Word Of Mouth Gone Wrong
Killing a customer with unkindness?
We were just having a conversation with a friend about a book he’d been reading.
He was about halfway through the book, and had an opportunity to meet the author. So, he jumped on it. Why not?
He asked the author a thematic question about something that was happening in the book. The author’s reply?
“Really? You’re asking me about that? I don’t know.”
And the author changed the subject.
We asked our friend what he did.
He said, “I was halfway through the book. I closed it, and never picked it up again. He doesn’t care. Why should I?”
When selling any product or service, especially a replicable product like a book, word of mouth is vital.
I’ve had email conversations with various bestselling authors, with names like Connelly, Woods, Stewart and Dugoni.
They’re all gentlemen and happy to have a running conversation via email.
While I can’t speak to their motivations, I’m guessing it’s because now more than ever, every fan is another review and another unpaid salesperson.
The know upon which side their bread is buttered, and who holds the knife.
In a similar but different situation…
The Fabulous Honey Parker and I once ate at an excellent restaurant.
We happened to meet the chef, and we told him what we loved about his food.
He told us we were wrong.
Really, he did.
We decided we never needed to eat there again.
When you’re not Stephen King but King Stephens, Jr., every fan of your book is a big deal.
When you’re not Ben & Jerry’s but Cranky’s Creamery, every fan of your ice cream is a big deal.
When you’re not Roto-Rooter but Randy’s Rooterette, every fan of your drain opening service is a big deal.
When you’re not H&R Block but Blocky Dodger’s Tax Preparatorium, every fan of your tax prep service is a big deal.
For better or for worse, word-of-mouth advertising is more potent than ever.
Every Amazon review, every Yelp review and every Google review is now added to the normal conversations that people are having.
Add to that the fact that a happy customer is less likely to review something than an angry customer, and the scales are balanced against a business that’s behaving badly, even if they’re doing so for only a moment.
And we’re all just human. At one time or another, we’ve all behaved badly. That requires an ability to recover and spin.
Never blow off a fan. Embrace them. They are the butter on your bread.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in Park City
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Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.