Last week I wrote on various aspects of eye communication. A couple of experiences prompt me to write again - on how eye communication impacts word of mouth marketing.
And how important is word of mouth marketing?
- 80% of reviews are positive...because people want to share things they enjoy. Known as the "J-Curve"
- 90% of people who write reviews do so to help other people.
- In 2007, "Trust in someone like me" tripled, which trust in companies dropped. (Think of what it is today!)
(For more stats, check out Bazaarvoice - the leader in WOMM)
Last week, I became a disgruntled customer at my local market because an order I had placed a week before had yet to be filled, and I was having friends over that night. I went there and the manager looked me directly in the eye throughout our conversation. As a result, I found myself calming down, seeking to work towards resolution. In the end, I left the establishment satisfied and eager once again to recommend the place to others.
Then recently I walked in to a store as a potential new customer, prepared to spend some good money to update a few home furnishings. Rather than engage me while discussing options in the store, the salesperson completely avoided eye contact, looking at my watch, my clothes, and pretty much anywhere else he could other than my eyes.
Combined with a generally unpleasant demeanor, this lack of eye contact cost this business not only a sale but also any positive word of mouth marketing. Being a small, specialty store in my neighborhood my negative experience leads me to give less-than-positive reviews to my friends in the community - bad WOMM.
As communicators, we have a toolbox of behavioral skills we enlist to communicate effectively; of all the skills in our toolbox, eye communication is the most important. As I wrote in You’ve Got to be Believed to be Heard:
"Eye communication ranks first because it has the greatest impact in both one-on-one communications and large group communications. It literally connects mind to mind, since your eyes are the only part of your central nervous system that is in direct contact with another human being. When your eyes meet the eyes of another person, you make a First-Brain-to-First-Brain connection. When you fail to make that connection, it matters very little what you say."
With the growth of the Web 2.0 generation - focusing on branding and marketing through social media et al - the significance of powerful, effective interpersonal communication often gets lost in the shuffle.
WOMM reflects the reputation of a brand - a reputation built on communication experiences. Interpersonal communication is still the basis of a reputation. And the primary communication skill that can make or break a positive communication experience (and thus, a reputation) is eye communication.
Remember your eye communication next time you’re trying to make a sale, or just sell yourself; your WOMM is on the line.