Customer Service and Word of Mouth Referrals

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Nov 10, 2016
The Most Effective, Reliable Form of Business Referrals
by Dawn Berryman,
August 1, 2018
Word of mouth is one of the most effective, reliable forms of business referrals. If you don’t have excellent customer service, customers and clients will be less likely to talk positively about you, in turn, hurting business. In the age of social media, word of mouth can travel lightning fast. If a customer perceives their experience as negative and decides to share that, online or in person, it can do irreparable damage to your reputation.

1. Be Accessible
Your website should list not only an e-mail address but also a phone number so that you can be reached if needed. If someone can't contact you with a question, they most likely aren't going to feel comfortable sending their hard-earned money to you. On Facebook Messenger, it blatantly displays how quick you are to respond to inquiries. This says a lot about you without saying much at all.

2. Respond
I sometimes receive pitches or offers that I am not interested in. Even if my answer is no, I attempt to respond to the sender. This is a common courtesy and one I would expect if the situation were reversed. You can even use canned responses like Michael Hyatt does, so that you're saying no with grace, yet, not wasting time. You’ll see a trend throughout this article; treat others how you’d like to be treated.

3. Be Graceful
Don't argue; it's not worth losing a customer, or future customers over. Even if you don't feel as though you did anything wrong, be understanding and helpful. Do your best to make your point kindly. Argumentative attitudes tend to hurt business more than they help it. The adage that the customer is always right is a good thing to remember. Even when they’re not, it usually makes better business sense to concede gracefully than to appear inflexible or rude.

4. Listen
When a customer contacts you with a complaint or a compliment, listen! What they have to say is important and could give you crucial insight into what your customers want and what they expect. This can only help you! Listen to what they say and take it to heart. Then, use the feedback to make changes for the better or strengthen what you are already doing right.

5. Go the Extra Mile
Once you have a customer, it’s important to keep them. It's the little things, like a thank-you note included with the order, or future discounts for referrals, etc. that will keep them coming back! Again, think outside of the box and be creative. They will remember the unique efforts you make.

6. Under Promise and Over Deliver
This is my favorite rule, and I learned it from The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, Mike Michalowicz. It’s perfect. Overestimate your turn around or shipping time and then wow them with speedier service. This is for sure something they’ll remember and tell others about. There’s nothing better than receiving your item or service quicker than you expected. It’s memorable, and that’s what we all want, to be remembered in a favorable light.