I recently had the opportunity to attend the Satmetrix Customer Passion Summit, an event that brings together professionals focused on improving customer experience to grow their businesses. Much of the content of the conference focused on the power of measuring customer experience using the Net Promoter Score. Net Promoter Score is a method used by many companies for measuring customer experience by asking one simple question, “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” In the NPS eco-system, customers that respond to this question with a 9 or 10 (0-10 scale) are labeled Promoters. Enter referral marketing. Referral marketing at its core is the practice of turning Promoters into Advocates, customers or clients who actively promote your product or service, by turning “likelihood to recommend” into the action of referring.

Here are three ways to drive growth in your business with the help of your greatest asset, your Advocates

1. Find Moments of Truth and Leverage them

Recently, I received an email from my credit card company informing me of the need to activate my newly issued Chip Card technology complete replacement card.

Problem was, I never received this card.

Problem solver mode activated. I log into my account and decide to try and solve the problem via live chat. What a magnificent customer experience! I was asked some well-crafted initial questions, I was quickly connected to an agent who was ready, willing, and properly trained to easily resolve my issue, and within five minutes a new card was on the way. (Insert mental image of me clapping the dust off my hands here.)

And then a question appears on my screen.

“How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?”

9!

And then nothing…silence.

What if what came next was an invitation to enter the company’s referral program? What if that invitation would have led me to share my great experience and my currently heightened love of the brand with my Dad who had just the night before been asking me about my credit card rewards as he contemplating a switch?

Finding these moments of truth, where your company consistently wins with your customer and providing your newly created promoter with an opportunity, is a phenomenal way to turn willingness to recommend into referral action

 

2. Make the Ask

The popular statistic attributed to Dale Carnegie states that 91% of customers say would happily provide referrals yet only 11% of sales people will ask for them. Customers love to talk about the products they love. In the B2B world especially, PEOPLE are very quick to share the ways the tools and systems they have adopted are driving improvements in their business. If these people are already spreading their enthusiasm for your product why not ask them to increase the reach of their good news by joining your referral program.

Amplifinity’s CFO recently wrote how hard the B2B buying process used to be, 20 years ago, before referrals were even “a thing”.  He remembers how he had to make his best guess, and inevitably always bought the wrong thing! He is happy that it is so much easier today to get recommendations for products and services.  Think about it, referrals have become a way of life, a key part of every purchase process. We have become so dependent on our network for so many things in our personal life ­- just yesterday a Facebook friend of mine was looking for restaurant suggestion for a business trip he was taking, and within minutes received a dozen referrals from people who were more than happy to share the name of their favorite place and even suggest what to order. With results like this, why not apply it to your professional life?

 

3. Make It Simple to Refer

The final way to drive growth through referrals is to make the action of referring simple. Creating a simple way to drive referrals means two things, making the advocate’s path to action simple, but also making your company’s referral management process easy to execute.

Imagine this scenario. You have provided your customer with a product or experience that has exceeded every one of their expectations and you have turned that every day customer into a brand advocate. You have discovered a moment of truth and are ready to ask your new brand advocate to take action and share their love, the last thing you want to do is risk decreasing that love by providing a referral experience that is difficult. Make it simple to share the love. Offer the advocate the ability to invite people to your brand using the methods of their choosing (i.e.-email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and make it easy to track their referral progress.

The importance of simplicity does not end with the customer facing portion of your referral program. One of the quickest ways to destroy any program within your business is to create a process that depends heavily on manual tasks. When providing programs that rely on time consuming manual tasks success often leads to failure. Meaning, the more effective the program becomes the more work that is created and the more time intensive and manual the program becomes the greater the chance of mistakes and failure. The lack of simplicity in this area leads to the same outcome with the new brand advocate, a loss of love. When program failure leads to missed rewards or inaccurate referral tracking you risk losing the love of your best customer or in NPS speak turning promoters into passives if not worse.

Your promoters are one of your greatest assets. Turn their willingness to recommend into referral action.

Want to continue the discussion? Email me at JSwenson@amplifinity.com

What is brand advocacy?

 

Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net