What does a referral mean to you?
I’ve recently completed a couple of annual customer surveys for our clients – one in the financial services industry and another in the building market. In both cases, our clients received outstanding feedback from their customers on their products & services, responsiveness to issues, professionalism, advice and product quality.
It’s no surprise then that they scored a +40 and a +65 respectively in their Nett Promoter Scores. Now, you can of course search for articles on Nett Promoter Score and find some people that think it’s an awesome measure and others that don’t really think it means much. My opinion on this is I don’t really care about semantic arguments on a measure, what I care about is what this means to the client. Do they actually get lots of referrals, and what does this mean for their business.
So onto the subject of what it means to these businesses.
The first and most obvious result for these clients is they don’t have to spend as much on marketing their business to new customers. This concept of being a hunter(no pun intended) on the search for new game every day, or a farmer( who can work hard on their crop/animals in a paddock and reap ongoing rewards) is not a new one.
Word of Mouth is the gold standard that we are all aiming for in our businesses.
But why is this?
Well, to me it means, you’ve done a good enough job, to encourage someone else to put their personal reputation on the line and refer you to a friend, family member or colleague. And don’t think this isn’t a big deal in today’s economy. Every market is more competitive now than 5 years ago, every customer is better informed, and more easily able to research their options.
But many many industry surveys still tell us that we care about and follow the recommendations of our friends and business associates.
It means a lot to me and to my clients. They now have a responsibility to both the referred client, and the person who referred to not only not stuff it up, but to absolutely delight both of the parties involved. And if they can do that, as the two clients who are the subject of our surveys definitely do – it means a self perpetuating, endless stream of new business, and a guarantee of a successful and more profitable future, than if they had to rely on just NEW clients all the time.
In an increasingly competitive world, where people are more busy than ever, and receiving more advertising messages than ever. Where it seems we have less time than ever, and we’re not as happy as we were in the past. In this kind of world, it’s nice to know that we rely on a tip from a friend.
And it’s good to see business owners, who actually care about their customers enough to deliver on their promises, delight the customer and be rewarded with referrals.
Have a good weekend, and enjoy the lead up to Christmas.