“The best compliment you can give me is the referral of the people who trust you”
In a previous post I addressed the need for every CEO to see their customers as their number one asset. I also touched on the need to create relationships with outside influencers like analysts and journalists that cover the space you are in.
If you are like most CEO’s you realize this effort is going to take time and it is going to take resources to accomplish. The last thing you want to do is make this a big focus and have it wash out.
You can rest easy there is a way for you to get your referral program up and running quickly without a large cash expenditure and lots of resources involved.
Assuming you have taken my advice and have already started executing on the 6 strategies for launching your referral program, I am going to dive a bit deeper into the steps you need to follow to make this a reality within your company.
Step One – Customer Compensation
After running referral programs for many years one thing I can tell you is, most customers don’t want cash compensation. Your customers are referring additional business to you because they love your product and they know it takes more revenue to make your product offering(s) even better. Therefore they are interested in non monetary compensation that will draw them in closer to your company.
Step Two –Internal Champion
This is where most initiatives die as you know all too well. As the CEO your initial instinct is to look at your customers as a lead generation engine for your organization. Therefore you naturally want to hand this over to Marketing and call it referral marketing.
Guess what, that’s wrong! Why, you don’t need to sell your customers on giving you a referral, your product and your customer service speaks for itself, if your customers love you they will refer you, if they don’t they won’t! Give this to the director that is in charge of customer satisfaction and metric that person as I outlined in Step 4 in my last blog post.
Step Three – Technology
If your customers find it difficult to refer their friends and peers to you, they just won’t do it.
I have done the leg work for you, there is a great technology platform created by zferral that will help you setup your custom referral program in minutes. Unlike many other affiliate marketing platforms it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get started, they even offer a free plan.
Through their unique “Pay as you grow” model your payment only goes up if your referrals (and sales) are increasing. The other unique item about zferral is their ability to setup the non monetary campaigns that I referred to in step one.
For those who want a deeper integration, utilize zferral's open API. This will allow you to keep a consistent look and feel of your website while enjoying all the benefits of the software.
Step Four – Measure Success
“Say what you are going to do, then do what you say”. The only way to know if this initiative is working is to measure this on a monthly basis. Put it on a whiteboard outside of your office and track the number of customer complaints, your customer SAT % (I know you have that worthless number, more on that later), and the number of customer referrals.
If after reading my previous blog post and this one, and you are having that “Oh Crap” moment of why am I not doing this, then I have made some progress. However if you have gotten to this point and had that “Oh Shit” moment of wow this is so much more than customer referrals, then I have done my job.
Remember, long lasting success for your business depends on these two factors: Happy Customers & Happy Employees!