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Word of Mouth Works: A Different Perspective

By: Bill Bleuel


Word of Mouth Works

Everybody knows that word-of-mouth is a major component of customer satisfaction. Most everybody thinks that most word-of-mouth is negative. There has been some interesting research done lately that gives a different perspective of word-of-mouth.

A shopper survey performed by Brick Meets Click suggests that positive experiences may occur more frequently than negative experiences. They asked 1000 grocery shoppers about their experience shopping online. For those who shop online—those who had extremely positive or negative experiences—how likely they would share them with others. The results are not what I would have expected; namely, only 60% of those who had a negative experience indicated they would share that experience with others whereas 95% of those who had a positive experience indicated they would share that experience with others.

This information suggests that online shoppers are acting differently than those who are brick-and-mortar shoppers. There is no clear research at this point in time to explain the change from what has been the belief that customers are more likely to provide negative responses from negative experiences than those customers who have a positive experience. Until we understand the components that drive these responses will not be able to construct customer models that will create positive word-of-mouth and higher levels of satisfaction and loyalty.

The bottom line is that online shopping appears to have very different characteristics than face-to-face shopping. This is an exciting time when consumers are in flux in the way they shop and the way they perceive experiences while shopping.

Published: July 18, 2016

Source: The Customer Institute

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Bill Bleuel

Dr. Bill Bleuel is an award-winning Professor of Decision Sciences at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management. Dr. Bleuel’s expertise lies in the quantitative aspects of business. He specializes in the measurement and analysis of operations, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and customer retention. He has held senior positions in engineering, marketing and service management at Xerox, Taylor Instrument Company and Barber Colman Company. Dr. Bleuel has also experience as general manager in two start-up companies that he co-founded.

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