What is the glue for getting customer referrals?

by Stan Phelps on March 11, 2010 · 0 comments

in what is lagniappe?

Are you giving a little unexpected extra?

I was just reading a tremendous post by Rohit Bhargava over at Influential Marketing.  As part of ‘Make a Referral Week’, Rohit talks about the 5 ways you can jump start the referral engine:

So the question you need to ask yourself (especially for Referral Week) is how you can make YOUR business easier for someone to share with a friend, family member or colleague. In other words, you need to be easier to recommend! Here are 5 tips you should consider to help you achieve that:

1. Ask at the right moment. There is one moment when your customer is likely to be happiest of all, and that is the moment right after they buy something. The decision has been made, and anticipation is likely to follow. Why not ask them to share their experience with a friend right in that moment? Use a post-purchase survey online or encourage your customer to write a review or even take some extra business cards with them as they walk out of your retail location. The more you can do to get someone to recommend your business right after purchase, the more referrals you can generate.

2. Create different levels. It is tempting to think of recommendations and referrals in strict terms. Say online review, and your mind probably goes straight to the sort of review you might find on Amazon or TripAdvisor. In reality, there are many different levels of engagement when it comes to online reviews, and hand written experiences are the most extreme. A much simpler style is what you may have seen on Facebook … the simple thumbs up or thumbs down. Star ratings are another easy method. The lesson is simple … to create more likely situations where people will share their opinion, try to accommodate for different levels of effort and complexity.

3.Let them save your details. The magnet for your fridge that your real estate agent always gives you is the prime example of this idea. The opposing idea to #1, the philosophy behind letting your customers save your details easily is that you want to be there in the moment when they do get asked by someone to refer a business or service. Aside from fridge magnets, for the growing digital savvy customer, another way you may be able to stand out is to always include important keywords in your email communications (and always send email receipts). Then your customer can search their email account and even if they don’t remember your business name or have your card handy, you’re just a simple email search away.

4. Have a personality. The basic fact is that people don’t generally remember businesses, they remember other people. For this reason, having a personality is of paramount importance. When you can foster a personal connections with your business, you give them a reason to remember and recommend you to others. This is the power of word of mouth referrals, that we will remember working with someone who we respected and will be more likely to actively recommend that person and their business in any relevant situation.

5. Admit failure. This last tip will seem like an odd addition to the list. After all, we are generally taught to hide (or at least never admit) our failures for fear that it may make us or our businesses appear vulnerable. The surprising fact is that admitting a mistake can be one of the unintentionally best ways to humanize your business. We all make mistakes, but how you deal with them is the real question. Nothing can endear your business more to a customer than making a mistake an going overboard to correct it (and not making the same mistake again, of course). So the next time you or one of your employees makes a mistake, own up to it and actively fix it. You may find that in the process you converted an unhappy customer into a brand evangelist for life.

Rohit is talking about the essence of ‘marketing lagniappe’ and the need to incentivize your clients.   Marketing lagniappe or a purple goldfish is the glue for getting customer referrals.

customer referralsGLUE is an acronym for ‘giving a little unexpected extra’.  Let’s look at Rohit’s tips and see where the glue (not the shoe) fits:

1. Timing – Lagniappe is about giving that unexpected extra at the time of purchase.  It’s the time you want to make an impression.  It’s based on recency and the concept that a consumer will tend to remember the most recent thing before leaving, hanging up the phone or clicking away.

2. Details – The Fridge Magnet is that small little extra that makes someone easy to remember you.  I agree with Rohit that this is important, but I believe you need to think outside of the icebox (fridge).  Take the idea of that magnet to the next level. What can you give that’s both memorable and signature to your business?

3. Personality – To me personality just means ‘purple’.  What makes you memorable?  How do you stand out in the ’sea of sameness’?  CAUTION – Don’t be fake.  Many times it’s about the ‘how’ you give your purple goldfish and not ‘what’ is given.

4. Unexpected – The idea of admitting to mistakes is totally unexpected.  This is a great pickup by Rohit.  I read a piece of advice recently that played off this same idea.  Admit your mistake, ask the customer what they’d like as amends and then always exceed their request.  This is brilliant on so many levels.  First is Dale Carnegie-esque . . . admit when your wrong and do it emphatically.  It takes the steam out of a complaint.  Second is involving the customer to be part of the solution.  Let them be judge and jury.  This speaks volumes about your willingness to make things right.  Lastly you exceed the proposed solution. Within reason you take the solution and notch it up one or two levels.  This gets back to the idea of being totally unexpected.

Where is the lagniappe in your marketing? What’s Your Purple Goldfish? Download the FREE eBook here

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