Throughout the buyer’s journey, business leaders are vetting your company by seeking validation from peers they trust. They are combing through review sites. They are soliciting recommendations on LinkedIn. And, they are asking for feedback during networking events. What do your customers share about their experiences with your company?
The numbers speak for themselves: 84% of B2B buyers are now starting the purchasing process with a referral. And, these recommendations are influencing more than 90% of buying decisions.
Perhaps it’s time to allocate some of your advertising dollars and place your bets on your most powerful resource: your existing customers.
The Value of Happy Business-to-Business (B2B) Customers
In today’s customer-centric world, achieving sustainable business growth requires that you build an army of loyal advocates who will:
- Spend more money with your company
- Be more willing to absorb price increases
- Be more receptive to spending more with your company
Of course, it doesn’t end there. Loyal customers are important to your organization because of their advocacy value. This includes,
- How they talk about you in their communities
- How often they refer you
- How willing they are to serve as a reference
- How willing they are to participate in case studies
Word of mouth is also the top factor in up to 50 percent of purchasing decisions, according to McKinsey research. Whether your potential customers hear about you through a proactive recommendation or when they’re asking for insight from peers, having a long list of customers who speak favorably about you is an ideal way to drive more inbound leads.
Bottom line – a strong service culture pays off.
Different Strategies for Encouraging More B2B Customer Referrals
So, how do you put all of this into action? Here are four simple, yet effective, strategies for creating enthusiastic customer contacts who will bring in quality referrals.
1. Set and meet customer expectations
From the outset, it’s important that your company doesn’t fall into the trap of “over-promising and under-delivering.” That’s why a critical first step is to ensure everyone in the organization understands their role for meeting customer expectations at every important touchpoint – or moment of truth. How do you know if you’re meeting expectations along the customer journey? Read our next point.
2. Regularly ask your customers for feedback
It’s not enough to assume or guess how your customers feel about you; you have to ask them. How else will you learn if you are meeting (or not meeting) their expectations?
Whether you engage an expert like Satrix Solutions to help you, or you leverage knowledgeable resources internally, it’s important to regularly solicit feedback through programs like Net Promoter Score and Customer Satisfaction Surveys. Account reviews are also another enlightening activity your company can perform.
When customers realize their voices are being heard, it validates your unwavering support to them. This helps builds credibility, loyalty, and trust among your customers – all of which they will share with future customers.
3. Use customer feedback to drive improvements
The feedback you gather through your surveys and the candid conversations you have with customer contacts should serve as a starting point for defining priorities. That’s because relying on customer feedback to guide your strategic initiatives takes the guesswork out of doing what’s best for your business.
As a result, customers will see that their input is helping to guide important decision making, which will keep them primed for future growth opportunities.
4. Strengthen your service culture
Companies that excel at the customer experience do so because they have created a deep-rooted customer-centric culture. How do you get there? It starts with your senior leaders and trickles down to the front line. Who wins? Everyone, but more importantly, customers.
But it’s also imperative to note here that you shouldn’t overlook the importance of recognizing and rewarding success in your organization. This creates loyalty, accountability, and employees who strive to continue to do well because they know their efforts gets noticed. Employees like that are who keep customers happy, and happy customers bring a crowd!
Happy Customers Grow Your Business
As business leaders focused on growth, we all want the phone to ring. By taking steps to ensure existing customers are happy and that their voice is heard is a surefire way to create more loyal advocates.
The ripple effect can be powerful. Great work done by exceptional employees breeds happy customers. Happy customers will share their experiences. And new customers will bring their “friends”. This circle is the lifeline of your business.