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Keep Your WOM Roots Healthy

July 1, 2009  

The dreaded phrase "word-of-mouth" keeps a lot of company execs awake at night. It's that feeling of helplessness: How can any company apply quality assurance to something that is so out of their control? Well, a recent post at the Church of the Customer Blog says the secret to ensuring that your WOM stays positive lies in identifying, and nurturing, its roots. How do you do that? "The answer," says Ben McConnell, "is almost always hidden within a company's culture."

According to McConnell, "Companies with great WOM tend to operate by a simple, yet inspiring purpose and well-defined values. They have created a cultural constitution, and every employee is sworn to abide by it, so help them God and the HR department."

He offers a list of attributes of those in charge of such a company:

  • They understand that a purpose-driven company helps clarify decision-making while inspiring longer-term unity.
  • They know that abiding by community-driven values compels employees to think of customers first, and company second.
  • They see the benefits of inspired, evangelistic customers.

"When companies shun purpose and adherence to values, that's usually the source of trouble," he points out.


The message for executives here? "For creating good customer experiences, a company hires smart and empathetic people," McConnell concludes. "It does not hire talented jerks, regardless of education or work history."

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