Getting feedback from your customers (and how it can help grow your business through word of mouth)

1 October 2015

From start ups to global companies, no business can afford to ignore the power of word of mouth. In fact, if you asked most successful CEOs or company managers what is the most effective form of gaining new customers, they would tell you it’s word of mouth.

For small business who can’t afford to shell out fortunes on advertising campaigns, word of mouth is absolutely invaluable and can be the difference between surviving the tricky first few years and becoming just another failed start up statistic.

Word of mouth research

Not that it’s just about being able to afford advertising. According to research by Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations they receive from friends and family more than other forms of marketing. Less than half of those questioned found paid marketing to be credible.

Of course, it’s all very well understanding the importance and effectiveness of word of mouth, but making it work for your business is not so easy.

Making word of mouth work

These days, social media plays a huge part in spreading the word. 85% of fans of brands or companies on Facebook recommend them to others and nearly half are more likely to buy new products when learning about if from friends and family. So targeting these forms of media can really help.

However, never underestimate the power of good old-fashioned customer service. Positive feedback is the driving force of repeat business. Leave your customers satisfied and they will come back to you again and again. Go out of your way to provide a good service and they’ll bring a friend. Keep this positive loop going and you’ll soon be the talk of the town and your appointment book will be full. If this positive feedback can be visible on pubic forums like Facebook, and dedicated trade sites like Checkatrade, then this can be magnified.

Of course, just as positive reviews can bring repeat business, negative ones can drive people away. You need to do everything you can to avoid them. However, if you do get bad reviews, it’s not the end of the world. We all have bad days, and we all make mistakes. And sometimes, just sometimes, you’ll find a customer who will never be happy or just loves making trouble. The key to dealing with negative reviews is to tackle them head on. Respond openly and publicly on the forums, offer to address the issue and reassure the customer (and the rest of the reading public) that you take responsibility. This kind of public and honest approach can surprisingly work in your favour.

Lastly, the number and frequency of reviews is very important. With fresh mentions of your company name appearing on Google searches all the time, this has very positive SEO ramifications. It’ll bump you up the rankings and make your site more visible to search engines – all of which is good for business.

So, ask your customers (in the nicest possible way) to leave you a review. Do it in return for a small discount or an extra bit of work. It all helps and, with the power of word of mouth, a little extra effort goes a long way.

You can find out more about the power of word of mouth and how to make it work for you by checking out the YourTradebase guide here.

By Dean Taylor

Back in 2010, Dean's building business was growing. He was doing great work, making people happy and enjoying being his own boss – but he was worn out. Not by the graft, but by the piles of paperwork taking up every evening. So, he got together with his cousin Adam, a web developer, and came up with a simple way to solve the problem – and help a whole load of other tradespeople too. They called it YourTradebase. Try it for yourself with a free 14 day trial. No strings. No credit card needed.

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