We are social animals. What others do does have some influence on us one way or the other. When we listen to someone because the person doing the talking is someone we trust—that’s where social influence starts. We’ll even buy a product based on the fact that others seem to think it’s great. But it’s not just a great product that gets social tongues wagging—it’s the overall experience with the brand when we look at that product, buy the product, and have it delivered. How many times have you been burned when buying a product you thought would be great at first blush, only to have a horrible experience with the vendor when it came to the purchase? Perhaps the website was glitchy or the navigation not very intuitive—or maybe you couldn’t complete the purchase without jumping through a million hoops. Or you couldn’t return the product for a full refund if you weren’t happy.
We all want our purchase experience to be smooth and trouble-free, whether we’re at a traditional store or buying something online. And when things go south, we’re more than willing to complain about it on social channels. That’s the negative side of social influence—and it’s a powerful force. There have been many great products invented and marketed that could have done well, but poor planning around customer experience killed them. Experience is one of the biggest factors in success, and today’s lightning-fast social word of mouth can have a make-or-break influence.