What is the single most important question you should be asking your customers that will ensure business success?
In The Ultimate Question, by Fred Reichheld. (link: http://www.theultimatequestion.com/theultimatequestion/home.asp) says that the single most important question in all of business is, “Would you recommend us to others?” In referral marketing, it is the key to success as a person and the key to the success of a business.
In referral marketing, a referral is worth 10-15 times a cold call. In today’s market, the only way a business can grow, is if others say a business is good. A company’s most valuable asset is its reputation. So you will want to find out how your customers think and talk about your business around others.
Let’s look at how to know where you stand with your customers and within your referral network. After a customer has been served, always ask how their experience was. They will most likely reply “Fine” (because most people do). Then ask:
“On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your experience with us?”
Listen and learn from their response. If you got a grade of 9 or 10, those people will come back, tell their friends, and even bring their friends. If they give a score of 7 or 8, it means that their experience was good but they may or may not come back and they probably won’t tell anybody about your business. Finally, if you score 6, 5, or lower, that means they were unhappy and they will likely tell others not to come. (For example, if someone rates a restaurant at a 5, you probably won’t go, right?). So if someone gives you a grade of 6, 7 or 8, learn from it and ask them:
“What could we do next time to earn a higher grade from you?”
Your customers and referrals will tell you! They are happy to hear you are interested, it shows you care about them; it builds the relationship and shows you where to improve. Once they’ve told you what you could do differently, the next time they come in – do it! Then go back to the customer and thank them for their input, let them know you’ve tried it or will include it in your policies whenever possible. Now, ask them again to ensure you’ve improved your score and made them happy:
“Based on your experience with us today, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your experience with us?”
You’re score should improve and you will be left with a happy customer or referral partner and happy customers will come back!
Once you have happy customers or referral partners, and they give you a 9 or 10, it’s time to ask them for a referral:
“Would you recommend us to 1 or 2 other people who might be interested in our services as well?”
It’s important to just ask for 1 or 2 referrals – they are more likely to give you the referral than if they think you are expecting a list of all the contacts in their phone. Also remember that they are risking their reputation when they refer their friend. So take good care of their friend, or you will lose both. Your chain of referrals will grow and the most important thing is to take good care of your customers and referrals in the first place.