Word of mouth growth is the most effective means of business growth in professional services. According to FirmChecker’s buyer behavior data, word-of-mouth recommendations are still by and large the primary way people find a lawyer or accountant.
Most people trust the recommendation of another person over advertising. Nielson gives you a great snapshot of consumer trust with online recommendations from back in 2011. The explosion in consumer reviews since then is outlined by Review Trackers, who report that 93% of consumers are influenced by online reviews.
At it’s simplest, this is where word of mouth growth starts according to Marketing guru Seth Godin. He believes that your “best customers become your sales people.” However, as Godin warns, it isn’t enough to rely on this effect. Actively solicit word of mouth to maximise opportunities.
The first step is knowing what your clients are saying. Hence, surveying your clients for feedback is key! If you don’t have a Net Promoter Score to track the likelihood of your clients recommending you, then get one. Or sign-up with FirmChecker and we do it for you.
The negative attitudes of your clients warrant the most attention. Pinpoint the issues that are preventing some of your clients from recommending you. Further, identifying dissatisfied clients means you know which clients need nurturing. The objective here is not to change their opinion per se, but to make them feel like their voice is heard. Communication is key. The most common complaint clients have is that their lawyer or accountant doesn’t communicate enough. By addressing their concerns your unhappy client is now less likely to spread negative word-of-mouth.
The clients that had a positive experience are the voices to amplify. These are the clients, as Godin would say, who are your ‘sales people’. Businesses that know who these clients are, know which clients to encourage and spread word of mouth online.
Word-of-mouth online is more influential then ever. This is highlighted by Pete Blackshaw, Head of Digital at Nestle, in his book ‘Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000’. As Blackshaw’s title conveys, it’s predominantly angry customers who, on their own initiative, go online and vent about bad experiences.
Contentment is not a motivating emotion.
To stimulate positive word-of-mouth online, firms need to actively encourage all their clients to contribute. Instigate amplified word of mouth growth by sending out a survey link to your whole client base. As the reviews from your entire client base populate your listing, online word of mouth reflects the actual satisfaction of your whole client-base.
Don’t be dormant. Act on your word of mouth growth. Start by signing-up to a free 30-day trial with FirmChecker. Whether or not you continue as a paid user, you’ll keep your branded listing for free, so there’s nothing to lose.
About the Author
James Hampel is an Organic Growth Consultant at FirmChecker – Australia’s number 1 review site for lawyers and accountants.