Any C-level executive or business leader understands that intensely loyal clients or customers can translate into measurable growth. Now recent research shows that by concentrating only on your most ardent customers, companies can add an invaluable tool to their growth strategies: referrals.
Start by asking your customers simple questions. When you give your customers the chance to give feedback whether the results come back positive or negative, there is a data path that will help your business pivot and continue down the path toward success and growth.
What’s even cooler is this issue is not about repeat purchases or even loyalty, it’s about a customer’s willingness to recommend your product or service off the backend of a high quality (we hope, right?!) experience. Giving your customers or clients ways to immediately engage with your company and then share those engagements with their friends and family is where your focus should be. Have these friends assist in your growth story. You need a strong audience to “tag” along for this referral ride.
Even in today’s world, where digital and automated marketing seems to rule the world, nothing replaces word of mouth from friends, family or colleagues and often today, that word of mouth is heightened by using social media. Gone are the days when you called up a friend to tell them how the new Italian restaurant near you serves up the most delicious lasagna you’ve had in your life. Now you just whip out your smartphone, snap a picture and post it on social media for your audiences to see. It’s free marketing for that restaurant and a quick and easy way for your loyal customers to share experiences with everyone — instantly.
Take a moment to slide your feet into the shoes of your customers. What are your customers putting on the line when they recommend your product or service? They’re certainly doing more than suggesting they had a great customer experience — there referral is based on a recommendation about price level or service or both; they put their reputations on the line for your business or company.
So it’s imperative to give the loyal customer the best quality product or service possible because one of two things could happen — 1. The referred customer has an impeccable experience and starts to refer, which means you’re garnering leads without having to pay a single penny. 2. The referral has a less than desirable experience and in turn, you lose both the referral and potentially the loyal customers at the same time. Yikes, right?
There are other factors that can influence company growth, from new markets to mergers and innovation. But no matter what, sustained profitability can’t be achieved without quality customer experiences that are shared far and wide through word of mouth.
Bottom line: real loyalty directly affects profitability. However, while the cost to retain regular customers isn’t always profitable, their decision to stand by a product or service is. Let and sink in a bit. Because overtime their loyalty will help reduce customer acquisition costs and top-line growth consistently.
A way to understand what your customers want and need out of an experience with your product or service is to ask them. By having a well-thought out survey with questions that don’t just allow them to give experience feedback but also referral feedback. Doing so gives companies the ability to report real-world insights that are actionable. It also turns feedback programs from “market research” into data used to develop more relevant strategies.