This is a guest post provided by a contributor from Referral Rock.
You started a referral program for your field service business, but haven’t had much engagement. Oh no, what do you do? Let the program fizzle, and forget about it? We hope not.
Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and a customer will refer someone to you on their own. But, this occurrence can be few and far between. And depending on what your business does, the topic may never come up in conversation.
Because of the example listed above, we can without a doubt say that the key to getting more referrals is… program promotion. Regardless of whether you are running a full-fledged referral program to the nines, or if you simply just want to get a few referrals on the side. You need to let people know you want them.
Why promoting is necessary?
Time and time again, people wonder why they aren’t able to get a good referral flow. #1. They have happy customers. #2. Their product is great. #3. They pride themselves on great customer service. Yet referrals are few and far between. The problem with this is, referrals are great for business.
For example, let’s say you are a roofing and gutter business. Your customers aren’t going to go out and talk about you on their own. The only way they may bring it up is if their friends bring it up looking for advice. If this happens then your customer will most definitely give them your business name. A word of mouth referral just happened.
If you want to increase the chances of this word of mouth to happen, you’ll have to put out the bait. How? Get people to join your program. How do you do that? You promote your program.
So what have we learned so far? If people know that you are looking for referrals, they may be more likely to refer you.
To kick it up a notch, running a referral program makes you that much easier to share. Plus, your referral program promotion can be baked into your existing business processes with automation. Helping to further persuade customers to join and refer.
Here 5 ways you can get referrals through your existing customer interactions. Let’s start with two common ways.
1. Social Media
This one is probably the most obvious, and for clear reason. You can connect to customers, then they connect to their friends. Eventually, it all circles back to you.
You may notice a lot of people sharing their referral codes on social media, and you may even notice businesses promoting their referral programs on their profiles. This is because it’s the easiest place to promote your referral program and interact with customers.
Bonus: If you get a good customer comment or review, use it as a chance to ask for a referral.
The epitome of asking for a referral, is through email. Chances are, you probably have a variety of emails that you send to customers. Be it an email campaign or responding to a customer inquiry.
You can promote your referral program in email signatures, create a CTA for it, and even flat out ask. Or, if you want a more mellow approach, simply ask in your email signature. That way, everyone who gets your email will be prompted to refer (whether they know it initially or not).
Email is a great place to plant it in their subconscious that you want referrals, and are running a program. If and when they want to refer, they know where to go. Even if it’s been some time down the line.
Now, here are some less common ways.
3. Utilizing Invoices
Invoices usually contain a lot of information. Obviously they cover the work to be done, but they also give a ton of insight to your business, like your phone number, address, and email. An added bonus, especially if your invoices send out automatically, is that you can add your referral program too!
Obviously the people receiving your invoices are customers. They have a fresh perspective of your work, making them the best candidate to refer (especially after a job well done)!
If your invoices are web-based, add a link so that customers can quickly sign up for the referral program.
If it’s easily accessible, customers may be more inclined to join… leading to more referrals.
If you use paper invoices, add a comment that makes them ask about your referral program (i.e. ask me how you can save $40).
4. Customer Portals
A lot of businesses offer an online portal or user dashboard to their customers. This is a great place to request referrals, as customers will be sure to see it.
Most businesses that utilize this tactic make this a menu option, so customers can be reminded to refer during every login. They also conveniently provide easy sharing options and a message, so that all the customer has to do is send.
Another great option is to create a pop-up that reminds customers to refer upon login. This way it will be the very first thing a customer sees, and it could prompt a referral, right away.
5. Scheduling Confirmations
If you are using an automated scheduling software, you’re on the right track. These automated services can do so much for you, including snagging a referral or two. More importantly, confirmation texts and emails are almost always opened and read by the customer. Meaning you have a fair shot at getting referrals, if you ask.
However you choose to do confirmation, you can easily add a link to your referral program. This is a great option because a customer can easily click the link and start referring.
Even if you do snail mail confirmations (like the kind most veterinarian offices and dentist do), you can ask for a referral on mailed reminder. Plus, you have all the relevant business information right there on the card, so your customer can easily give their reminder card to their referral. (Sort of like sharing a business card with someone.)
The only confirmation that gets tricky is a phone call confirmation. Since the perfect timing may not come up in your quick conversation. Fear not, because most of the time, these old school traditions can be paired with one of the more modern ways of confirming.
As you can see, there are plenty of creative ways to get referral. All you have to do is ask. Once you figure out what channel of communication you are going to use, implementing the ask is easy.
Megan Mosley is the marketing specialist at Referral Rock who believes every business has the potential to increase their word of mouth. When she’s not working, she enjoys sipping on coffee and hanging out with her dog, Mollie.
Last modified: June 7, 2018