Get Customers Talking Behind Your Back

“True friends say good things behind your back and bad things to your face.” –

Are we serious – we want you to get customers talking behind your back? Yes – we are dead serious! If your customers are truly happy, they will talk well of you even behind your back and would be willing to provide constructive criticism to your face. This is exactly what the quote above states and is the best scenario for any business. Get customers talking behind your back – just make sure it is all good. Anyone associated with a company – customers, employees, investors, target audience, vendors and others have the potential to affect a company’s reputation through the kind of comments they make. We know that before people buy a product, they would read the reviews and experiences of existing customers. Hence, if your customers provide great reviews, your business could be becoming ‘famous’, even without you knowing it initially. Poor reviews have the exact opposite reaction and can potentially bring down the company. When customers talk well about a company ‘behind its back’, they help to build the brand and give it a formidable reputation.

The truth about customers talking behind your back is that they will do so without direct interaction, which effectively means that they would do so through online channels. Social media is usually the route chosen – the most public and visible option and hence if they decide to speak badly of your company, it could have serious repercussions. In order to get your customers talking highly behind your back, about your company, ensure that you pay close attention to them. Monitor their behaviour and respond speedily, especially to disgruntled customers, such that they do not need another forum to vent. It is strange and perplexing to note that despite social media and online monitoring being cheap and easy, companies fail to use it to advantage – fail to get customers talking about their business in positive and engaging manner.

Another reason to get customers talking well about your company – even behind your back – is to help with your company’s brand building efforts. Building a brand is not easy – every decision, every action, and every employee must reinforce the image of the brand, such that wherever customers look, all they see is a brand that aims to meet their demands and live up to their expectations. Customers would without nudging be glad to talk well about your brand even before you know it and may even push back on detractors. A company that remains true to its word and sticks to its principles and values even in the face of the sternest challenges and opposition would be highly respected, and trusted by customers. It would not be hard to get customers talking about the company in a way that would reflect their liking for and dependence on it.

It is not always easy though to please customers and keep them from speaking poorly behind your back about your company. There would always be some customers that have reason to be annoyed and would not hesitate to make that annoyance known to all. The best thing to do would be promptly respond with an apology, offline. It is never a good idea to deal with customer ire online – it is managed best by approaching the customer directly to sort out the matter. You want to get customers talking about you online – but only when it is all good and in praise of your company. There could be a possibility that customer complaints increase and would be with regard to similar issues – at such times, rather than waiting to get customers talking poorly about your company, it would be better to announce immediate changes to do away with the problems for good.

To get customers talking well about your company via the digital world, you must treat them well in the ‘real world’. The experiences and interactions they have with your company will determine how they perceive your company and if unhappy, they would ‘spill the beans’ and talk poorly behind your back, before you know it. We know that a very large number of people buy, post recommendations from friends and family and would see these reviews online. Hence, if you are able to get customers talking well about you, their views would attract more customers for your business, without even trying. A survey revealed that at least 81% people base their buying decisions on recommendations from others. It is up to your company to veer customer attention to the good portions of your company by ensuring that they receive uniform and great service at every touch-point and through every interaction.

Whether you want customers to talk about you behind your back or not, the fact is they will. Nothing prevents them from expressing themselves on the most visible channels and often without your knowledge. Their posts would influence their immediate family and friends, who in turn could spread the information to their extended circle of people they know and this would get customers talking behind your back, unfavourably and since your company would be unaware of it, there would be nothing you could do to stop it or remedy the damage. Their words would have already influenced negatively, the thinking and behaviour of a number of people – not the kind of talking any business needs.

To get customers talking highly, it is important for a business to know what would please customers and elicit positive comments – even without being asked. Customers remember positive experiences but unless those experiences delighted them, it is unlikely they would share them, meaning that despite your efforts you were unable to reap the benefits. This also means that for customers to get talking about your company, the efforts to please them must be consistent. A warm greeting, a smile, addressing them by name, thanking them often for their business, publicly acknowledging their achievements, and other such efforts – may seem small but go a long way in getting customers to think well of your company, spread the word, and continue doing business with it.

A company does not need to do anything very big or major to get customers talking well of it. Everyday transactions and experiences made memorable and pleasing create an impact on customers. Treating customers with respect and giving them the attention, they deserve, draws them closer and gets them interested in your company long enough to buy more and for longer.

Keeping the association simple and humane is a sure shot way to get customers talking with praise about your company. Customers are quick to perceive when service from a company is a mere formality and that the representatives seem unenthusiastic about caring or showing empathy for their issues. However, enthusiastic and energized staff would convey passion and interest – not only will customers speak well of your company, they would be more than happy to flock to your company and spend with it. Enthusiastic staff along with great offers, products, and regular feedback, make customers feel important and valued. It is natural to want to share these feelings with the people they care about, leading to them sharing their experiences with others.

The more a company engages with its customers and the more interested it seems in simplifying their lives, the easier it becomes to get customers talking and spreading the positive word of mouth. When you help customers, they reciprocate, by talking about you behind your back!

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