Friday, August 13, 2010

Word-of-Mouth Campaigns: There’s more to it than asking for a referral  

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If you’ve spent any amount of time in the HVAC industry, then you know that there is a lot of competition out there for customers. Successful companies are the ones who build solid relationships with their customers and therefore get, not only repeat business, but also referrals to neighbors and friends.

There is nothing in the world as effective at building your business than having customers recommend you to people they know. Word-of-mouth is king. But there is more to it than just asking your customers to recommend you to their friends. Here are some tips on establishing a word-of-mouth campaign.


Earn it.
First and foremost, you should earn that referral. That means providing stellar service: being on time for appointments, resolving issues quickly and communicating effectively with your customer.


What’s in it for me?
There is an old saying in marketing: A customer who has a good experience may tell one person, but a customer who has a bad one will tell a dozen. You can reverse that axiom by providing incentives to your customers for referrals. Maybe it’s cash, movie tickets or a discount on an upcoming service call. If you give your customers a reason to tell their friends about your business, you’ll see better results.


It’s not just words
To truly implement a word-of-mouth campaign, you’ll need a way to track referrals back to their source. For example, if your business card has a place for your customer to sign his name before passing it along to a friend, you can easily figure out whom to thank for the extra business.


Follow up
No matter what incentive you use to get your customers talking about your business, you can extend that good feeling with a simple follow up. Let your referring customers know you appreciate their efforts – a phone call or a card will give them an extra push to keep the word-of-mouth going.

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