Positive word-of-mouth (WOM) has long been documented as a powerful tool for growth. Happy customers stake their reputation on recommending your product or service; that fact became the foundation for the Net Promoter System (NPS).
On the flip side, unhappy customers can spread negative word-of-mouth. The threat of negative WOM can be much more daunting and is difficult to control.
The good news is that unlike our B2C brethren, we B2B marketers can strategically manage word-of-mouth.
Especially because B2B is marked by ongoing relationships between customer and supplier, we have the opportunity to both increase positive WOM and convert detractors before they go public.
So here are three ways B2B marketers can ensure WOM skews positive for them.
1. Wake up the dead
Yes, zombies are real: They're your silent customers, and they may have given up on you. And although they may not be talking to you, that doesn't mean they're keeping quiet. They've got plenty of colleagues and friends who work in a similar field, who attend the same conferences, or who will find themselves in the line of fire during the next rant.
The thing is, silent accounts (or the "unhappy silent majority") are actually crying out for help, but they just don't see a point in being vocal with you. Perhaps because they have already "checked out" or don't see the value in providing feedback if there is a lack of trust you'll do anything with it.
Steve Bernstein is the CEO of consultancy Waypoint Group and the creator of B2B voice-of-the-customer engine TopBox. He is the author of Failure Sucks! (More for Your Customers Than for You), a B2B guide to customer success.
LinkedIn: Steve Bernstein