My homework this weekend was to sort out some flights, as my wife and I are heading abroad for a couple of weeks in September, and we like to plan ahead.
So Sunday afternoon found me battering away at every travel review site, online booking site and several airlines’ own websites trying to work out how to put our trip together.
It came down to a balance between cost and service. The costs were (fairly) clear, but assessing the service levels for approximately ten airlines was a very different matter. Despite using the mighty Trip Advisor, and reading customer reviews on at least four other websites, I was struggling to make a decision.
So after two hours of online research I did what any self-respecting 42 year old businessman would do – I phoned my Dad.
A five minute chat gave me all the trusted information I needed - which of the airlines he had flown with recently and whether they were any good. And based on his comments and recommendation, I’m booking our flights.
So why did my Dad’s opinion drive my purchase decision and outweigh the 100+ reviews that I had read on the internet?
Because we trust the opinions and recommendations of people that we know!
Surprisingly, this is not what we in the Customer Experience world want to hear, so we tend to ignore or bury the fact. Nielsen’s 2012 report on Global Trust in Advertising* shouted that 70% of customers trusted “opinions posted online” but that’s only the second most trusted source.
The most trusted source is “recommendations from people I know” (92%).
The problem for CX is that this Word-of Mouth is effectively invisible - which is a shame, because just one first-hand account from my Dad trumps any number of online comments from opinionated strangers.
If you want to know how your customers feel about you and what they’re saying about you behind your back (in the personal conversations where their trusted status has the most impact) then it’s no good trying to eavesdrop on their Twitter-chatter. You have to ASK them!
Find out how to encourage your customers to share their views in our Infographic:
*Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey Q3 2012