How to avoid negative Word-of-Mouth: A guidance for Marketers | UXCam | Blog

How to avoid negative Word-of-Mouth: A guidance for Marketers

Did you know?

Unsatisfied customer spread twice the word-of-mouth as satisfied customer.

Welcome back for the third and last episode of our blog series. In this episode you will learn about the effects of WoM and how to avoid negative word-of-mouth (NWoM) in favor of increasing sales. Previous episodes have dealt with the impact of WoM and the motives for consumers to engage in WoM.

Generally, one can distinguish between positive- and negative WoM.

NWoM is based on emotions and is communicated immediately. One driving motive to spread NWoM is self-acceptance.

Positive word-of-mouth (PWoM) in turn is described as cognitive and guided by a rational evaluation. PWoM is determined as direct or indirect recommendation to buy a certain product and driven by self-enhancing motives.

As a result, both forms are created by different intentions. NWoM is spread by the intention to restore self-esteem. In return, PWoM satisfies social needs and increases social benefits. Next step you will get to know the consequences.

Effects of word-of-mouth

Both forms have a decisive impact on consumer behavior. PWoM convinces consumers to try products. NWoM prevents potential customers from buying.

In general, it is difficult to measure the effect of WoM since it is not feasible. Nonetheless, there are methods to gather information. Many companies conduct surveys to understand how consumer become aware of their product. The tracking capabilities of social media enable to measure the effectiveness of campaigns.

It is proven that PWoM increases sales while NWoM on the other hand reduces sales.

A study by Luo (2009) states out that 1000 complaints in the flight industry resulted in a massive loss of $8.1 million. In reverse, an increase of 7% in PWoM can lead to an increase of 1% of company’s revenue.

In addition to that, one has to differ between online- and offline WoM. Offline PWoM results in more sales than online PWoM. That can be explained by the greater impact on consumer behavior. Additionally, offline WoM is more spread than online WoM. However, online WoM is trending and through the years one can expect it to become more dominant.

“Positive word of mouth is a marketer’s most valuable resource.”

– Word of Mouth Marketing Association Chairman, Brad Fay

Nevertheless, one has to admit that PWoM can be influenced and contrived. NWoM on the other hand increases the credibility. Regarding to this, products with an overall review of 4.5 out of 5 stars gain more sales than products rated with 5 stars.

The value of WoM is more than 5-times higher than paid media. 13% of sales are directly linked to WoM with a share of total marketing budget lower than 5%. In comparison, paid media drives between 20-30% of sales but with 50% of marketing budget.



In summary, WoM is omnipresent and plays a key role in consumers buying decisions. In comparison to traditional advertisement WoM incarnates diverse characteristics since it is driven by consumers. The reliability of WoM can be seen as the outstanding factor.

Implications for Marketers

Managers have to be aware of the power of WoM. Though it is not possible to influence the communication between consumers directly, they have to focus on delivering the best consumer experience possible in order to avoid NWoM. Following factors are decisive:

  • Treat your customer gentle

As the results above have shown: The word of the customer has a dramatic influence on the success of a company. Unsatisfied customers seek justice through their complaints. Show empathy and address them accordingly. It is easier and cheaper to keep a customer than to attract a new one.

  • Focus on service quality

Pleasurable customer support is essential for the company’s reputation. It is not exclusively about the message but rather about the experience you deliver. Firms loose up to 15% of revenue due to poor customer service. Take responsibility for your mistakes and keep on improving your product.

  • Create unique messages

Surprise your customers. Try to create interest and exceed expectations. Convince consumers to spread your content. Creativity is demanded.

  • Simplify customer interaction

Enable reviews and connect with your customers. 60% of online customers are reading reviews before making a buying decision. Reviews have the power to make a difference because of their credibility.

If your company is struggling in enhancing user experience consider UXCam. UXCam takes you beyond analytics to seeing real user behavior.

Never forget: Your best salesman is a satisfied customer – May the WoM be with you!

Return Of The Jedi Episode 6 GIF by Star Wars - Find & Share on GIPHY

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Looking to improve your app's UX? Subscribe to receive our top stories.