The Power of the Referral: Stepping Up Your Customer Service is Invaluable

Businesses excel today not only from providing excellent products and services but through focusing on premier customer service that adds value to customers at every level. Customer service does not just mean reacting to angry calls or emails from a manager or someone with purchasing authority. Real customer service means cultivating a culture where every call, problem, or question is responded to with respect, courtesy, and an earnest desire to help.

Certainly, complaints are prevalent across social media, including the ever-popular “never deal with this company” comments so common from disgruntled customers. Such opinions circulating across the web, or negative product reviews on eCommerce sites, can turn away would-be clients in a hurry.

An article published in the Harvard Business Review several years ago expressed the mindset that what a customer is prepared to tell others about your business can boost your revenues as much as what the customer purchases. That philosophy is just as true today – perhaps more so.

Gaining positive reviews from customers has the opposite effect, gaining confidence for your goods and services and attracting new business. Making that happen is the challenge presented to marketing teams and customer service organizations. Together, these organizations can benefit from the power of the referral.

First – Make Your Customer Happy

It may seem obvious, but the first step in receiving great referrals is by creating happy customers up front. There are many ways to nurture good feelings with your clients and customers.

Leverage self-service. If your customers can locate the information they need easily in product documentation or online, it’s most efficient for both them and your customer service team. This generates an impression of your desire to provide the customer with the information they quickly and easily.

Use technology. More customers are using personal devices to seek out the information they need. Create friendly, easy-to-use apps that provide product information, instructions for use or assembly, and even instructional videos. Facilitate instant messaging or direct contact to customer service teams when needed.

Know your customer. Retain information related to customer habits and purchasing trends. This will help you target a meaningful audience for soliciting referrals. If you’ve had payment problems with a particular client that resulted in possible ill will, they’re not likely to shine a positive light on your business, even if the problem was their making.

Document experience with customer service calls and other contacts to track satisfaction levels and problem resolution. Your customer service goal should always be to handle complaints or questions courteously and effectively with the first call – hopefully with a single team member. This helps you build a customer profile valuable when seeking out referrals.

Build confidence. Customers must know that you’ll be there when they need you and that you’ll do everything possible to gain their trust in your company and services. This should be a major factor in training customer service resources. They are essentially marketing your company, so be certain they understand that aspect of their role.

Encourage Feedback

Now that you have a profile of happy customers, make it easy for them to provide referral information that you can apply to your website, social media, targeted marketing, and traditional advertising.

Soliciting surveys often results in a low percentage of respondents. Referrals that are easy to provide are more meaningful to your prospects, leading to higher conversion rates.

Include requests for referrals with billing or other post-sale documents and calls. Some customers are more open to becoming actual contacts for potential customers than others, but many will offer their positive opinions or thoughts that are invaluable to your marketing outreach.

Referrals can be obtained from many sources: email exchanges with customers, support or inquiry phone conversations, social media, etc. Make the most of all resources to solicit referrals or to open lines of communication for future referrals.

Attracting Powerful Testimonials from Your Customers

Gaining customer confidence and referrals that generate conversions requires attention to how business is conducted and how employees are trained.

  • Publicize your business effectively – keep your name active on social media, including popular sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  • Invest in training – ensure your customer service employees understand the value of their customer interaction from the clients’ side of the call.
  • Quality first – customers first want quality merchandise and services. Providing a quality experience generates positive referrals.
  • Be the experts – building confidence in your goods and services ensures that customers will point in your direction when friends or colleagues search for products in your market.
  • Honesty and integrity – never over-promise, and never under-deliver if it can be avoided in any way. When the unavoidable happens beyond your control, be upfront with the customer, and offer alternatives or other proposals to demonstrate goodwill and integrity.
  • Excel with customer service – this is after-all your face with the customer, and a primary opportunity to create harmony with your customers. It’s your opportunity to generate raving testimonials and a marketing advantage.
  • At Smile, our focus is on innovation and technology that simplifies and enhances our clients’ businesses. We place a high value on every customer referral and consider word of mouth and customer testimonials our most important and effective marketing tools.
  • Express to customer service teams that they are the best marketing tool for your organization.

Smile Values Our Customer Referrals

At Smile, our focus is on innovation and technology that simplifies and enhances our clients’ businesses. We place a high value on every customer referral and consider word of mouth and customer testimonials our most important and effective marketing tools.

Contact Smile today to discover how we create our own customer referrals from satisfied clients and keep our customers coming back.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *