You may put in all your efforts through digital marketing to market your product. Yet what comes at the top out of all marketing strategies is customer referrals. Customers tend to trust the feedback of your product more when it comes directly from its users. They tend to be more realistic and prospects can relate more with them.
Loyal customers are one of the biggest assets for any company. They not only continue to do business with you but also spread a good name in the marketplace. Hence, realizing this, companies have to take every single measure that helps building a loyal customer base.
Customer referrals is not a phenomenon that happens out of itself. You have to take conscious steps towards operationalizing it. And when done in a proper manner, it can add more loyal customers to your sales funnel. These customers tend to stay longer with your business and are in themselves easy to turn into your brand advocates.
So, how do you facilitate getting customer referrals? Before we jump into the ways to attract business referrals, let’s have a quick look at the way it impacts your business.
Benefits of customer referrals
In a fully crowded marketplace, where there are myriads of vendors available claiming to provide the right solution, it often gets confusing who to trust. Customers often tend to be suspicious about the various claims companies make in their marketing endeavors. They need someone who has tried those solutions by themselves and gives them honest feedback. These feedbacks are more valuable when it comes from other customers because they have a neutral point of view.
Customers don’t often get any benefit by sharing either good or bad reviews about a company. They just do it out of an obligation towards their community to spread the word about their experience with the product. These are the real-time feedback from the users and quite valuable for a referred customer to evaluate a product. When people listen to the feedback from someone they already know, they are more likely to believe it. In fact, in a report by Ogilvy Cannes, it was found that 74% of consumers consider word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.
So, now, let’s look at how you can take measures towards getting these personal referrals.
How to get customer referrals?
Giving the best customers experience to nurture a long-term positive relationship with your customer is the key towards getting these referrals. This is the rule of thumb. But when we break it down further, we can list a few actionable steps below towards the same.
#1 Strive to give a wow experience to your customers
In your everyday work with customer, make it a priority that you don’t just have to meet their expectations but to exceed them. Aim towards giving them a kind of experience that will put you on the top of their minds.
Going some extra miles in serving them would give them an opportunity to share with others what happened to them at work. These memorable experiences would have a positive effect in not just building a deep bond with them but also in enhancing the quality of their work experience. To give them this experience, you have to do the following:
- Understand what success looks like to them.
- Understand where they stand today and what would it take to bring them success.
- Work towards helping them achieve success.
- Go some extra miles in helping them achieve their goals
- Highlight your efforts and results in the end.
#2 Keep the right timing
When asking for a referral, right timing is everything. Every time you hit a milestone or achieved some great results for your customer, use this opportunity to ask them for referrals. You wouldn’t risk away asking for the referrals after you fall short of meeting their goals. Hence, the best time to ask for something extra is right after the success. The timing should be so perfect that a customer should not find any reason for why not to promote you among their peers.
#3 Collect actionable feedback
To get referrals, you have to win your customer’s heart. You would not be able to do so until you know what they really want. Your customer feedback surveys are a very useful tool in bridging the gap between their expectations and your deliverables. Make sure to collect these feedbacks regularly and, most importantly, to act upon them. This way you ensure that you don’t leave any stone unturned in keeping your customer happy. Once you take steps from the customer’s standpoint to satisfy them, they would be more than happy to share those experiences with others.
#4 Leverage different channels of advocacy
Direct customer referrals are no doubt the best way to get referrals, however, this is not the only way. When a customer is reluctant to share their feedback about you to others, respect their decision and give them their space. Reaching out to them for other channels of advocacy like case study, testimonials, or writing a review, would enhance your chances of getting referrals.
No matter which channel you choose, make sure that a customer is never felt pushed for giving you the referral. This is a totally voluntary action that a customer takes out of their delight. Hence, it is always better to work towards customer delight and proving yourself to be worthy of getting positive feedback.
#5 Create a customer referral program
There is nothing more effective in achieving a goal than to formalize the execution process. Asking for customers to refer verbally is one thing. But if you have a set procedure and guide them through it, there’s nothing like it. Introducing them to your customer referral program would help you win their confidence and trust. It would make them feel that this is something solid and serious that you follow in your company. That would make them participate more systematically and help them complete the process without any glitches.
Before you approach your customers for referral campaigns, you must know in advance what their response would be. It should not come to you as a surprise. Hence, timely collecting their Net Promoter Score is a useful practice towards the same. It would let you know in advance how satisfied a customer is with your brand and their likelihood of recommending you to others.16
While there are some short-term steps you can take to facilitate the referrals, there is no better strategy than always working towards customer delight. Going out of the way to help customers succeed plays a pivotal role in building their trust. And that is a key essential element in building brand advocates for life.
Rohan has over 11 years of experience in client services, marketing and hospitality field. Previously, he was head of digital marketing for a hi-tech mobile application. Rohan is driven by new challenges and the possibility of making an impact on individuals and businesses.
Published November 24, 2020, Updated March 01, 2023