How to Use Word of Mouth to Your Advantage

Written by | Featured, Sales & Marketing

This is a guest post provided by a contributor from Referral Rock.

For a service based business, word of mouth is huge. If you’re asking yourself, “But, why is word of mouth important?” There is a ton of research out there that concludes that marketers believe word of mouth produces higher quality leads. Not only that, but that leads from word of mouth also close faster than leads from other channels.

Point in case, one of the most famous studies on word of mouth done by Nielson, found that 84% of people trust recommendations from friends. Hence making word of mouth one of the most influential forms of advertising.

Word of mouth is a great way to produce quality and long-term leads. To reiterate, here are a few ways you can trigger word of mouth to happen.


1. Customer service

Bad service can lead to bad reviews and word of mouth. So in order to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success your customer service has to be remarkable.

A study by Gartner found that when it comes to purchasing decisions, 64% of people find the customer experience more important than price.

What’s all this mean? Well, if you consistently provide good customer service, you’ll get the trust of your customers, which can mean you have a higher chance of increasing your word of mouth. Remember people are paying for an experience, not just a product!

2. Provide a great product or service

Though more people have rated customer service as a top priority, you can’t take shortcuts on your product. Your product or service is the reason you are, in fact, a business.

So even if you provide exceptional customer service, have a great price, and bend over backward for your customers, if your end product is sub-par, you likely won’t be able to get good word of mouth going.

For example, if you’re a lawn service and you are as friendly as can be, but you leave someone’s yard a mess or do a horrible edging job, you likely won’t be called back. And, that might prompt less-than-stellar word of mouth on your end. Something like: “We hired Harvey’s Lawn, the guy was nice, but he did a bad job. Save your money”.  

3. Respond to reviews 

A lot of times people will browse through your online reviews, even if they were recommended by a friend. People like to see what other’s have to say. Another thing they are looking for is how you respond to reviews.

Are you answering questions or trying to fix customer concerns? They’re wanting to see how you handle a bad situation, and what you’re willing to do to make it better.

As you can see these reviews act as word of mouth. So, if you have a really good relationship or know a customer is satisfied with your work, ask them to write you a review. It will help build your trustability and give you an easy way to measure and gauge your customer experience.


Cameron and Miguel were talking about chimney sweeping services. Miguel told Cameron that he needed to hire someone to come clean his chimney before winter hits. Cameron mentioned that he too needed to get a chimney service to his house, and mentioned that he found a few online.

Cameron proceeded to name a couple of the higher rated ones he saw (building word of mouth for those ones). Miguel took that information and decided to call one of the ones that Cameron had mentioned. Miguel then started recommending the service pro to his friends, including Cameron.


See how word of mouth can start from just reading a simple review? It can evolve and produce customers for you, who can, in turn, spread more word of mouth for you.


4. Be the best in your business

Let’s face it, there may be a business just like yours around the corner from you. You may offer the same services or have the same types of products. If this is the case, you need to think of what makes you different.

Tell your customers what makes you different from the rest. You never know what you might say that will trigger them to tell others.

Want to set yourselves apart from your competition? Read 7 Reasons Why You Need Automated Customer Notifications >>



2 Ways to Supercharge Your Word of Mouth to Your Advantage

If you’re looking to add more oomph to your word of mouth, here are a few ideas you can try to kick it into high gear.

Run a referral or loyalty program

The epitome of word of mouth. A referral program prompts word of mouth to happen and builds your customer relationships along the way.

If you make referring easy, and maybe provide a small incentive for doing so, you can set yourself up to be a lead machine. Plus, if you’re being referred via social media, your customers are basically doing advertising for you.

It’s a pretty easy way to build your customer base. And since you’re a service business, a personal recommendation goes a long way. In fact, personal recommendations may already be a good chunk of your business. So if you supplement that word of mouth that is already occurring with a referral program, you have potential for some serious growth.

Looking to get more referrals? Read 5 Creative Ways to Get More Referrals >>


Another option would be to run a loyalty program. You might have to be a bit creative, but customers love loyalty programs and will continue to make purchases if they have a long-term goal to work towards. This is also a great selling point from one friend to another!


Max hired a cleaning service to clean his home once a month. The service he hired offers a loyalty program. Their loyalty program offers a $75 coupon after 5 cleaning sessions. For Max, that essentially means he gets a free cleaning. Because of this, Max is happy to remain a loyal customer.



Engage with your community via social media

Your business will greatly benefit from being online. We’re not just talking about your website. You need to be in all the channels your customers are. In fact, you might find that many of your customers are on Facebook or Twitter.

If you too are on these channels, you have an easy way to respond to questions and share relevant information and promotions. You might actually find that your customers will message you through these channels in order to get in touch with you.

Plus, a social site gives you the perfect platform to share a variety of materials, from guides and ads to or articles you have written. Having these kinds of items can be great sharing opportunities for your customers.

For example, if you post an image of a winter sale you are doing, you may find a few customers will share that post with their friends.

The more you give customers something worthy enough to share, the more you’re working to generate positive word of mouth. Being shareable also helps build your social proof, and you’ll find that people won’t mind spending their social currency on you if they have a good reason.


Final Thoughts: Get to Work on Increasing Your Word of Mouth

Word of mouth makes a world of a difference for your business. It promotes high-quality and lasting leads to funnel directly to you. You also build a trust factor that is second to none.

If you can get your customers to do the talking for you, why wouldn’t you?  If you’re not getting leads, consider what you need to do to increase your customer satisfaction. Word of mouth starts with happy customers, after all. Use the tips above to turn your customers into your advocates.


Megan Mosley is the marketing specialist at
Referral Rock, who believes every business has the potential to increase their word of mouth. When she’s not working, she enjoys sipping on coffee and hanging out with her family.


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Last modified: December 12, 2018

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