Word of mouth rules

By Kim Browne

The power of word of mouth is something I’ve been reminded of again recently. You have a need and there’s almost always someone who knows someone who can help you.

Whether you’re looking for a casual restaurant for an impromptu lunch in Umdloti (Karibu Nursery is a great venue, recommended to me by the girls in my sister-in-law’s book club), or someone to supply bespoke wine box packaging for Xmas, or branded ready-made, stick-on wax seals – someone will always know someone. Word of mouth will deliver a good option or two.

Word of mouth endorsement from someone you actually know (and trust) carries more weight than a random person. However, if the person has a known name and face, you’ll probably assign more credibility to a recommendation than anonymous, no name references.

So a good reputation, built over time that has people saying the right things about your business, or even recommending you, will get a foot in the door. But what happens after that is all about experience and relationships. If it’s good, it works like compound interest – more people, suggesting your services more often. Score!

We’ve had some interesting business leads to explore this month that have come about as a direct result of word of mouth. We really appreciate our clients and industry friends recommending us. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the fit isn’t right. But more often than not the end result is positive.

We’ve reconnected with old industry friends, whom we haven’t seen in ages – and bam we’re now doing exciting things together. We’ve also had a few complete strangers who heard from someone they trust that we can perhaps help them. Who knows, maybe something interesting still comes from these word of mouth pitches.

My favourite endorsement is when an industry friend chooses Twisted Toast Digital to help them on their own projects, based on the work we’ve delivered on a client. Even though the scope of these projects is usually small, we just love the message this sends us. We heart you back, big-time ☺

Where does digital fit in all of this? Everywhere! But it’s in addition to, not instead of. I can’t imagine not being able to review a new service provider’s online reputation for example, before deciding whether to engage with them or not. In this way digital can easily corroborate word of mouth.

Just this weekend I booked a trip to New York with my daughter for February next year. In deciding on what hotel to stay in, I first spoke to a friend who’s recently been there. I factored her recommendation into the final mix of three and checked out my preferred choices. I then went to Tripadvisor and booking.com and trawled through numerous online reviews, before ultimately deciding to stay in an old favourite, favourite. Creatures of habit we are, but my point is that my friend’s recommendation easily made it into my top three, based on her word of mouth and nothing else. That’s powerful stuff!

Happy Movember peeps. Enjoy the ride – it’s set to be a good one!