Monday, May 2, 2011

The Word-Of-Mouth Revolution is hitting Australia

The secret is out: customer reviews are revolutionising the way consumers make decisions.

Thousands of people are reporting that they've found amazing businesses - often right under their noses - using word-of-mouth on the web. In some senses, it's word-of-mouth as it's always been - but being online, it's more powerful than ever.

According to Rachael, a WOMOW member, customer reviews are giving "the power back to the people", putting more information in their hands and allowing them to make a more informed decision.

It's a revolution that's changing the way customers connect with businesses. In the words of some WOMOW members;

  • "I use WOMOW to find new businesses to use, as hearing first hand from somebody who has used the business helps me find a reliable, friendly service to use. I often use WOMOW at work, as I organise everything from printing to transport. I found a great printing supply company to get my ink for our office printer, and I am still using them to this day!" Cassie
  • "Before I go to any business, I usually take a look to see if anyone's given it a rating. This is often for restaurants, but I also use it for service industries too. Not only has it saved me the hassle of finding businesses around my area quickly, it also gives me obviously their reviews so I know whether they will do a good job or not. I'm not one that likes being disappointed, and by using WOMOW, I can easily avoid this." Edward
  • "Our family has learned to 'WOMOW' any prospective business prior to use, as this seemingly minor action has the potential to have major consequences. After all, avoiding an incompetent and uncaring business will save us all a considerable amount of time, effort and money in the long run. We learn from other people’s mistakes and avoid problematic businesses by 'WOMOWing' them prior to doing business with them." Jayne
While traditional directories are suffering a severe decline, Word Of Mouth On the Web is growing at an alarming rate. In the last 12 months, we've seen searches for reviews on businesses double and many businesses report that online reviews account for a significant proportion of their new customers. In fact, it's estimated that 1 in 4 Australian decision-makers have used reviews on WOMOW to help them find great businesses during the last 12 months.

Consumers are becoming more informed and don't put much trust in traditional advertising;

  • "While we, as a family seldom trust advertising gimmicks/sources these days, we do however place a great deal of importance on 'personal' reviews." Jayne
  • "Normal advertising is there to convince us to use their service or product, I love reviews from other people just like me who just want to get good service without having to deal with bad experiences along the way. Reviews are more honest!" Cassie
  • "Any business can espouse and exaggerate their own virtues, and we would be none the wiser until we actually try them out. Thankfully, through sites like WOMOW, we can get a real description of what the business is like to interact with. Nothing truer spreads like word of mouth." Krystle

Word-of-mouth is becoming a revolution that's changing the ways that customers find out information about businesses, and also changing the ways that businesses market themselves and manage their reputations. Customers are loving being able to establish more of a voice within the business world, and as Edward Wong, a WOMOW member states, "businesses should sit up and take note as it's now all about customer service and if we're not happy, we now have another means to voice our opinion".

It may not be too long before WOMOW is having a similar impact to which is now the 15th most popular site in the United States and has an enormous impact on both consumers and businesses.