How to Improve Your Customer Referral Program
Asking a customer for a referral can leave you feeling as if you’re asking someone on a first date (pre-Tinder days).
Nervous. Awkward. Unsure.
However, we all know customer referrals are the best kinds of leads:
- 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making buying decisions (Nielsen).
- 84% if B2B decision makers begin their buying process with a referral (Edelman).
- People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend (Nielsen).
Asking for customer referrals doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be awkward. With the right timing, incentives, and communication asking for customer referrals becomes much more natural.
7 Tips for Running a Successful Customer Referral Program
- Build authentic relationships.
First and foremost, in order for a customer to give a referral they need to trust you. Building meaningful relationships with clients takes time, but once established they will be happy to send business your way.
- Ask at the right time.
Studies have found that customers are most excited about a product right after they buy – making it the perfect time to ask for a referral. Many companies even incorporate asking for referrals into the onboarding process.
- Offer incentives.
Offering incentives can not only encourage customers to give more referrals, but it can encourage them to give referrals more than once.
- Set up the introduction.
Ideally, when you get a referral, there would be an introductory call or meeting where your customer introduces you to their contact. However, if this isn’t possible, make sure you let your customer know when/how you plan to reach out, and see if they can give their contact a heads up.
- Offer bonus incentives when you win new business.
Let your customers know that they’ll not only get rewarded for giving a referral, but they’ll also get a bonus incentive if that referral becomes a customer. This will help increase the quality of customer referrals you receive.
- Stay organized.
Make sure you have a plan for tracking and managing all customer referral activity. Activity you may want to track includes: who was referred, who referred them, when the referral was made, follow ups, conversions, rewards, etc.
- Make it fun!
The best customer referral programs are fun. A lot of companies incorporate their customer referral program into the advocacy program – where customers can earn points for completing activities and redeem them for gift cards, tech products, and more.
Remember, 83% of satisfied customers are willing to recommend your product/service to their peers (Texas Tech). All you need to do is ask.