their cake per se, your customers are going to talk. And when your customers talk, they recruit even more customers for you. For free. They become word of mouth advertising and act as drivers of your sales cycle. Imagine what would happen if your existing customers all were wom marketing aids for your product or service.
Talking triggers are the experiences customers have that get them excited to talk about your business. They are strategic, operational differences that create word of mouth opportunities. By implementing talking triggers, you are actually engineering a positive and even remarkable customer experience. And when a customer has these incredible experiences, they are going to want to tell people about it. That’s free marketing for your company! Who wouldn’t want that?!
Talking Trigger Example: The DoubleTree by Hilton
Probably the best known talking trigger is from the DoubleTree by Hilton. If you’ve ever stayed in a DoubleTree Hotel, you’ve most likely taken one of their warm, gooey, chocolate cookies from the front desk. DoubleTree hotels give that same experience away roughly 75,000 times a day. And it gets people talking about it. Roughly one-third of the DoubleTree’s customers talk about that yummy cookie without even being asked about it.
We know, it’s nothing crazy. It’s just a cookie. But for the DoubleTree, that cookie directly reflects their brand. A brand strategy reflected in the phrase, “The Warm Welcome”. That simple, but baked with love, cookie fits that brand extremely well.
How to Create your Own Talk Triggers
There are four things that your talking triggers need to be. They need to be repeatable, remarkable, relevant, and reasonable. They must be repeatable so that your customers know this isn’t a one-off experience and they become part of your virtual sales team. Remarkable, because it must create a positive conversation. Relevant because it has to make sense in the context of your business. And reasonable because it shouldn’t be overwhelming. If your customers are skeptical over the talking trigger, you’ve gone too far.
Remember, talking triggers are not marketing. They aren’t a slogan or a kind of campaign promotion. It’s a choice a company makes to be different and remarkable. It is a generous choice that creates both customer conversation and conversion. But don’t think you need to give your customers a new yacht or a sports car. It’s really just doing a little bit extra. Talking triggers show empathy and compassion. They humanize your company and makes your customers feel understood. They are the bow on a present. The literal icing on the cake. The small, but noticeable, details that make your business stand out for miles.
In order to use this form of advertisement, you need to be rock solid on who your target customer. You need to understand there customer journey – what makes them buy? Doing the market research into the mindset of the archetypes of your target market will allow you to create a talking trigger that resonates with your customers. Look at the creation of the talking trigger as you would any other component of your marketing campaigns. What can you do to delight your customers enough for them to become rave fans?
If you create these talking triggers, your customers will shorten your sales process and make your marketing efforts more successful and arm virtual sales reps to help you grow your conscious business.