The Importance of
In this newsletter
edition, we introduce the topic The Importance of Referrals.
Referrals are important for consumers and business owners/managers. In
this issue, we will cover how consumers can access and use referrals to
select the best service providers. We will also begin to address how
businesses can leverage referrals as arguably the most effective
For the Consumer
Selecting the right company to replace your roof, build a new addition,
clean the carpets, etc. can be challenging. The key questions that
likely go through your mind include:
How do I know for sure that they will do what they
said they would do?
Will they provide good value for my investment?
Will I have to monitor their every move in or outside
Can I leave them alone while we are away?
Will they treat me / my family with respect?
Will they clean up after themselves and leave things
better than they were?
Simply turning to the Yellow Pages or an internet search engine to
identify providers of services that you are looking for will ONLY give
you a list of possible candidates to choose from. And, this would be a
potentially partial list at that. To identify "qualified" companies and
take much of the guess work out of selecting the provider for you can be
as simple as seeking input from others you know or better yet leveraging
a consumer advocacy service.
Seeking input from others you know can often result in obtaining the
name of a service provider that did good work for someone you know. Not
a bad thing. And, you are certainly encouraged to continue obtaining
input from others. The key drawback to this approach results from the
fact that you have only one customer's perspective. Is your friend or
relative lucky in that they received great service from this particular
provider but many others have been left dissatisfied?
As such, besides seeking input from others you know, you might also
consider a consumer advocacy service like
Angies List. While the service isn't free (nor is it in any way cost
prohibitive considering what is at stake), it is a resource that you can
leverage to obtain unbiased reviews and rankings on service providers in
And, one of the things that we've all had to deal with (as consumers) is
addressing issues with service providers that didn't meet our
expectations. There are a number of things that you can do in this
Reporting the company to the Better Business Bureau
Initiating a lawsuit
Putting a sign on your lawn that says "XYZ Company
Leveraging "Angies List"
Leveraging Angies List to address your "service issue" starts by
providing a testimonial about your experience and ranking the company
accordingly. Based upon specific criteria (relating to negative
reviews), Angies List will place a company in what they call "the
Penalty Box." You have to believe that this would be one of the last
things that a business owner would want to see happen. You now have
leverage (of a consumer advocate / network) to get your situation
Angies List to learn more.
For the Business Owner (or Senior Manager)
If your business is like mine, the #1 source of new customers comes from
the existing customer-base via referrals. Have you thought about the
fact that this is also the most cost-effective way to acquire new
customers? Think about it. You spent zero dollars in public relations,
marketing and/or advertising to have your customer share their praises
about you, assuming, of course, that you delivered an EXCELLENT
experience to the customer.
I've had numerous marketing and lead generation companies try to get me
to invest tens of thousands of dollars in their services. Why would I do
that if my phone rings and I receive emails from prospective customers
contacting me because they heard about the great job we've done for
The objective is to harness this EXTREMELY effective approach within
your customer acquisition strategy. How do you do this?
The first step to getting referrals is to deliver an EXCELLENT customer
experience. Are we only talking about the (customer service) people who
answer your phones? NO! This includes EVERY touch contact your firm has
with the customer. In summary, delivering an excellent customer
experience involves doing what you said you would do, ensuring you take
care of the details and identify ways to exceed the customer's
expectations by addressing needs that they may not have even known that
In our next edition, we will conclude the discussion of how businesses
can capitalize on referrals to increase their customer base by covering
the following topics:
Providing methods for your customers to share their
Leaving something (useful) behind as a reminder
Partnering with firms that augment your services
Addressing less than stellar performance
In the meantime, if you "aren't" delivering an excellent customer
experience, feel free to
contact us. Numerous firms have engaged us to perform a Customer
Experience Assessment to identify what they are doing well (and ought to
keep doing), opportunities for improvement, and a pragmatic road-map for
increasingly improving the customer experience. Finally, we also drive
your continuous improvement programs to ensure traction on your
website for additional information and resources on delivering an
excellent customer experience.
I recently engaged
the services of a cleaning and restoration company for my home. Prior to
doing so, I had to go through the process of selection. This included
contacting numerous firms, having them visit, scope out the job, discuss
options, timeframes and estimates. Thankfully, a close friend referred
Soilaway. From the first visit, until the job was 100% complete, I
was truly impressed. Impressed with the big things and the little
During the initial visit the owner purposely left his cell phone in the
truck so that he would not be distracted when meeting with me.
Through-out the job (lasting several days) I received calls from the
owner who checked in to see how things were going from my perspective
and to provide an update from his. I had direct access to him via cell
phone. If I called and he wasn't available, he would promptly call back.
The service tech assigned to the job checked in at the end of each day
to let me know how things were going and provided an estimated time of
arrival for the next day. If something came up (snowstorm, etc.), he
would call to let me know they'd be late. We were never wondering when
they'd show up!
Soilaway team (the owner, service techs and office staff) was very
personable, courteous and professional. This even went so far as our
feeling comfortable enough to leave them in our home when we couldn't be
there due to work and parenting schedules.
They treated me and my entire family with the utmost in respect.
Soilaway can be trusted to do what they say they are going to do…and
+ The Importance of Referrals
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Please join Customer Centricity's President Craig Bailey at the
6th Annual SCORE Conference, taking place May 13-15, 2008, at the World
Trade Center in Boston. To learn more and register online,
SCORE website. Craig will be moderating sessions taking place on May
15, including the much anticipated panel discussion entitled Driving
Operational Change to Get the Most Out of Customer Feedback.
About Customer Centricity, Inc.
We strengthen overall company performance through
better service delivery and management.
We boost efficiencies in front-line customer service and technical support
teams, order processing, fulfillment, field service, logistics and other
key operations functions.
In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your
customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner
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