Social WOM is rising in addition to offline WOM

After Google's recent announcement about +1 recommendations and WOM (word of mouth), it's social networks turn to tell marketers about the growing importance of WOM.

Timing is very important with WOM, seeing customer patterns and following up with every single customer is the key to effective WOM, because we can't tell from the outset which customer will promote your brand or business (and which one won't).

Is WOM part of your online strategy?

What businesses can do to get customers? Why customer retention has become even more important

Here is the link to the recent story

I want to repeat one of the most repeated things in customer retention--staying in touch with your past, current and potential customers can increase retention by about 80%. That itself can make it amazingly inexpensive to run your business.

Internet is one place to get customers through affordable and long lasting marketing. It is very important for every business to build their presence online and take control of their online presence. There has to be one place where every business can login and see all their online assets (reviews, local listings, videos, asset sites, track their keywords, see their results over a period of time for keywords, store all their social media links and track their progress (and sometimes track the progress of the agency they have hired).

If businesses start with this, they will realize that they will build a long lasting source of customers they can rely on, which is always referrals from existing customers. Online reviews are a form of referrals. It is a public referral from a customer which makes other customers purchase from a business.

The Rise of Online Reviews--KeepCustomer's first guest blog

If you own a small business and have not established a website combined with social

media, it’s time to get on the bandwagon. With more and more customers researching

products and services online, it’s crucial for businesses to know what is out there and

establish a strong online presence. Here is a brief overview of online reviews and what

you need to know to benefit from them as a business.

A Huffington Post article in October 2011 reported that in 2011, 80% of consumers made

their purchasing decisions based on negative customer feedback online, a number which

had which increased 67% from 2010. Chances are, your business has already shown up

on any number of online review websites or has made the rounds in the social media

realm without your knowledge.

In the last decade, consumers have become more and more savvy when it comes to

making informed decisions about what they purchase. Most people use the Internet to

shop for coupons and check online reviews regularly before they set foot in a store or

add items to their online shopping cart. Regardless of the nature of your business, you

must be aware of online reviews when approaching the subject of your company’s online

presence. Some of the most popular review sites used by customers are found on Google,

Bing, Yahoo, Yelp and Angie’s List.

Just like any trend, you have to take the good with the bad. Fraudulent online reviews

are on the rise and can negatively impact a business’s reputation, costing them to lose

customers and cut into their profits. Many businesses are taking on guerilla tactics to

make their businesses look better by placing negative posts of their competitors in the

form of bad reviews. This requires that businesses are proactive in defending their online

identity and make certain they are not participating in bad marketing behaviors.

Another tactic some companies are trying is to pay customers for positive feedback.

In November 2012, the well-known online review company Yelp began cracking down

on this activity by posting a pop-up alert that the review was paid for by the company.

According to Yelp’s VP of Corporate Communications, in reference to the practice of

a company paying for positive reviews said, “One jewelry store was paying someone


Here are a few things you can do to safeguard your business online.

• You must have a company website. All businesses must have some kind of
online presence, even if you have a bare minimum. Having a legitimate website
will keep your customers from getting the wrong information from those who do
not have your best interest in mind.
• Create a Facebook account for your company. Social media has such
a powerful influence on the success of today’s businesses. Capitalizing on this
important reality will allow your customers to be active participants in what
you do. Creating events, offering coupons and encouraging and responding to
customer feedback will improve your bottom line and better match your business
goals with the needs of your customer base.
• Set up a Google alert for your company name. You need to know what
people are saying about you and the best way to keep tabs on this is to set up a
Google alert. This will help you stay informed with your customers online. You
can choose to receive emails once a week or daily depending on your needs.
• Respond to your customers with care. It’s important to check online
customer review sites as well as your designated website for customer feedback
regularly. Approach any negative feedback cautiously. Every customer response
should be tempered with professionalism and full awareness of any specific
customer complaint needs to be researched internally before conducting any
direct response to an online review. With that said, businesses can gain a great
deal of knowledge for improving their customer feedback and overall quality of
their product or service.

Sara Collins is a writer for  NerdWallet , a site dedicated to helping consumers find the

best savings account rates.

Personalization is key to customer satisfaction and Customer retention (Another Infographic)

It really is getting tiring how marketers are ignoring that nobody wants to be a part of the "BLAST". It is about time that we marketers stop doing blasts and start building our software which caters to individuals (at least if we want to be successful).

The Stars are back! Google Reviews back to simple and sound 5 star ratings and reviews

Not important but Google Content keywords say a lot about what your site is about

I always like to look at this. One can gauge the "overall sentiment" of your site by looking at this list of words. Google likes natural content, and natural content keeps the visitors coming back to the site (returning traffic is to websites what returning customers are to a business).

Is perception everything? Can customer reviews change perception about a business?

It can be everything. If you Google "old town mexican cafe san diego", you will probably find better reviews than any other place. It is a tourist location hence the perceived value is higher. The food isn't anything great, neither is the service. In fact, you probably won't get good service most of the times. But overall, people seem to say that it's a great place to eat. I don't think any amount of bad reviews will change the opinion of people decide to go there because of most of them seem to think ok and some of them think it's exceptional.

The question I am trying to ask is if reviews are the only way people believe in something. It's easy to answer- NO. Google reviews are only a guidance for people who are searching. Reviews can tell if something is horribly wrong with a business, or if something is truly exceptional about a business. All the other experiences might tell you details which might be biased. There is no real number to define if reviews can change perception about a business. Reviews might bring first time customers, but overall perception about a business differentiates the best and places which are perceived to be the best.

Try searching for desserts and look up the reviews of a places, you will be surprised how good reviews are and how many people write reviews for dessert places.

What some of the top companies are doing to retain customers?

Some excerpts from the above article:

1) Philips refunded a customer after a bulb the customer bought stopped working after 5 months! Yes, when you back your sales with "Guarantees", you make sure you live up to the promises made. There is nothing more annoying for us as customers when we find out the companies used the "guarantee tactic" to lure them into a sale. I bet that the customer who got the refund has raved about Philips which got Philips amazing brand publicity and lots of customers.

2) Human Customer service with follow ups:  In the age of automation, I have met venture capitalists who cringe at the mention of human element needed to run a business. We are definitely not there yet, and like it or not, people sometimes like to talk to a business who they paid. It might be pre-sales, support or sometimes just to make sure how much they are going to be charged this month. West Elm in the above article got full points for customer service, talk about customer retention-they won customers for life.

3) Acknowledgement mistakes made and promptly correcting: We are humans, and everybody knows that, so do customers. Customer appreciate honest business, and they will always appreciate when a business accepts mistake made and does what is needed.

In case you are wondering why customer retention is such a big deal, then please refer to few pictures here

Customer retention Infographic collection.

What do you think about customer retention now? Are you retaining all your customers? I think we talk about this more then acting on it. We know how important it is to make customers loyal, but we rarely show appreciation for their business. The above graphics should propel one to take action and make customer retention strategy part of your marketing plan.

Why is word of mouth sustainable?

•WOM connects businesses with customers and creates a sustainable ecosystem for businesses and their customers by helping businesses to reduce their marketing costs and by helping customers to reduce their bills. Wom helps build life time relationship for businesses and customers. 

•Elasticity of WOM is much higher than any other form of marketing. 

•WOM gives rise to more WOM (just like manure gives rise to plants and goes back into the soil)

If there was no other form of marketing done by businesses, WOM would still exist, it is natural and hence sustainable.