Category Archives: Word of Mouth

Free Reward for having an Awesome Interior

Google is going to start helping you spread the word about your awesome retail experience. They've launched a new service where they'll be essentially tying your Google Local results with photos from inside your store…and they are supplying the photographers!

I've been writing for a long time about the importance of your Personal Experience Factor. Your reward for getting it right is that you may qualify for being one of the first to be featured in this new service from Google.

According to this story from ReadWriteWeb, "The company says the photographs will be taken by professionals trained in low lighting, will be as unobtrusive as possible, will initially be traditional in format and will be stitched together to form panoramas in the future."

So, if your jewelry store promises the largest selection of engagement rings in Winnipeg on your radio ads, perhaps Google will step in and help you offer the proof via Business Photos.

My question: What about service businesses like HVAC, or plumbing or roofing? If you're busy roofing Portland, you probably don't have much of a retail presence. Wouldn't it be great if Google would jump in your service van with you and take some job site photos? Not very likely until after they've been inside every retailer. So, you'd better be doing it yourself. Just saying.

Here's the link to find out more about Google Business Photos.

Be a "Word of Mouth" Enabler

Sometimes delivering a great customer experience through amazing products, architecture or movement just isn't quite enough to trigger the chain reaction of effective Word of Mouth.

Think about the reasons that people might be hesitant to recommend. Perhaps I consider my experience too "private" to talk about…or don't want to share the "secret" of my success. Unless you ask someone for specific advice, you'll seldom hear them bragging about their top-notch dentist, plastic surgeon or medical specialist.

ZZ77DA195F Loss of proximity is another reason Word of Mouth loses it's oomph. If I have an amazing experience on vacation, but don't have an opportunity to share it until I get home weeks later, the magic of the moment has already begun to fade.

If you are truly delivering the goods to your customers, you should work on techniques to help them share their experience in the moment or very soon after.

Even in the late 1800s, the big cruise lines knew how to enable Word of Mouth among the millions of immigrants tucked away in 3rd class. On White Star liners, where even the 3rd class guests were served food by waiters on tables set with linen, the menu cards doubled as postcards that could be sent home to friends and relatives.

I think back on some pretty amazing experiences I've had and not been able to share until well after the moment. A great example is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. The system in place is a well-oiled machine for getting people rigged up, trained up and moved out into the superstructure to begin the ascent. Before you are back down, the digital photographs of your group have been loaded on monitors in the gift shop waiting for you to purchase them…which we did. On a CD, which sat in our bags until we returned home. Then, it sat on our coffee table for weeks.

Since you are not allowed to bring your own camera, these are the only pictures you can get of your experience and I'm sure that loads of people purchase them. How could they be turned into an instant Word of Mouth marketing tool?

What if the operators made the photos available on a kiosk, where you could just email a lower resolution picture to anyone you wanted, BEFORE you left the building. Yes, they might lose a few CD sales, but they would be enabling their customers to tell others in the excitement of the moment.

In this day of social media, they could take it a few steps further. Since most of their tickets are sold online, they could ask for some sharing details BEFORE people arrive and be ready to post photos and video directly to their Facebook, Myspace or Twitter streams DURING the experience.

What about your business? How could you enable people to tell others while the experience is still fresh?

Is Your Store Smiling?

As a postscript to Monday's post on Sniffing for Market Share, it occurred to me that one more thing you could do when you evaluate the look (sight) of your business is to watch for smiles.

That's right…smiles.

Rolexsmile Rolex has always required dealers to display their watches with the hands showing 10:10 because it looks like a smiling face.

The current TV ad for American Express drives it home as well. The first half of the ad is a bunch of everyday shots that we interpret as unhappy faces. The second half is full of smiles.

Can you make your storefront smile? Are any of you competitors smiling brighter than you?

Want to see more? Check out the Faces in Places Facebook page, this search on Flickr, or just do your own search.