In today’s digital world of Google this, and online campaign that, it is easy to forget that customer referrals are one of the most powerful selling and marketing tools available. In fact, many believe that the best way to source new business is a referral, or word-of-mouth from a customer.
Many of our seminar presenters have highlighted the importance of referral programs for law firms. Alistair Marshall, Partner at Julian Midwinter, has stated that lack of a proper referral strategy in law firms is one of the biggest missed opportunities in terms of business development. Colin Ritchie, consultant to law firms, recently gave a presentation at InfoTrack and recorded a podcast with us around the importance of referral programs for attracting quality clients.
All too often we deal with our referral sources the way we'd want to be treated. If we want to strike a chord with them however, we need to keep in mind that it's important to remember what they want and need. It's crucial that we find out what's important to the source of the referral in order to maintain and further develop a relationship with them.
The sad fact about the referral process is that it often works in the opposite way than we want it to. Studies show that people are much more likely to talk about your business when they’re unhappy rather than happy. One such study by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs showed that a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. The same study showed that satisfied customers tell 0-1 people about their experience while happy customers might only tell one person. Those are astonishing figures!
Off the top of your head, can you think about a bad product you bought, or a service you received that simply wasn’t up to standard? My guess is that you could think up double or even triple the amount of bad experiences that you’ve had over the good ones. This is because good customer service comes as an expectation in this day-and-age, in fact, people demand it. Your reputation is on the line It’s human nature to share our experiences and to help each other out where possible. The referral process usually happens without even realising it. One person discusses the great movie they watched on the weekend, or the great restaurant they ate at last night. Unfortunately for some, helping each other out can come by deterring someone away from bad experiences or services, which as previously mentioned, are much more memorable in our minds. In fact, it can take up to 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
Ivan Misner, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI (the world’s largest business networking organisation) makes this insightful comment: “You are essentially giving away a piece of your reputation every time you give a referral to someone. When you tell a valued customer that a friend of yours is going to take good care of them, you must have confidence in that friend.”
I believe you must have confidence in the company you are referring or the process breaks down. In reality, you need to be a cut above the rest and offer a great or outstanding service that will be not just memorable for your customers, but a service or product that the customer will risk their reputation for and actually trusts to pass on to others.
Where will your referral take you?
Here at InfoTrack we love providing our clients with the same excellent customer service that I mentioned above, so we are delighted to offer all our clients the opportunity to be rewarded for simply sharing this via our referral program.