In an effort to share more stories from more people who’ve done it before, we’re excited to bring you a guest post from Influx, a complete customer support operation on demand: they build teams for eCommerce customer support to answer tickets, chats, and phone calls, 24/7, while regularly training and improving your team. Allowing your business to grow faster. For more stories like this, check out our tips on getting more sales through live chat and keeping your customers supported between support emails.
Customer referrals are a highly effective, tried-and-true tool that can greatly contribute to the growth of your company. A recommendation from a friend or family member can be worth more than many online reviews written by strangers.
If you haven’t seen it already, this classic study shows a clear correlation between customer referrals and growth rate.
Net promoter score (NPS) can determine how fast a company grows. This is especially true for businesses in the following spaces: airlines, car rentals, and internet service providers – the fastest-growing companies in these industries boast high net promoter scores. It’s no wonder that today, many software companies integrate NPS into their strategy.
How can you best leverage these referrals and make the most of them to boost your business?
That’s where support conversations come into play. Most successful businesses employ a team of support reps and managers working tirelessly to communicate with current and prospective customers alike.
Read on to learn how your support team can give those customers a little push to refer people they know to your company.
1. Ask for a public review – at the right time
This may sound obvious, but the easiest and most effective way of getting referrals from customers is by simply asking them.
Ashley King, Director of Support at 99designs, can personally testify to the effectiveness of this strategy. “If someone is on the phone with an agent, and they say, ‘Wow, I couldn’t have done this without you,” we say, “You know what, it would be wonderful if you could leave a review on these sites, if you feel comfortable.’ That works really well.”
Timing is key to making this approach work. When a customer lets you know they’re happy with your service, take this opportunity and direct them towards a site where they can let others know about their positive experience with your company.
The worst that can happen? They say no.
2. Reach out to your happiest customers directly
Another way to spot your most loyal customers is through NPS surveys.
Ashley goes on to elaborate,
“We survey every customer to ensure we get well-rounded results. They get an NPS survey and can leave comments, which allow us to get a great understanding of both ends of the survey spectrum — the good and the bad.”
Utilizing NPS at the perfect moment is an excellent method to reach the customers who are likely to give you a referral. This strategy can also help you identify clients who may not be fully satisfied with your service, giving you a shot at changing their mind and potentially getting a referral from them after all.
3. Keep your customers happy during every step of the buyer’s journey
Many say your brand is defined by the total of all experience with your business. Similarly, the customer experience you offer comes down to each client’s buyer’s journey, starting from researching, through purchasing, to using and reusing. You increase the likelihood of someone spreading the word about your business by making sure they are satisfied at every stage of this journey.
Case in point: Michelle Luchese, co-founder of Manly Brands, who understands that thank-you emails sent after the customer has made a purchase are only a small part of streamlining your buying experience.
“[Our agents] think beyond the question. It really helps the customer feel at ease when they have all the info they need, or when they receive extra help.”
“We continue to get rave reviews on the buying and exchanging/returning process. So much of our business is referrals from happy couples.”
If getting glowing referrals is your goal, it’s crucial to ensure your customers are satisfied at every stage of the buyer’s journey
4. Go above and beyond
Although a solid product or service and smooth user experience are essential to cultivating long-lasting relationships with your clients, there is more to it than that. Consider going above and beyond in your interactions with customers. A personal approach goes a long way in making clients feel special, which often results in more referrals.
An excellent example of a business that goes above and beyond is Warby Parker, a 1.2 billion e-commerce prescription glasses and sunglasses retailer.
Neil Blumenthal, the company’s co-founder and joint CEO, explains how they go the extra mile, “Our customer-experience team is constantly looking for cues when they get an email, when they’re talking to someone on live chat.”
Blumenthal continues, “We have had instances where [customers] start talking about Harry Potter, and then maybe we’ll order them a Harry Potter scarf and send them the latest Harry Potter book. Going above and beyond, that creates these great moments. And your community loves you for it.”
This is an approach that won’t break the bank or require complex strategies. All you have to do is really listen to your clients, and the rest will come easy. And the payoff is huge – you’ll be laying the groundwork for deep and lasting relationships with your customers.
5. Foster trust in your brand
Building trust is not a simple task, especially over the internet. However, your support team can be the catalyst that makes that process easier by fostering trust.
For instance, Sendle is utilizing its support team to revolutionize the postal system in Australia. Head of Support Eva Schaller stresses that Sendle’s superb customer service team is what paved the way for the company’s success in the industry, putting them way ahead of the competition.
“We want our customers to be successful and happy, and by doing this we’re creating positive word of mouth. When you send parcels, you’ll inevitably face issues, and the support team is there to solve problems and make the sending experience as easy as possible.”
This is not just empty talk – in fact, research suggests that 83% of customers are more inclined to recommend a business they trust to people they know, and 82% are more willing to turn into recurring customers.
You can’t argue with those stats!