Financial Data
Updated 29 Feb 2020

How to start a customer referral programme

International doughnut giant, Krispy Kreme, has never spent a cent on advertising.

02 April 2012  Share  0 comments  Print

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

It is the leading doughnut franchise in the world purely by word of mouth.

Besides producing a quality product, the company's solid customer relations have ensured that their customers tell the rest of the world how fabulous they are. Your customers can do the same for you.

A great product isn't a guarantee of success. However, great word-of-mouth references often are. Here's why - and how - to put a good customer referral programme in place.

  1. Customer referrals work purely because we tend to trust our peers rather than fast-talking experts. "I lost 15kg in four months using Hyper Slim 3000" is far more convincing than "You could lose 15kg with our product". Good testimonials and referrals are always more believable.
  2. Develop a referral plan that identifies your target customer base and establishes referral goals for a given time period. Devise a way of monitoring how effective your referral system is. This could be as simple as asking customers how they heard about your company.
  3. Ask your frequent, satisfied customers to recommend you. Offer them incentives like a discount on their next order for every referral sent your way.
  4. Make a list of businesses that sell products and services that complement your own and offer to refer your customers to them in return for the same. Give them customised coupons or cards to pass on to their customers, so that you can track each referral. Leave your business card in their reception areas.
  5. Get a list of the people who donate to specific charities in your area and offer the charity a percentage of each sale made to a customer they have sent your way. Try the same approach with local sports teams, Boy Scout troops and other organisations looking to raise money.

Ultimately a referral is based on the strength of the product and customer service you provide - so always provide the best.

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