Most business owners put a lot of emphasis on positive word of mouth advertising while ignoring negative word of mouth altogether.
That's a mistake because negative word of mouth has the potential to deep six your marketing strategy in the blink of an eye.
According to some studies, only 6% of customers who experience a problem with a product or service contact the company. But an amazing 31% of those customers tell their friends and family members about their negative experience with the product. Imagine the impact it can have when one in three of the people who experience a problem with your products use their influence to shape other people's perspective about your company.
Containing negative word of mouth isn't easy, but it can be done. Here's how to spot and counter negative word of mouth when it affects your products and your brand.
- Troubleshoot problems quickly. The best thing you can do to counter negative word of mouth is to respond quickly to problems. Fast and comprehensive customer service is critical. If a dissatisfied customer is left on the hook too long, you can count on the fact that he will communicate his dissatisfaction to the people he influences.
- Monitor disgruntled employees. Disgruntled former employees are common source of negative word of mouth. As much as possible, mitigate the influence of key former employees through nondisclosure agreements and other measures.
- Watch the competition. Competitors frequently initiate negative word of mouth campaigns. Combating their dirty tricks can be challenging, unless you are prepared to respond with a positive word of mouth campaign that is based on solid information and data.
- Institute a crisis response policy. A full-blown negative word of mouth situation can quickly escalate into a crisis. You can prepare for these situations by establishing a crisis response team that has designed a set of responses for issues that could be transmitted in a consumer to consumer context.
- Leverage social media. Many companies are now using social media as a tool for monitoring and responding to negative word of mouth. If you aren't adept at social media, there are many third-party providers who can equip your business with tools to identify and counter negative Information that is transmitted online.