Last Thursday I had a meeting with the someone in downtown Troy New York, to talk about the work we’re doing with OurTroy.com. I had just eaten quickly before the meeting and I stopped into the Illium Cafe to pick up a pack of gum, or some mints to help ensure my speaking was well received.
I noticed right away that they had none available at the usual spot. I told the ladies behind the counter that I was running to meet with someone, and I was looking for some gum or mints, but didn’t see any out. They apologized and informed me that they had just run out. HOWEVER, in the exact same response, the manager Beth Duval went to her own purse and then handed me some gum of her own!
Two things companies can takeaway from this:
1) Go above an beyond, and meet a need in an unexpected way. Meeting a need in an unexpected way is a powerful thing. The positive shock/surprise makes the experience with your brand that much more impactful. It’s hard to forget, and it’s a great way to generate positive word of mouth.
Rather than repeat it, here is a great post by Maki over at Dosh Dosh that gives an excellent explanation of the cognitive cause of surprise, and how it effects one’s behavior.
Look for ways that you can do something for your customers that meets a need in a way that they would not expect.
2) Remember to nurture the individuals who are already talking about your company/brand, or that you know are repeat and happy customers. Going above and beyond for these people in particular is important, because you might just do the one thing that makes them “tip”, and do something above and beyond in return. (Like me sharing my great experience at the Illium Cafe in this post)
In trying to build word of mouth, many times people think they need to do something big or crazy to appeal to a mass crowd of people who have never heard their message. This has its place, but don’t forget to focus on the individuals who are already talking about you.
Not everyone will communicate their experience with your brand, but nurturing your repeat and happy customers is never a bad thing.