Posted on: 09 June 2015
“Most business owners tell me that they get their business from word of mouth,” says Shweta. “However, what I often also find is that they haven't looked closely at systematising this strategy and figuring out how to get the most out of it.”
The important starting point for identifying who your raving fans are is to ask your customers who recommended you. Once you know who sent you referrals, you can then check whether they are an advocate or a raving fan.
“An advocate will offer referrals when asked,” explains Shweta, “whereas a raving fan does not need to be asked. They are so enthusiastic about what you offer that they voluntarily refer you.”
To get the most out of your raving fans and encourage them to give you more referrals, you might think to offer them a reward for their referral. But Shweta strongly advises against this approach.
“A raving fan is someone who offers referrals freely because they genuinely see the value in what you do and they want to help others,” she says. “Monetising that gesture is one of the best ways to nudge them off that rung of the ladder.”
“What you should do instead is keep doing the work you are doing – because it is working. Keep impressing your raving fans with the content and service you are producing, but do not link it to their referrals. Do not place special attention on the referrer when a referral comes in. You can express a thank you for helping you achieve your purpose, but do not deliver them a reward of any sort.”
Moreover, your raving fan has referred you to your new customer because they want to. How do you think they would react if that person complained to them about the service they receive?
“So make sure you take care of the person who has been referred to you,” suggests Shweta. “You need to affirm your referrer's decision to refer you by ensuring that this new customer gets your very best service. When they find out that they have genuinely helped someone by referring them to you, then they will be very confident about referring you again and again and again.”
Why CRM and loyalty go hand in hand
As well as being creatures of habit, humans are also highly sociable. The digital revolution has not only compounded that characteristic but it has offered small businesses an opportunity to really show that they care about their customers. There is no doubt that in return their customers will care more about them.
What to do next
So to follow Shweta’s advice, use a mixture of promotional activities to tailor how you engage with your most valuable audience groups. This will move your customers up the loyalty ladder until they are so loyal they’ll promote your business to everyone they meet. Rewarding them by treating those they refer with your best service will ensure that your CRM activity supports your business long into the future.
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