Learn how to improve customer service and get more referrals.
Almost every time I've asked a client where their best customers come from, the answer is the same.
"Our best customers come from referrals."
Gartner put together some numbers around this, in what they called the balance of trust.
Before purchase, people are 65% more likely to trust a third party (a referee) than they are to trust your marketing and sales messages. After purchase, it flips the other way, with customers being 80% more likely to trust what you say.
A word in your prospect’s ear from one of their colleagues or business partners could save you months, even years, of relationship building. A referral already trusts you when they pick up the phone.
So how do you generate more of them?
How the customer service experience impacts referrals
To understand how to get more referrals, we need to understand what makes a promoter.
As people, we’re a communicative lot. We like to talk. Social skills like this are one of the reasons we evolved into the dominant species on the planet, equipping us with the language we needed to communicate, collaborate, and share essential survival tips.
- Our tree-swinging days might be behind us, but communication still serves to give us a competitive edge today.
- We're more likely to buy based on an impartial recommendation than from any other source.
- And when we do, we usually spend more, stay around longer, and make more positive referrals ourselves.
On the flip-side, nothing travels faster than bad news. This too has its roots in our ancestry. If we discover something bad, like "this company doesn’t deliver" or "there’s a tiger behind you", we warn everyone who'll listen (over Twitter if not the depths of the jungle, though you'd be forgiven for mixing up the two).
In the digital age, exceptional customer service is everything. So how do you deliver?
How to successfully improve customer service
1. Build a positive culture around feedback
We all hope that our customers will say good things about us to others. But actually asking for feedback is something that many of us are understandably reluctant to do.
Chasing feedback is perceived by some as being crass or desperate. But without that impetus, many customers won’t be as vocal about a good experience as they would if they had a bad one (the tiger is a more pressing concern than a pat on the back, so to speak).
It’s easy to think that excellent service doesn't warrant praise because it should be the norm. Yes, we should strive to exceed customer expectations whenever possible, but that doesn’t mean that everyone feels that way — or that everyone succeeds at it. And when you do, that deserves shouting about.
2. Request written reviews
Customer reviews could be the missing piece to your wider inbound strategy puzzle.
Today, we do a lot of our communicating online. The uplift in businesses embracing digital and social has made it increasingly difficult for everyone to reach their target buyers. This calls for alternative lead generating techniques such as customer referrals and reviews.
Through HubSpot’s recently launched Service Hub, you can deploy surveys that gather feedback which can be used to improve customer experience.
Feedback responses can then trigger automated customer service processes such as marketing emails and internal team notifications, obtaining even more valuable insights for your business.
Customer reviews are the easiest way to provide the reliability and authenticity your prospects are looking for. Reading relatable reviews enables prospects to put themselves in previous customers’ shoes, making the process of moving further along the buyer’s journey more seamless.
3. Invest in your customer service delivery
Quality customer service is key to maximising the value of your existing database. The experience your customers have when they buy from you shouldn’t be an afterthought; today it encompasses strategy, activity, and technology and is an integral part of your business growth flywheel.
If you're already thinking about how to build these tips into your sales and marketing strategy, you have that base covered.
- Who's responsible for making sure feedback is gathered and reviews are posted?
- How will you track the impacts of this?
- And what qualifies as success?
A key feature of Service Hub is the ability to log customer issues as tickets. This ensures they’re assigned to the appropriate team member and prioritised accordingly.
Better yet, over time your business will be able to transform customers’ frequently asked questions into a comprehensive knowledge base of helpful articles that address their challenges.
What technology could you be implementing to improve the customer service experience?
How to improve customer service overnight
Being as flexible and receptive as possible to customers’ feedback and ideas demonstrates your ability to truly listen and provide solutions unique to their business.
Service Hub’s live chat tool makes this even easier, enabling you to engage in contextual, personalised conversations with your customers in real-time.
Your business should always have the following questions in mind: who are you selling to and what will that target buyer consider great customer service?
The quickest way to improve the customer experience is to listen to your customers. We can claim to understand the importance of tailored service but how many of us actually act on this feedback? Showing the customer you've listened — now there’s a way to make an instant, lasting impression.
A phenomenal opportunity to drive dependable, sustainable business growth stands before you. To take the first step towards marketing ROI, download our 80-page ebook.