One Powerful Word for More Referrals: Appreciation

by Corey Philip
February 6, 2018

Customers are essential to any business so it makes sense when organizations spend a long time trying to entice them. But often, after the initial wooing period, a customer signs up and barely hears from them again unless it’s to market or try and sell them something.  We’ve been there as a customer, and possibly as a business owner.

Ever sold a project and then 3 weeks later call the customer to tell them you’ll be there in 20 minutes? Or worse have the customer call you to ask when you’ll be there?

We’ve all been there (unfortunately), and one thing it shows is a lack of appreciation for our customer.

I recently wrote a post, and shared a podcast about the failure of referall programs, and most others in the home service space agree; referral programs don’t work very well.  What does work, making customers feel appreciated.

Think about this, why do humans love dogs? Because they love us.  They make us feel important.  We like people; or animals or businesses, that like us and make us feel important.  If you don’t believe me on there, bust open google and do some digging — there’s a ton of psychology research out there on it.

So, what can you do in your business to treat customers the way dogs treat humans?

The most powerful way to win over customers is by showing appreciation and this leads to more referrals. After all, without them, your business wouldn’t thrive so here are some of the ways you can show existing customers or clients that you appreciate them.

  • Be Enthused At Every Interaction (positive attitude)

  • I know this one is easier said then done.  I know that a long drawn out project can put you at wits end.  I know that after 19 points of contact in the sales process you might have lost all enthusiasm for the project / customer.  But if you want to show some appreciation, make sure that you personally, and your staff are enthused and positive at every interaction point.  Be like a dog.  As challenging as it may be, it will pay off in the long run.
  • Interact On Social Media

    Digital media plays an important role in society today and although the home service space is not traditionally technologically advanced it’s important to be accessible. Ensuring that you can be reached and interact with customers or clients on social media is important to generate and creating relationships. Plus, where better to be referred than if you can quickly and easily show your appreciation and say thank you. Social media can also be excellent for highlighting customer stories or causes that are important in the community to others.

    If they leave a comment, respond to them. Even a simple thanks for sharing. Personally speaking, I once shared a picture of my Jaybirds headphones that survived the washing machine. The Jaybirds Facebook page liked it and I was ecstatic. I felt like they knew who I was. Your customers can feel like that too.

    At the end of the day, particularly in the home service industry, it’s all about customers being happy with the quality of your work and level of service so showing your appreciation matters. Use some of these tips to increase your chances of a referral today!

  • Throw In A Freebie

    If you have a frequent customer, or hell any customer, give them a little freebie.  Possibly an upgrade on the materials they’re getting, or product that complements their project. For example, if you just remodeled the kitchen, leave behind a nice cutting board.  You don’t have to break the bank.  These little things are tokens of appreciation that build rapport and keep you in their mind every time they use it.

  • Respond To Their Reviews

    Back to my example about interacting on social media, and Jaybirds headphones; you might not be getting many shares on social media to interact with, but you are probably getting some reviews.
    While it might seem trivial to us as the owner or manager, a simple response to a good review, which you hopefully get more of than bad reviews, a “thank you for review Mr./Ms. ________ “ can go a long way to making the customer feel appreciated and important.

  • Send Thank You Notes

    A simple handwritten note shows effort and adds a personal touch. It might not be big or glamorous but a simple thank you note, particularly after big jobs or projects can go a long way.

  • Give Them A Call

    Follow up with them, even if they haven’t bought anything in a while just to find out how they are and if you are able to help with anything. If the only communication they receive from you is selling something, they are less likely to feel like they are worth your time! Show them that they are. It is strategically best to do these at slower times of the year when you might have some idle capacity in the event you need to do some warranty work.

  • Remember Details

    The proof is in the details! Remember their name first and foremost and ask them what is best to call them. If they tell you a story, name of a pet or personal information, try to remember it because this shows that you listen and care. Remembering the finer details makes you more personable and creates a better relationship between you and the customer, making you more likely to be referred, particularly when working in the home service niche.

  • Don’t Break Promises

    We have all been there when last-minute changes mean you can’t make an appointment, but try to never break a promise to customers. Once you do this, it often destroys their trust or faith in you long-term and this will hinder referrals for the future. It’s very hard to win back trust, so if you make an appointment, keep it, make it work and go above and beyond to deal with it.

  • Manage Expectations

    On the subject of trust, a customer or client will have an idea in their head of the expected outcome and results so ensure that it is in line with yours. Manage their expectations every step of the way so that if something is unavailable or will take longer it doesn’t come as a surprise or create negative impact to the situation. In other words, call them before show you up, and a few days before (yes before) that. I like to say, update the customer before they have to ask you. In other words, update them so much they ask you stop with the updates 😉

  • Go Above And Beyond

    Every so often, throw in a freebie to your favorite client or those who have referred the most work. This can be a pleasant surprise and a memorable experience, particularly if they didn’t know it was coming. Everyone loves a freebie!

  • Do A Good Job!

    Make sure you have the services to back up what you are claiming. Ultimately, many customers will overlook social etiquette if you do an excellent job and show them you know what you are doing. A good job will be shown to friends and lead to recommendations, sometimes above all else.

  • Thank Referrals

    It seems small but if you have found out one of your previous clients have referred you, say thank you! They didn’t have to do that but you have gotten more work and built your network for free, so take the opportunity to be grateful to them with a simple thank you.

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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