Everyone within a business should already understand the critical nature of Customer Service. It used to be said, that one bad experience with a business would be spread to 10 people. That was then, now one bad customer experience can be spread to hundreds and thousands of potential clients with one Tweet, Facebook post or Instagram photo.
However, the opposite is not true! One good customer experience will rarely be spoken of to friends or neighbors and won’t make the cut on consumers daily social media feed.
Building a successful referral network takes much more than just treating your customers well. A good referral network, which drives business to your company on an ongoing basis takes deliberate planning on the back of Good Customer Service.
How do you get more customer referrals, You have to Ask!
You work hard to make sure your clients are satisfied. Did you know your happy clients wants to give you a referral? It makes them feel good that they have made a wise choice and selected the right company for the job. So when their friend, co-worker or family member is also pleased with your services,it makes the original client feel great, they are helping out both you and their friends.
Asking for a referral needs to be more specific than the broad question “Would you know anybody that would benefit from my services?” Asking for a referral, within a frame of reference, will help them narrow down the playing field of potential candidates. “Betty, you and husband are members at the Golf Club, would you know anybody that would benefit from my services”. Your question will then be in Betty’s mind long after you ask it and whenever she is at the Golf Course.
Customer Endorsements vs Referrals
Depending on your business, physical referrals for new business may not be the only option.
Securing customer endorsements or testimonials is one of the best tools for validating how well you operate your business, building your brand reputation & image or for feedback on your products or services.
Endorsements are reviews of your products and service and can be categorized the following 3 ways. (For the purpose of this article we have not discussed celebrity endorsements)
1.Expert endorsements. This form of advertising highlights the opinions of acknowledged experts. An expert endorser must have evaluated the process using appropriate techniques, and he/she must be qualified in a relevant area. This type of endorsement should also provide supporting evidence in the form of tests, evaluations, and/or product comparisons.
2.Consumer endorsements. These endorsements feature actual users of the product or service being sold. Advertising utilizing customer testimonials must reflect the typical experiences of customers and the genuine feelings and findings of the consumer being highlighted.
3.Organization endorsements. Endorsements from organizations must reflect the consensus of the organization, and must comply with that organization’s standards of formal endorsement. In addition, the organization in question has to be an independent one (rather than one created wholly or partially for the purpose of promoting the advertising firm’s products or services.
Ensuring the authenticity of the endorsement or testimonial is not only the key to growing successful business it is the law in the US.
Once you have the testimonial or endorsement, make sure you use them to Maximum Effect.
Posting them on your website, on your Facebook/Twitter page, on your Linkedin profile, in your marketing campaign, in your store… wherever they will be visible to the public. Seeding the positive image of your business whatever the size.