I hate spending money every three weeks on a manicure that will chip when I wash dishes or scratch the back of my head. My right hand is just strong enough to paint my left, but my left hand is good for absolutely nothing. Plus, I’m deficient in whatever nutrient it takes to keep my nails long enough from breaking before they even grow past my stumps.

Despite all my reasons, a good friend suggested that I book with her nail technician, Amy, who I’ve remained a loyal customer to, ten months later. It was because I trusted the word of this person, the way Amy treated me like her own friend and the flawless manicure she’d consistently deliver that I not only came back but continued to spread the word. Now, eight of my close friends and I visit Amy on alternating weekends.

Word of mouth (WOM) is key to the success of consumer-driven businesses. Leveraging loyal consumers by delivering routinely positive experiences every time will help you create a trusted network of people who support you. 

But still, don’t just take my word for it. Yelp is another powerful example of the value of WOM. The site has an average of 135 million monthly users on a network that dominates local search engine results and has the ability to shut down businesses overnight. A one-star increase on the “social local platform” can lead to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue for independent restaurants, according to a Harvard Business School study.

Without all the bells and whistles of the way we define and measure WOM today, the practice existed even long before modern marketing efforts first began. Before the world of social media and the World Wide Web, your business may have struggled to survive if the word wasn’t getting around that you had the solution to most – if not all – of my problems, similar to how my friend recommended Amy to me. The only difference between the pre-internet era and the current information age is that now, information and experiences can be amplified much louder to even larger audiences.

So yes – create worthwhile impressions to build a strong clientele because word of mouth is still important in 2021. The truth is that people want to feel stability in their lives, as defined by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and this need can be fulfilled by the important people in our lives we trust. 

Paired with valuable experiences, word of mouth can build a sustainable, mutually beneficial relationship for years to come.

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