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How powerful is word-of-mouth marketing?

How powerful is word-of-mouth marketing?

I recently endured one of the worst customer service experiences of my life and feel it’s my duty to share it.

Bad Day

One wet and windy afternoon I walked into the café next door to the salon I was visiting to grab some coffees. I was quickly told they accepted cash-only so turned back towards the door to search for the nearest cash point. Nearing the door, I took a call from a client and delayed leaving due to the horrible weather awaiting me outside. Moments later a less than impressed ill-tempered man started cleaning tables next to me. Sensing I wasn’t welcome I politely explained, ‘’I’ll be buying coffees but I was told its cash only, is it ok if I finish my phone call first?’’ to which he replied, “it looks that way doesn’t it!’’ Shocked I said ‘’excuse me’’ before being asked to finish my call outside.

Word of Mouth

Shocked and without coffee, I walked into my meeting and felt compelled to tell everyone. The receptionist was first in line to hear about my ordeal and clearly this grumpy guy has put his future business in jeopardy before. Telling my story, more and more clients got involved and wanted to hear all about it. Within 2 minutes word of mouth spread like wild fire. I had now told seven potential coffee drinkers and sandwich lovers who may now think twice about visiting this café after their gorgeous new cut and colour.


Since that day I’ve told several other people including family, friends and colleagues – some of which work in that area too. Now I’m not the kind of person to intentionally damage business, but do you think he deserves the custom?

The Raw Numbers

For many years I’ve heard multiple statistics on dissatisfied customers that have amazed me. Did you know that dissatisfied customers typically tell 9 to 15 other people about their experience; some tell 20 or more*

This is hard-hitting stuff and really does highlight the importance of good customer service. Always greet your clients with a huge smile, ask how their day is and do your best to make them happy. Happy clients will tell halve as many people about their experience than unhappy customers so although you need to work harder, the results speak for themselves – 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience*

‘’It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently – Warren Buffet’’

*White House Office of Consumer Affairs