Customer feedback

A 3 Step Approach to Boosting Referrals

AskNicely Team

You can shout from the rooftops about how incredible your brand is, but there’s nothing like someone else singing your praises to build trust and new business with prospective customers. 

The truth is, we trust our friends and family a whole lot more than we trust brands, and the recommendations we get from them are far more powerful than most marketing campaigns. So, how do we get people shouting from the rooftops about our business? Follow this tried and tested 3 step approach.

Step 1: Start Measuring the Customer Experience

Whether or not someone refers your brand to friends and family is entirely dependent on the experience they had with you. In short: anything less than awesome is unlikely to create referrals. 

In order for a customer to feel so blown away that they just have to tell their inner circle about it, you have to ensure that the experience is consistently a 10/10. To do that, you need to start measuring. This will help you understand the gap between your service standards (where you want to be) and your customer experience reality (where you actually are). 

One of the most effective ways to measure the customer experience is by collecting Net Promoter Scores from your customers after each service is delivered. The NPS system is based on a simple, yet revealing inquiry: “How likely are you to recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” and is scored on a scale of -100 to 100. Many NPS surveys will also include an open-text portion with a simple question like, "Why?" or "What is the primary reason for your score?" to help uncover the qualitative meaning behind the numbers. 

When you measure NPS consistently and at scale, trends quickly begin to emerge. Common themes in your biggest brand promoters and detractors are revealed, and it becomes clear what your frontline teams need to do in order to deliver experiences that resonate and build a customer base of noisy brand advocates. 

Step 2: Use Automation 

Unfortunately, many missed opportunities for referrals slip by because brands don’t have the right technology and automation in place to ask for them at the right time. You could have a customer that’s more than willing to sing your praises, but because you don’t ask, they don’t tell. 

Have you ever had a terrible experience with a brand, and then received a message from them asking for an online review or referral request? 

That’s an example of a brand without the right technology and automations in place, they’re sending requests to absolutely everyone, happy or not. This only adds fuel to the fire of an angry customer and shows customers you just don’t get it. 

Instead of treating all customers the same, once you’ve started collecting NPS and your brand promoters and detractors and being categorized, you can utilize automation to send out follow ups to customers who scored you highly, asking for a referral. 

This can be in the form of a personal gentle reminder, a CTA to share the service results on social media or a shareable link that the customer can use to send to friends and family. By utilizing automation to ask customers for referrals, New Zealand Home Loans (NZHL) was able to gain a massive 7x increase in referrals for the entire year, which counts for $530k in revenue.

Step 3: Incentivize Customers 

Sweeten the deal by incentivizing customers to give referrals. Customers are busy and even the happy ones will quickly forget about their experience and move on to the next important thing in their lives. Incentives help keep your brand top of mind and encourage customers to take action. In fact, more than 50% of people are likely to give a referral if offered a direct incentive, social recognition or access to an exclusive loyalty program.

Here are a few ways you can boost referrals through incentivization and gamification: 

  • Refer a friend, get a discount. For example, share this code with a friend to get 20% off your next purchase.

  • Refer a friend, get a gift. For example, for every paying customer you refer, you’ll receive a $100 supermarket voucher.

  • Share on social: For example, share a before and after photo on social media for X (a discount, gift or to be featured on the blog).

    Test multiple incentives to find the one that resonates most with your customer segments. 

More Referrals Here We Come

To recap:

  1. Start measuring your CX using NPS
  2. Utilize automation to categorize data and send follow ups to brand advocates 
  3. Sweeten the deal with indecisive incentives

When you consider that referral marketing generates 3-5x higher conversion rates than any other channel, it’s worth getting onto these 3 steps, today. 

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

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