Small Business

Encouraging Customer Referrals

If you have any doubt that customer referrals are important, consider these recent stats:

Positive customer referrals can be an amazing growth tool for a small business, so how can you encourage positive customer referrals for your small business?

Try these three strategies.

Encouraging Customer Referrals

Offer exceptional customer service—every time

There’s no way around it: positive customer referrals have to be earned.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to prevent negative word of mouth. People are much more likely to share a bad experience than praise a business.

The best way to earn positive customer referrals is to make your customers feel special each and every time they come in contact with you and your brand.

Here are a few simple ways to win over your customers:

  • Be friendly and approachable in person and online
  • Get to know your customers personally
  • Ensure customers are greeted promptly and don’t wait long to complete a transaction
  • Express gratitude for ongoing business
  • Offer perks for loyalty
  • Pay attention to the details
  • Be honest, always
  • If something goes amiss, take immediate steps to resolve the problem to the customer’s satisfaction.

Invite—and reward—referrals

You can increase the odds of customer referrals by providing an incentive—such as a freebie or discount on their next purchase for completing a review on your website, Yelp, or Angie’s List.

Try an app like Wufoo to set up a simple referral form right on your website. Make it easy to pass on your e-newsletter to more potential customers with a web based referral system that automates the process.

Don’t miss an opportunity

Remember to ask the folks who praise your products and customer service that you’d love a testimonial for your website, or a shout out on social media.

On that note, it’s essential to keep track of what people are saying about your brand online—whether the talk is positive or negative. Be sure to take a moment to thank your fans for their kind words. As an added bonus, replying to positive business reviews can help give them a bump in search results.

Be sure to respond appropriately to negative reviews, too. Consider a bad review an opportunity to make things right. It’s much better to know what people are saying and respond than allow a problem to fester.

Check out this article for useful tips on the right way to respond to positive and negative reviews.

Final thoughts on customer referrals

As you make efforts to increase referrals for your business, remember this: it’s the element of surprise that really gets people talking about a company. Think about how you can do more than meet your customers’ expectations, but dramatically exceed them. They’ll not only tell their friends about you—they’ll keep coming back for more.