How to Get More Customer Referrals
When it comes to finding new clients, businesses can do so in many ways. Whether a radio or television spot, or an advertisement on a website, social media platform or digital billboard, the goal is to reach new viewers. Another cost-effective way is to develop more customer referrals. In fact, according to The New York Times, referrals account for 65 percent of a company’s new accounts. As an important part of marketing, how can organizations more effectively accomplish this type of advertising?
One under-utilized way to get referrals is to simply ask existing customers if they would kindly refer your product or service to others. Based on statistics from Texas Tech University, 83 percent of customers are happy to refer a company’s product or service, yet only 29 percent of these customers follow through. Often all it takes to get a referral is expressing your gratitude to existing customers whose expectations have been exceeded and showing them how they can refer your company’s products or services.
There are considerations, however, concerning when to ask for that referral. When it comes to a customer who requested a rush job to have their website built over the weekend, it might be more effective to ask for a referral immediately after they’ve had a chance to see the website. Following up shortly after the project’s completion can make the most of a referral request because that’s when the client is most impressed.
There are other scenarios when it could be more effective to ask for a referral well after the sale. When it comes to enterprise application software, such as software that backs up files passively in the background at each user’s endpoint, or when using automated billing or payment processing systems, clients will not see the results for a few weeks, months or longer. For products that produce results over the long term, ask permission to follow up with the client in 90 or 180 days for feedback on how the product has performed. A client might not need a backup for six months; and it could take a month or two for a client to analyze their sales reports to see the software’s effectiveness.
Leverage Social Media Platforms
What matters less than the type of social media platform is the ease and ability of a company to use this media to ask for and receive a referral. If a customer expresses a highly positive review based upon a recent experience, social media can be leveraged to increase referrals for a business. Push friendly reminders and embedded links via social media, email newsletters and on your website to encourage clients to post a Tweet, Facebook comment or photo on Instagram as a referral for your company.
While there’s no single avenue to seek new business, taking care of your current clients is one way that can pay dividends now and in the future.
Amazon’s Alexa as a Virtual Office Assistant
Studies have shown that as much as 40 percent of time spent at work is generally unproductive, busy work. Things like checking emails, ordering supplies, fixing the copy machine or trying to figure out how to work a conference call line – during the conference call. These tasks can be aggravating and, when experienced by everyone in the firm, can have an impact on the bottom line.
To help companies manage small, day-to-day tasks, Amazon has launched Alexa for Business. Amazon Echo is a speaker; Echo Dot is a smaller speaker. Alexa is the name of the virtual assistant who you can converse with through the Echo speaker. Alexa boasts more than 25,000 skills – which are basically apps that you enable in order to access a particular service. For example, you can get an up-to-the-minute news brief from Reuters, request the stock price of a specific security, order a driver from Uber or Lyft, translate a word or sentence from another language, order supplies, compile a to-do list or initiate phone calls – all by simply asking Alexa.
Alexa for Business isn’t just for individual use. A company can set up Alexa devices in common areas throughout the workplace for all employees to use.
Around the Office
Alexa for Business enables a firm to manage all of the Alexa devices from a centralized console connected to your Alexa for Business account. This is a time-saving feature so that the devices do not need to be managed individually.
This configuration enables all employees to utilize Alexa for various tasks, such as getting directions, finding an open meeting room, ordering supplies, reporting building problems or notifying IT of an equipment issue. Alexa also can be linked to internal computer networks to provide company-specific information, such as inventory levels or sales figures.
At Your Desk
For folks who work in an individual office, Alexa at your desk can help you manage your calendar, maintain a to-do list and set up reminders so that you don’t miss a meeting or an appointment. By simply speaking in a normal voice, you can ask Alexa to make phone calls for you and dial into conference calls. You can set up skills for your specific device or incorporate, for example, the corporate calendar so that every device has access.
Employees can even use Alexa for Business skills with their home devices, which allows them to work from home. They also can access skills from their home device while at work.
In the Conference Room
Alexa for Business includes skills that make it easy to configure Alexa to control your conference room calls, audio and visual equipment, and any meeting applications. This allows anyone to get the meeting started by speaking to Alexa. For small conference rooms, an Alexa-enabled device can actually function as an audio conferencing vehicle; in larger conference rooms, Alexa can run the equipment so that participants can focus on the meeting – not the phone or presentation glitches.
In today’s competitive business environment, the ability to maximize every staff member’s productivity can be a key driver for success. Start by having a frank discussion with employees about what tasks drain their time and resources throughout today, then consider adopting Alexa for Business to help address those issues and give your entire firm an on-demand virtual assistant.
These articles are intended to provide general resources for the tax and accounting needs of small businesses and individuals. Service2Client LLC is the author, but is not engaged in rendering specific legal, accounting, financial or professional advice. Service2Client LLC makes no representation that the recommendations of Service2Client LLC will achieve any result. The NASD has not reviewed any of the Service2Client LLC content. Readers are encouraged to contact their CPA regarding the topics in these articles.