The “Holy Grail” in business is a word of mouth referral. The reason is that word of mouth referrals close at a very high percentage. In fact, studies show that word of mouth referrals close at nearly a 99% ratio versus other leads. The tragedy in business is that most companies rarely seek these valuable word of mouth referrals. On occasion, you find companies setting up a referral “program” to ask for referrals, but even that is rare in most cases.
These 7 customer service tips will allow you to seek word of mouth referrals in your business while also improving the relationships you already have with your customers.
1. Under promise and over deliver– You’ve probably heard this one before, but do you actually do it? What is your promise to your clients and how can you exceed that promise? Do something unexpected like finishing a project early or calling them out of the blue to check in on them.
2. Send them hand written cards– I personally have a stack of thank you notes sitting on my desk. I regularly send them to clients just to say thanks for simple things. People always love mail and they love a nice thank you without any hidden motives. DON’T send a thank you and at the bottom ask for a referral.
3. Keep ridiculous notes– First off, you have to have a CRM to take notes in. It’s a must. Add detailed notes after every conversation with your clients. If they mention that they collect rare dictionaries from the 1700’s, make a note. If they mention having a sick aunt that is stressing them out, make a note! Refer to your notes when you speak them next.
4. Get creative– There was a story several years ago about an autistic grocery boy that put positive sayings on little slips of paper and hid them in each customer’s bags. It caught on and customers would fight to get in his line at the store.
5. VIP program– Create a program for your top 20% of your customer list. Then tell them that you just upgraded their status.
6. Attitude – Have a great attitude. People love being around other people that make them feel good about themselves. Smile, joke, say thank you, and be positive around your customers.
7. Make YES the standard– I hate hearing the word NO. It sucks and no one wants to be told NO. So make YES the standard in your company. Find a way to make it work if you can.
While these tips are all simple, they take a commitment to customer service excellence to implement. I suggest starting with one or two and getting those systemized before implementing the rest of the list.