The word-of-mouth effect

 

For small businesses one of the main advantages of the internet is that in theory they can reach potentially tens of thousands of potential clients that they couldn’t previously. Be it through social media, Search Engine Optimisation or an amazing website, the possibilities are endless. So, why are so many small businesses/one-man-bands NOT making the most of these cheap and effective marketing methods?

Although some bigger tradesmen/local services do have a web presence, many don’t. And there certainly aren’t lots of plumbers or electricians out there tweeting away! Is it perhaps because most recommendations they receive are actually word-of-mouth? Is it because trust is a key element of ensuring customers return again and again? From my own personal experience, when looking for a local service I am hesitant to call some random name that pops up – I’m not sure if they price reasonably, if they’re reliable, if they’ll do a good job. I’ll ask around first on my personal networks and only as a last resort try the unknowns.

What if, however, there was a way of combining the extensive reach of online marketing methods with the comforting ‘word-of-mouth’ effect? Well some industry-specific sites are doing just that. Online reviews, customer satisfaction and feedback are a key part of these sites, with the idea being that the ‘community’ rates and judges the services and then online ‘reputations’ are built up.

It’s the Trip Advisor effect – and it works!

However, at Skillendar we feel that this method has extensive potential and can’t wait for it to become part of everyday reality for communities and neighbourhoods. The added benefit of real time results and location-based marketing means there’s no wait time, which can be frustrating if there’s a sink blocked/freezing house with no water, or whatever the problem may be. Imagine a world where you could rely on such efficiency, reliability and credibility in any service you use? The true scope of this revolution in how we use and review services has not yet been reached and Skillendar can’t wait to get started!

Life will get a lot simpler.

Community is the new society

 

Ever since Margaret Thatcher claimed “There is no such thing as society” in the 1980s, the pursuit of materialistic goals and individualistic achievements at all cost has been viewed as a laudable aim in the UK.

A generation was raised to believe that “success” meant money, stuff and more stuff - acquisitiveness at the expense of personal relationships and neighbourly values.  Unquestioned by mainstream society and spurred on by the “greed is good” mantra, inspired by media images of power women wearing shoulder pads and yuppies quaffing champagne whilst watching their bank balances swell, the nation seemed hypnotised by cold, hard cash.

Twenty years and a serious reality check later, such values couldn’t be further out of fashion.

Ever since 2008, all of us in Britain (along with other western countries) have been slowly waking up from what seems to have been an extremely pleasurable dream. Rubbing our eyes, we’ve walked out into cold piercing daylight, only to realise that the dream was in fact a nightmare in disguise.

For many, this recession that seems no signs of going away quickly, has inspired a welcome shift in terms of the mood and mentality of the nation. Although fiscally tough, a whole new generation has been inspired by what were previously deemed as “old-fashioned” values of community spirit, cooperation and prizing relationships before personal aggrandisement .

Gone are the days when graduates focused on careers which were demanding, time-consuming and high-earning. Generation Y (those born between the late seventies and the early noughties) are instead prizing altruism, flexibility and ethical values above cash and status from the companies they work for.

Community spirit is seen as a key part of this new shift in values. Working together to create a better environment, be it globally, at home or in their immediate area  is now a priority for young people. As a neighbourhood network for you to connect with and reach out to your local community, Skillendar is proud to be part of this zeitgeist. We believe community cooperation is a key part of basic human interaction which is why we devised the unique calendar based skill search that helps you find the availability of people in your neighbourhood who are open to share their time or provide a service.

The future will be built by communities working in tangent, by pulling together in times of emergency, by prioritising a return to basic ideals. Whatever happens with the economy (and it can only get better- we hope) if your neighbourhood remains strong and interactive, helping each other and swapping skills and time, trust, security and ultimately happiness can be built.

This is our vision and we hope you’ll be part of it.

More about Skillendar