One of the things I’ve realised about marketing in 2018 is that more and more purchase decisions are fuelled by word of mouth.
Twenty years ago, word of mouth marketing was a method used primarily by businesses to encourage customers to speak to their friends, family and colleagues about the products and services the business provides.
Back then, businesses would ask customers to say “nice things” about the business’ products and services, as well as highlight how the business was "better than the competition" and "provided an excellent customer experience" in exchange for discounts or vouchers.
Nowadays, however, word of mouth is increasingly driven by customers – not businesses – and mostly happens online. Thanks to the Internet, it’s become incredibly easy for customers to share their thoughts on a business’ products or services via online forums, social networks and messaging apps.
Consequently, it’s now much more difficult for a business to say it’s “better than the competition” or has an "excellent customer experience" without having to prove the statements, especially as customers will readily turn to review platforms, forums, and friends and colleagues to find out.
And as if this wasn’t enough, there’s also the fact that business today is far more competitive. Most businesses have an average of 21 competitors, all of whom offer very similar products and services (this problem is particularly evident in the software market where many vendors offer the same thing) making it hard for any one business to stand out based on product or service alone.
But what does all of this mean?
It means that instead of focusing on just updating products and including new features, businesses also need to focus on the customer experience side of things, too. The best businesses have great products – yes – but they also provide an excellent customer experience as well. In many cases, some businesses have an incredibly simple product but help their customers in such a way that makes those customers love it and want to talk about it!
Just take a look at some of the leading businesses in the world right now, for example:
Uber is basically a taxi company – just much easier to use.
Netflix provides on-demand films and videos - this has been around for a long time
Spotify allows users to find, play and purchase the songs they like - again not a new concept
Amazon allows customers to find and buy products online
What do they all have in common?
They are all simple ideas that have succeeded because of the excellent customer experience they provide.
And it’s not just global enterprises that do it well. To show you how small or medium-sized businesses can do the same,
I want to focus on one UK-based banking app company in particular – Monzo.
Just recently, Monzo reached 1,000,000 customers, which is a great achievement for a business that was founded just three years ago.
And while Monzo allows its customers to deposit their money into an account just like any other bank, what differentiates Monzo from all the other banks in the world is the excellent customer experience it provides.
In this blog, I’ll highlight just what makes Monzo stand out from the rest, so that you can do the same for your customers and delight them.
“Our passionate user base is the cornerstone of what we are doing here. Our growth through word-of-mouth focused us to rethink our strategy completely”
Bailey Kursar, ex-Head of Marketing at Monzo
It’s so easy to sign up
Product managers, business owners and marketers need to make it easy for potential customers to purchase a product or sign up to a service – and that’s exactly what Monzo has done. With Monzo, instead of having to go to a bank branch or building society and disclose details (such as proof of address) to sign up to an account, anyone can download the app and set up an account online. A few days after registering, new registrants will receive a Monzo card in the post with a nice welcome note.
Setting up a bank account has always been a time-consuming task, even more so for those under the age of 16 (which requires a parent or guardian to be named as a joint account holder) or those who are homeless. Monzo makes the process of setting up and accessing a bank account simple and straightforward, and allows its services to be accessed by anyone.
Remember what I mentioned about word of mouth? When Monzo was just a couple of years old, it had a backlog of approximately 60,000 users waiting to sign up, which would have taken it around two weeks to get through.
So how did Monzo manage it? Well, it gave each existing customer a golden ticket which they - the customer - could then send to one of their contacts, allowing that contact to skip the queue and sign up to Monzo immediately.
As a result, Monzo not only got rid of its backlog of registrants, it also generated more customers. Monzo still continues to give out golden tickets and once a customer has given out a golden ticket, they get another one to dish out a little later!
Through this process, Monzo has managed to build an incredible community of users and followers who love the business. Even now, around 80% of Monzo’s sign-ups are via word of mouth referrals.
Earlier this year, Monzo set up Monzo Labs – a way for existing customers to access the latest Monzo features early, as well as share their feedback and ideas to help Monzo improve its product. The advantage of this is not only does it increase brand sentiment (every customer loves being able to have a voice in a business) it also helps Monzo to create a truly customer-orientated product.
Customers want to be heard – and what better way to do it than to let them help develop the product or service?
Monzo puts up its product roadmap online each quarter, and allows its users to vote on what features and functionality should be implemented into the product first. Customers can access the list of upcoming features and functionalities directly from the Monzo app and can see which features are being worked on.
This level of transparency is awesome – and allows customers to find out what features are in the pipeline and make themselves heard! Just recently Monzo launched ‘joint accounts’, a feature which had been on the product roadmap and users voted for!
While some companies would keep outages or system failures under wraps as long as possible, Monzo readily communicates any issues or problems via its Twitter account @MonzoStatus.
By keeping customers in the loop, Monzo ensures transparency – something every customer wants in today’s world. Customers want to know what’s going on and what steps are being taken for an issue to be resolved.
It would be very easy for Monzo’s support team to just sit and wait until they get a customer query asking what the issue is – but instead of keeping customers in the dark, they just go ahead and tell them right away.
Ease of communication
Two of the most frustrating things about traditional banks are their opening hours and the availability of customer service representatives. Trying to speak to a customer service representative at a bank over the phone is a major challenge.
Monzo, however, has removed any communication friction by establishing a ‘help’ section on its app. If a customer has a question, they can simply head over to the help section and find resources on everything relating to Monzo and how to use it.
If customers want to speak to an actual person, they can chat directly to Monzo’s customer service team through the Monzo app (customers also receive a transcript of the conversation) and get an answer ASAP.
Finally, if a customer loses their Monzo card (or maybe it’s been stolen) it can be cancelled and replaced directly through the Monzo app.
“The goal is broadly to get to a stage where customers are referring their friends because they love the product and feel like they’re part of the mission – you need to take customers away from being ‘standard customers’ to being advocates feeling like they’re part of it”
Tristan Thomas, Monzo Head of Marketing and Community
The goal for modern businesses is to find a way to encourage customers to talk about them. Businesses shouldn't just focus on creating an amazing product, but also an excellent customer experience.
If you want to improve your marketing activity, attract customers and provide them with an excellent customer experience, Inbound Marketing is the way to go. Find out more about Inbound Marketing with our free eBook below.