Rachel Eisenhauer Wed Jul 18, 2012

“You gotta try this!” … It’s a phrase that draws you in. There’s excitement, satisfaction and wonder behind it. For brands it is the ultimate compliment – a word of mouth recommendation. A verbal Like button, it is a sign of success and the underlying component to NPS (net promoter score) aka “the ultimate customer satisfaction question.”

Why do consumers recommend? What do they recommend? Why do you recommend? If my expectations are met or exceeded, then I’m endorsing the item. The degree that I share a recommendation depends on the level to which my expectations were exceeded. It also depends on the type of item I purchased. Ultimately, I believe that consumer recommendations stem form this equation:

Quality + Innovation = Like  

For the sake of this blog a customer’s recommendation can be separated into three categories: a product, a service, and an experience. Here are some examples:

A Product

I recently went to Best Buy to upgrade from my ugly, big, dumb TV to a new sexy, sleek, smart TV. I had a price in mind and an idea of the brands I liked, but was unaware of how to prioritize the features. I wound up buying a new Samsung SmartTV (at right)  and needless to say, I love it. It has a clear picture, beautiful design, 3D image and I can stream videos from the web! Would I recommend? Yes. Why? Because my purchase far exceeded my expectations – the quality is incredible and with voice/gesture control and endless apps, it is at the top of the innovation pyramid.

A Service

My wife Trudie is the consummate consumer, loving a great customer experience. While writing this I asked her what company she would recommend. I was surprised when she told me PayPal, until she explained why. PayPal allows people to exchange money seamlessly and PayPal Serviceoffers easy solutions, so the quality is there. And though there are other similar services offered today (especially peer-to-peer payments such as Venmo), PayPal was the pioneer in online payment services and it innovated the category. Would Trudie recommend it? Absolutlely.

An Experience

The net is filled with great customer experiences, so I turned to old Betsy (that’s my nickname for everything WWW) for an example, and found one near to my heart. Last year Brad decided to switch his home cable and Internet provider and signed up for AT&T U-verse service. One month later he received a video bill (at left). A cable bill is not new, not exciting and certainly nothing that most would ever share. However, Brad did not receive a bill. Brad received a “video bill”: an innovative new way to explain monthly charges in a clear and engaging format. This is different. This is worth sharing, which is what Brad did via YouTube, as well as others via Twitter (below). Would they recommend? Of course, and they did.

 

 

 

So what does it all mean? People talk, always have and always will. But today there are a lot more channels to share customer experiences and loyalty. People recommend brands that deliver quality items that are innovative and exceed customer expectations aka Like = Quality + Innovation. Good brands are aware of these conversations. Great brands such as AT&T leverage these conversations by continually searching for innovation. Without constantly innovating, brands become stale and lose loyal customers. For that reason, it’s important to constantly think outside of the box, push yourself for greatness and … stay thirsty my friends.

What are some of your favorite brands that are constantly innovating, that you are always recommending to your networks? Please share them in the comments below and let us know why you recommended them!

 

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