Cultivating Word of Mouth Marketing
Todd Walbridge of Tuxedo T-shirts Online is a self-proclaimed customer service freak. That’s because he believes in the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
To grow his store's clientele, Todd abides by the age-old philosophy “The customer is always right.” “The most successful large online stores have grown to their size with that mentality,” he says. “We ship ungodly fast because that gets people talking. We take care of the customer first even if the bottom line doesn’t make sense for that one sale. It will at the end of the month because that customer will come back and become a repeat customer and tell his friends.”
On the flip side, offering stellar customer service also helps him avoid negative word of mouth. “Word of mouth can be your best and worst enemy on the Internet," he explains. "You get a few people mad at you and it can spread like wildfire through Yelp, Facebook and Twitter. One bad blog or review can take you down.”
Merchants, though, can't always know if someone has published a negative opinion. Todd monitors his reputation by using GoogleAlerts, which tells him how many times his name appears online. “It gives us an idea about how our customers are feeling. If someone says something bad, we can do damage control by reaching out to them. If we've done something wrong, we can fix it. The most dangerous customers are the ones that don’t complain to you because they instead complain to their family and friends.”