Thanks to social media, word of mouth marketing has become the most powerful marketing tool in the industry. This approach to marketing is exciting for some and a nightmare for others because the message cannot be controlled. Word of mouth spreads like wildfire by a few keystrokes of an individual who either loves or hates your service.
For a business to thrive in today's tech savvy world, an owner must view opening the doors each morning as a theatre company on opening night…you're putting on a show. Each day businesses are putting on a performance for each customer who are armed with amazing technology to tell the world about the performance. It's time to start dancing!
Perhaps no image is more synonymous within skydiving as the famous 'infidel' tattoo that went viral on social media bringing
attention to a drop zone that no business owner would desire.
Through the Eyes of the Consumer
Imagine if you were invited to be a secret shopper. Your assignment would be to take a date to the nicest, most expensive restaurant in town. This restaurant would only be visited on the most special of occasions because of its high price point. Excitedly, you accept the offer and look forward to enjoying a quality meal in a romantic setting with that special someone in your life.
In consideration of your assignment, what would it take to rate the restaurant a perfect five stars? One would think that the rating centers around the meal, but with more thought there are several interactions that take place before the food reaches the table.
Consider these eleven judgement points that lead up to the presentation of the food:
Website - In preparation for your meal, you elect to review the menu online. This is the first interaction with the restaurant. What image and feeling does the site convey? Hopefully it's positive as you send the link to your date to show where you're going... we want her to be impressed!
Directions - How easy or difficult is it to locate the restaurant? There's nothing more frustrating than getting lost!
Parking - Is parking readily available or are you circling the restaurant trying to find any opening?
Greeting - What is the greeting like when you arrive? For the price point and experience, we hope it's positive and warm!
Cleanliness - What is the appearance of the restaurant? This will set a tone. Hopefully, the soles of your shoes aren't picking up tons of dirt because the floor hasn't been swept in days.
Wait Time - How long does it take to be seated especially as you have a reservation? If you've made arrangements ahead of time, the wait should be minimal.
Interaction - What is the interaction like with your server? The gratuity will be high after the cost of this meal…we hope it's good!
Beverages - Having placed an order for drinks, how long does it take for them to arrive? If this is a first date, you may need that beverage to arrive sooner than later to ease the awkward silence!
Bathrooms - While awaiting drinks, you visit the bathroom. No one likes a dirty bathroom...anywhere.
Food Order - How long does it take for the server to take your order for food? Do you like to wave at a server when it's time to place the order?
Food - How long does it take for the food to arrive since you made the order? "Maybe the lamb is being flown in from New Zealand?"
Once the food has arrived there are more interactions with the server, an offer for dessert and the bill. If the food was perfect, and the eleven interactions prior to the meal were average, would you award the restaurant five stars?
Though all of the interactions leading to the meal are all small details, when added together become significant. To receive a true five star review, no detail is too small.
Above: excessive waiting is a major issue at DZ's around the world which only lessens a customer's experience. Between the price point and high expectations, this will not win any five star reviews.
As other businesses have had to adapt, so must our industry. As in the secret shopper example above, replace the meal with the skydive. We must strive for five stars and examine every interaction a customer has with our DZ's to ensure it's never average, but always exceeds expectation. Our customers are not just our tandem or AFF students, but fun jumpers and the staff that work for us as well.
The key to harnessing word of mouth marketing is to allow service and professionalism to be as important as the skydive itself. No detail too small when offering the single greatest experience life has to offer.