You’ve diligently crafted a business plan, your financials are on solid footing, you’ve got a curious customer base, and now it’s time to grow your business. There are so many ways this can be achieved, both paid and organic, but in our modern “sharing” economy, one of the most successful ways to achieve growth is through good old-fashioned customer referrals.
The rise of businesses like Airbnb, Uber, and TripAdvisor have awakened in consumers the desire to share their feedback on their experiences with business. Providing an awesome customer experience has always been important, but nowadays it’s taken on a greater significance as customers are happy to tell their stories, both positive and negative, through your company social media profiles, and third-party review sites and apps.
Soliciting positive customer referrals has been proven as a source of organic growth. Here are our top tips on how to leave a lasting positive impression.
Provide A Personal Touch
If you have the capacity and capability to engage with your customers face-to-face, it costs nothing to have a chat, ask them how they’re doing, or let them know you’re there if they have any questions. Find a way to have a real, meaningful conversation that they’ll remember long after they leave your business. If your business is seeing a lot of traffic, prioritize face-time with your biggest customers. Retaining them and their engagement is hugely important.
Encourage Employee Engagement
Prioritizing customer service shouldn’t only be a business owner’s focus. It’s important to encourage employees to participate and let them get to know your customers. The more your employees and customers get to know each other, the more likely a customer is to come back to see a friendly face.
Strike When the Iron’s Hot
If you’re wondering when the best time is to ask for a referral, it’s when your customer is at the peak of enthusiasm. When you’ve gone above and beyond and a customer is complimenting your service, it’s the perfect time to ask them to provide positive feedback online. If your business is online-based and you don’t deal with customers face-to-face, consider crafting a customer satisfaction survey and distributing it to your regular customers.
Keep an Eye out for Talent
It’s possible to train your staff in a lot of different ways, but friendliness is unfortunately a very difficult skill to teach. If you, as a customer, come across an employee at another business with exceptional customer service, think of introducing yourself, sharing your business card, and asking the member of staff to think of you if they’re ever looking for new opportunities. Adding customer service superstars to your team ensures your customers will always be greeted by a smiling face and a positive attitude.
Celebrate Good News
We all love to be recognized for our work, and when customers give your staff positive feedback, celebrate it! Let all your staff know how important it is by making a big deal of it by talking about it in meetings, or posting it to a notice board. Your staff will be inspired to do great things if you’ve shown you’ll notice and appreciate it.
Customer Service consultants Bain & Company estimate a typical business will lose up to 50 per cent of its customer base within five years if they’re never followed up with. Your dealings with a customer shouldn’t finish the moment they walk out the door. Picking up the phone to call them, or sending a quick email to ask them about their experience, is an extremely low-cost way of showing you care and promoting repeat business.
Consider Added Value
There’s a reason that coupons, special offers and free gifts have survived the test of time. They’re an undeniably effective way of providing extra value to your customers and creating a positive feeling around your business. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but some small token of your appreciation will go a long way in creating an atmosphere where referrals will flow easy.