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It is a long-standing adage in business that the best form of advertising is “word-of-mouth”. It simply means there is no better way to spread the message about your products and services is than through one happy customer telling a prospective customer about how satisfied they are with your company.
It was not that long ago that the most used form of word-of-mouth advertising was friends or relatives asking each other about services they used or products they purchased. Radio, television and newspaper testimonials soon followed, increasing the number of people who were exposed to these positive referrals. Of course, with the advent of digital and social media, word-of-mouth advertising took another leap, spreading to forums, message boards, and business rating services where clients could share their experiences. How can you get more of your happy customers to spread the word about your business and serve as your ambassador? Here are some things to consider.
Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? The place to start in gathering testimonials, positive reviews, posts and shares is to ask. When a customer expresses a level of satisfaction to you or an employee, view it with value and ask the client if they may be quoted or if they are willing to express their satisfaction in writing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing to happy clients that you value their opinion and they are a major part of how you expand your business. While you are at it, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.
Collect positive comments and testimonials no matter how they are shared. Write down verbal comments and save emails and comment cards. Send out occasional surveys. Any unsolicited letters should especially be viewed as valuable.
When you get a positive review or comment, reach out to the person expressing your thanks. It can also be a good time to recruit some of these commentors to serve on a customer satisfaction advisory board. You can build on the strength of this group by asking their opinion on products and services you are considering offering and even pricing structures. This is a nice compliment to them while providing valuable input for your company.
Reward those who send customers to you with a gift, future discounts or drawing entries. Let them know you appreciate their efforts in promoting your business.
Businesses frequently lose customers without knowing the real reasons why. Monitor your customers and when you haven’t heard from them in a while, reach out. Find out if they’ve switched providers and why. Satisfied customers need to be monitored and nurtured. Don’t simply allow them to disappear.