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9 Levels of Word of Mouth

Posted by Doogie Levine

Last time we talked about the second part of word-of-mouth tactics which help you put together a system to help shorten your customers’ purchasing decision time, which can increase your profits immensely.

Today is not so much of a blog but a tool to evaluate where your word of mouth stands and how it affects your business. We’re going to talk about the nine levels of word-of-mouth which gives you a scale to measure the word-of-mouth circulating around your company, products, and services. You can then see where you are getting negative or weak word of mouth and find ways to correct it.

So, launching into the nine levels of word-of-mouth, it should seem relatively obvious that the negative levels are, well, negative, and the positive levels are positive. 

Word of Mouth Scale

Minus 4-Death Blow

This is the worst of the worst and means your product or service is creating a scandal. Remember when the popular over-the-counter pain relievers, like Tylenol, were deemed unsafe? Yea, you won’t want that kind of word of mouth.

If this is where you are, it is most likely a death blow for your business and you have most likely done something very wrong. 

Minus 3-Karen is Out for Blood

Disgruntled customers are going out of their way to convince other consumers from purchasing your products and services. They are boycotting you. 

They are actively making a seen, leaving bad reviews, making their tik toks. In some respect, this can be the worst place to be. Karen does not allow you to have a minute to respond and fix the problem. 

Minus 2-Unacceptable and Unhappy

While not outwardly boycotting, when customers are asked about you, they will give a negative response. They will take the time to leave a Yelp or Google review and most likely leave it at that. 

Minus 1-Solvable 

At this level, people are mildly dissatisfied, and while not outwardly talking about it, they will have an opinion if asked. Now they may purchase from you despite their negative feelings; this can be a little confusing. 

These people may stick with you because it is easy or the pain is not enough to change. It is important to spend time giving them a better experience.

Level 0-Neutral 

This is sort of a neutral place to be. Customers are using your products, but don’t really talk about it. People rarely ask them about it, so they aren’t sharing their opinion with others. This can be a slippery slope because you don’t want to turn that neutral experience into a negative one. You should work to make it a positive one.

Plus 1-Satisfied 

At this level, we are finally starting to work our way into the positive word-of-mouth about your company, products, and services. Plus 1 signifies that people are generally pleased with your products, but unless asked, don’t really say anything about them.

Plus 2-Tip of the Tong Solution

When asked, your customers will talk about how much they love your products or service. They will be a person who says something like, “o I use …” or “consider trying …”. These people need to be prompted but once they have been you’re their go-to.

They may give a review but most likely need to be prompted before they will do it.

Plus 3-Have You Heard About

Customers will go out of their way to talk about your products, services, company, and shopping experience with you. This is most evident when you see how people recommend movies to their friends and family.

These people will leave an unprompted review and 5-star score. These tend to be your 7-9 net promoter scores.

Plus 4- Champion

Your product is the toast of the town. There is an obvious buzz going around, and your business is the place to be. People are not only talking about your great products and services, but they are talking about their shopping experience, your customer service, and how they perceive the company to help them in the future.

These are the people who do not only leave a review but also go out of their way to make a social media post. These are your 9-10 net promoter scores. 

Some great examples of Plus 4 companies are:

  • Lexus
  • Harley Davidson
  • Lululemon 
  • Tesla
  • Apple
  • Costco

We’re going to leave this lesson for you to mull over and take a look at what kind of word of mouth you are generating. If you need help with this process, try our FREE test drive to get help from our experienced business coaches.

Next ti, we will talk about the 30 ways to harness the power of word of mouth.

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