Benchmark Business Group

What Should You Change to be More Refer-Able?

September 13, 2016

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Last week we explained the necessity in having a referral strategyWe also introduced you to three reasons a customer refers your business to others. And, we challenged you to think like your customers and experience why you would refer your business to others. The next step, and what we are covering this week, is starting to make the necessary changes so you are more referable.

When you took on our challenge and put yourself into your customer shoes, what did you discover? Did you have a consistent experience? Was it easy and pleasant to do business? Was it such a good experience you wanted to share it with others? These questions are a great place to start in making your business referable.
  • Are our customers receiving a consistent experience? Most of us can remember a time when we went into a business as a customer and had a great experience, and then the next time we went; it was a totally different experience. It's a lot like being a customer for two different businesses. One business you want to visit again and the other you don't. How does this relate to referrals? If your customers don't have consistently good experiences, they're not likely to refer others because they couldn't predict if the person they are referring will have the good experience or the not so good experience. The point is, if you want your customers to refer others to your business, they need to have a consistently good experience each and every time.    
  • Are we easy and pleasant to do business with? This is usually a no brainer. If it's an easy and pleasant experience being your customer, your customers are more likely to recommend you to others. However, you need to make sure your customers think it was easy and positive, not you! You may think your sales process and steps are quick, easy, and efficient. But does your customer? They may have totally different thoughts. They may be thinking it was long, tedious and unnerving. So, how do you know if your customers think it's easy to do business with you? Ask! There are several processes you can implement for this feedback.
    • It can be a simple question asked after a sale; how could we have made your buying experience better?
    •  Use surveys - they work! You can email a survey within 24 hours of a customer purchase; you can call them and gather feedback by phone, or use a hard copy survey and catch your customers while they're still in your business.  Surveys let your customers know you care about their experience and are seeking to improve it.
    •  If your customers are local you can host a customer appreciation event and take the opportunity to interact with them, gather feedback about their buying experiences and learn their perspective on how easy your business is to do business with.
These are only a few ideas; and we encourage you to be creative in asking for feedback in your business. Whatever you plan, the point is to ask!
  • Do we give an experience worth sharing with others? When you have a new customer do you know where they heard of you, or why they chose to enter your business and not another business? Knowing which new customers come from what sources is knowledge you want to capture - including referrals.
Capturing this information doesn't need to be complicated - it just needs to be a process.  It can be a simple process of asking your customers how they heard of you. If they say someone told them about you - find out who! Find out why! If you can gather the name of who referred them, then you can further the process by connecting with your successful referral sources and having a discussion on why they refer you and collaborate on how they will refer you on a regular basis.
You can chose to implement one of these processes in being more referable, or create your own process. The challenge we have for this week is to invest some time in your business to put in simple processes to gather customer information and capture referral results.

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