Referral Marketing Communications Plan — Tip #4: Give Great Service

Referral Marketing Communications Plan Customer Service Rep on Headset PhoneYou’ve heard it before – but I’m going to say it anyway. As part of your referral marketing communications plan, the number-one way to ensure quality referral leads is to give great service. Satisfied customers are much more likely to refer their friends and colleagues your way. Here are the top six tips for making sure your current customers are happy and ready to refer you and your product or service – you can look at it as, “free marketing”:

  1. Make it easy for your customers to contact you. Telephone or email: Prominently show your customer service contact information and make it easy to find on your website, business cards, email – everywhere. Few things will build a negative customer experience faster than the frustration of being unable to get in touch to resolve a problem. The positive side, of course: Few things will build a positive customer experience faster and more easily convince customers to do business with you than knowing you are easy to reach you if they have questions or problems.
  2. Set expectations. If you’re a solo-preneur and only check email between 9-10 AM, you need to let your customers know that you’re not there 24/7. Likewise, if you only answer your phone at certain times, letting clients know beforehand will head off any concerns about non-responsiveness. You can post your “office hours” on your website, business cards, and email signature. Or create an outgoing message on your phone, or email auto responder… everything that lets people know when they can expect to hear back from you. Be careful here: In today’s “instant communications” world, anything more than 24 hours is too long… for instance, if you will be out of the office for some time, consider forwarding your office phone to your cell phone.
  3. Respond to issues immediately… if not sooner. No business enjoys reading or listening to customer complaints, but avoiding them won’t make them go away. If anything, the longer you delay, the more aggravated your customers get. Answering quickly can actually head off little problems before they get big. You’ll never get referrals that way.
  4. Under promise and over deliver. If you think it will take a day to resolve a customer’s issue, tell them you’ll get back to them in two days – and then surprise them by doing it sooner. Under promising and over delivering is a quick path to your customers’ hearts – and referrals.
  5. Take the extra step. Do whatever it takes to make the customer happy – then go one more step. Offer a refund before it’s requested and provide top notch service, then find other ways to thrill your customers. They’ll pay back your efforts in loyalty – and referrals!
  6. Hire help. Outsourcing your customer service should be one of the first efforts you make, particularly if you are the sensitive sort who will get your feelings hurt by unsubscribes, refund requests, or complaints. This may be a good time to try out a Virtual Assistant. For as little as $10/hour you can get someone else to handle your customer service for you – a wise investment.

When you implement these ideas, you’ll see your customer satisfaction and natural referrals skyrocket. And when you combine great customer service with some of the other tips in this report, you’ll really experience the landslide effect that will lead only one place – to more clients and more money.

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