Word of Mouth - Still a Winner
In the past two weeks, I've encountered two local business owners who don't advertise at all. Nada. Not even yellow pages (though that's not surprising). Bill Krauss of Krauss' Auto Body and Chris Dougherty of American Service Company, (plumbing and heating) are living, breathing examples of how to run a business right. They have so much word of mouth business they don't need to advertise or hire a marketing person like me. While I should be annoyed at that, the truth is, I'm happy to tell the story even if it means putting folks like me out of business.
So, what's their magic? There isn't any, of course. It's just these few things - 1. Call people back - right away (within 24 hours but preferably the same day) 2. Show up, or be there, when you say you will 3. Ask questions, then shut up and listen 4. Do the work right the first time 5. Fix your mistakes.
At Krauss Auto Body, my friend Wendy brought her in Toyota Camry after a parking lot fiasco smashed the drivers' side door in. When she picked up her car 2 days later, the door looked brand new. Unfortunately, glass from the shattered window was still all over the front seat of the car. Wendy wasn't happy. She called Bill, he listened, apologized and told her to bring it back in. That afternoon, the car was vacuumed clean and returned to my friend clean as a whistle. Bill took responsibility and corrected his error. Though she didn't like having to drive back over to Krauss for the second time, she felt heard and her concerns were answered promptly. She was happy enough, despite the oversight, to tell me about Krauss Auto Body. I called Krauss on her recommendation and had them fix my car the next day. So simple.
At American Home Services, it's the same story. Chris and his dad, Chris, have been fixing furnaces and air conditioners for more than 2 decades. Chris says, "It's pretty simple. We just listen to people and then do the work they need us to do. Everyone seems pretty happy." Chris says he can't remember the last time they ordered business cards, though he thinks maybe they should. I guess that doesn't keep him awake at night.
It's pretty simple. Are you getting word of mouth advertising? If not, why not? That's a good question to answer.