In a world where most of a company’s marketing and customer experience budget goes to new technology and flashy ads, it’s time to get back to the basics of word of mouth.
According to Jay Baer, co-author of the new book Talk Triggers, it’s all about talking to customers and getting to know them. From there, brands can create talk triggers. It’s a simple concept but can be incredibly effective. A talk trigger is a strategic business choice that compels conversation. In order words, what can your brand do differently that people will talk about?
Baer gives the example of Cheesecake Factory’s massive menu, which has hundreds of items and almost 6,000 words to describe them all. The menu didn’t just happen—it’s a strategic choice by Cheesecake Factory that gets people talking. Baer’s research found that 38% of Cheesecake Factory customers have talked about the menu in the last month without being asked. The novel-sized menu is a simple thing that encourages conversation and makes customers advocates for the brand.
To be effective, a talk trigger must meet four requirements: be remarkable, relevant, reasonable and repeatable. As Baer points out, this isn’t about surprise and delight and creating an amazing experience for one customer. It’s about doing something believable and unexpected that all customers can experience and talk about.
DoubleTree’s famous chocolate chip cookies are a great example of a talk trigger. The simple act of giving each guest a warm chocolate chip cookie when they check into the hotel makes a huge impact of the customer experience. People talk about DoubleTree cookies all the time, which is one of the reasons why the company doesn’t have to spend a lot of money on advertising.
Every company can create a talk trigger. Baer recommends mapping the customer journey and identifying potential touch points and triggers. From there, interview new customers, long-time customers and lost customers to get their perspectives on the brand. Use that information to create something original and unexpected. What can you do that customers don’t see coming? That’s how you get them talking.
Although data and technology play a huge role in customer experience, we can’t forget about the old standbys, including word of mouth. Taking time to understand customers and get them talking can create a memorable experience and make them loyal brand advocates.