Referrals are essential for the growth of a business. While existing customers are instrumental to the success of your business, your ability to create new customers will increase sales and drive higher profit margins. A study by Nielsen revealed that 84% of customers occasionally or always act on personal recommendations. Hence, businesses should harness the power of word-of-mouth recommendations as they play a decisive role in creating brand awareness, building a positive brand image and gaining new customers. Also, given that customer recommendations lead to increased word-of-mouth sales, they can reap a higher ROI for your organization. Keeping this in mind, while referrals are sometimes provided by customers on their own accord, developing a comprehensive plan to increase recommendations will bring twofold benefit. It would enhance the credibility of your business and convince referred customers that they cannot go wrong by doing business with you. Here are some tips for your business to increase customer referrals.
Create a Solid Plan for Generating Referrals
The first step towards receiving quality referrals is to ensure that your customers are happy at all times. Hence, you should offer products and services that consistently stand out in terms of quality, price and utility. This is all the more important because compromising on customer service and experience excellence can decrease the number of referrals you receive from customers. Promise newly referred customers that your organization would provide stellar service and support without fail. Adopt a multichannel support strategy by being available for customers via phone, live chat support and email. Live chat can be used for providing customers with seamless and uninterrupted 24/7 online guidance. Deliver on your promises at every touch point and follow up with customers to ensure that everything is up to their satisfaction level.
Cultivate a Strong Customer-Brand Relationship
You cannot expect customers to recommend your business to others unless you create lifelong relationships with them. It is important to understand that customers provide referrals on the basis of trust. Therefore, every interaction and transaction should be conducted on the foundation of your customers’ best interests. Taking this into consideration, the first step towards developing a strong customer-brand relationship is to acknowledge that customers will only believe in your brand if they are certain of your ability to consistently deliver value to them. Also, show customers that you care by staying in touch with them even if they haven’t done business with you for some time. You can even surprise and delight customers by going the extra mile by doing something meaningful for them. Offering small gifts or add-ons in a product-based business will also please customers and compel them to put in a good word for your organization.
Offer Double-Sided Rewards
An effective referral program is one in which your business offers rewards and incentives to both referrers and newly referred customers. You can develop a special customer appreciation campaign to recognize and reward existing customers for their recommendations, and to welcome new customers. It could be as simple as offering money off on your customers’ next purchases, gift certificates, redeemable coupons and vouchers, discounts, premium items, loyalty points which customers could unlock for other rewards etc. Feature these rewards and convey their details across all touch points so that customers would be incentivized to take quick action. For instance, communicate your rewards via email, live chat, your company newsletter, brand pages on social media etc.