As expressed in the table above, respondents were still most likely to communicate a recommendation via ‘word of mouth’ (97%). Unfortunately, word of mouth is not a quantifiable measure on which spas can rely for immediate benefit, because we are unable to learn either the number of people that the respondent would tell or the length of time they would take to tell it. The intimate aspects of some spa treatments could lead a satisfied recipient of hair removal to tell only one very close friend three years from now.
Indicative of cultural shifts toward online communication:
- 60% would be likely or very likely to email friends with the recommendation
- 48% would be likely or very likely to write an online review
- 41% would be likely or very likely to become a fan on a social networking site
- 37% would be likely or very likely to post on a social networking site
Interestingly, however, there seems to still be quite a bit of discrepancy amongst respondents regarding posting on a social networking site. Responses were evenly spread from very unlikely to very likely to communicate in this fashion. Becoming a ‘fan’ on a social networking site demonstrated a more concentrated but similar spread. The responses indicate that these ‘social networking’ sites are not yet utilized by the masses for this purpose.
Unlike ‘word of mouth’, posting an online review will reach a quantifiable number of people over a measured period of time, depending on the site’s popularity. Interesting, given that comment cards or guest survey fulfillment see a similar curve, which suggests that a significant and unusual level of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) may need to be reached to trigger a positive (or negative) review.
This could also support the notion that only people who are very dissatisfied are likely to post a negative review, though we admittedly did not ask about that on this survey.
Either way, word of mouth may eventually become an oxymoron as spas seek ‘word of mind’; the thoughts that people type online in various formats. Certainly, the fingers are able to reach a lot more people than the mouth.