As a consumer, I often use websites that have reviews during Number 2 of the Consumers' Buying Decision Process: Information Search. In the last month, I've used Amazon to look at reviews for both books and music albums I was interested in. I wanted to upgrade my graphics card and processor for my ram, and went straight to Newegg. For software and electronics, I hit up either Amazon or Cnet. Only recently (tonight) have I used Yelp!. While Amazon and Newegg are great for products, Yelp!, among others, are great for reviews of services.
Businesses recognize this as well. I recently had a computer fixed at eBits PC Laptop Repair on the Ave (side note, I hate business names that begin with a lower case letter). I really only went here because it is very close to my house. Anyways, the shop was supposed to repair my AC input, but apparently my hard drive failed too. Jasper, the owner, replaced it with a used one for free, re-installed the operating system, and also backed up all my information and later transferred it over to the newly installed HD. He did this all at no extra charge, only charging me for the AC input repair. He hooked me up, and in return, he asked through an email that I write him a review. Here is what the email looked like:
You might have to click on the picture for a better view, but what he did was very clever. Instead of just asking me to give him a testimonial, he emailed me a link of his own site as well as on other review sites, he sent me links to each of the major service review sits: Yelp!, Citysearch, Yahoo! Local, and Google Local. If a business just asks a satisfied consumer to post a testimonial or review, they'll most likely forget, or may not even know about these particular websites. By emailing links to me, he did the hard part, and I was so gracious he had sent me links that I gave him a five-star review on ALL of them.
So here is a great example of what a business --especially a SMALLER business-- can do for extremely efficient marketing: engage with the consumer and make it as easy and convenient as possible for them to assist you word-of-mouth. The email I received was personal, it wasn't a mass email that most corporations send out, and my ultimate response was to help the company for helping me. He impacted my Post-purchase Behavior (Number 5 of the Buying Process) by reducing my fee, and in turn I will impact countless consumers' Information Search and Evaluation of Alternatives as well by writing a good review and in it comparing his company favorable to larger companies. His advertisements, which cost him almost nothing, can be found on Yelp!, Citysearch, etc.
- Joshua Gray