Word of mouth is a popular term, but I wondered what it actually meant for companies. So I looked at this issue in a recently published report called How Customer Experience Drives Word Of Mouth.
We asked more than 4,500 consumers how often (in the past 90 days) they had told someone about a good or bad experience with firms across 12 industries: airlines, banks, cell phone service providers, credit card providers, hotels, insurance firms, Internet service providers, investment firms, medical insurance companies, PC manufacturers, retailers, and TV service providers.
Here are some of the findings:
- More consumers share good experiences. For eight industries, more consumers talked about a good experience than they talked about a bad one. The four exceptions: credit card providers, health insurance plans, Internet service providers, and TV service providers.
- Bad news is discussed more frequently. For all industries except retail, consumers discussed bad experiences with more people than they discussed good ones.
- PC manufacturers and airlines generate the most discussions. When consumers have either a good or bad experience with a PC manufacturer or an airline, they tell more people about it than they tell about experiences in any other industry.
- Airlines face the largest negativity gap. While consumers will tell an average of 5.6 people about a bad experience with an airline, they will only tell 4.4 people about a good one — the largest negative gap across any industry.
- Gen Yers are the most chatty. Across every industry, Gen Y consumers were the most likely to talk to someone about a good experience. They were also the group most likely to talk about a bad experience in 11 of the industries. The only exception: More Older Boomers talked about their bad experience with health plans.
- Gen Xers spread their bad experience. For 10 industries, Gen X was the generation to tell the most people about a bad experience.
The bottom line: Give customers a good experience to talk about