Do Your Customers Heart You? 5 Keys to a Good Referral Program

Posted by Stacey Papp

If you were born before the early ‘80s, then you most definitely remember growing up without the Internet – maybe fondly, maybe not so much. 

In some ways, life was harder for kids before the web – you had to go to an actual brick-and-mortar library and use the Dewey Decimal system to track down smelly old books for school reports, you couldn’t win arguments by instantly Googling the right answer on a smartphone, and you had to actually pay for (or borrow) a record or CD and read the liner notes to figure out whether you were hearing the song lyrics correctly.

Without the Internet, kids used their friends and older relatives to help decide what music to listen to, what movies to spend their allowance on, or how they should dress – sure, there were plenty of magazines one could read to find out the latest fashions or the hottest new band, but more often than not, young people based formative parts of their personalities off what friends and “cool” older relatives were doing. Without Instagram, Twitter or Reddit to tell you the “in” thing to do, all you had to go on was reliable word of mouth.

These days, people of all ages use the Internet to figure out what movie to go see or what new album to buy (or download) – but that doesn’t mean that the power of a trustworthy voice has gone out of fashion. People still rely heavily on what their friends and family think – and this means field services companies shouldn’t discount the importance of a customer referral program.

So how do you go about creating such a program?

1. Make your customers aware. Your current customers won’t know such a program exists unless you tell them. At the close of service, if a customer seems happy, have your field techs hand them a postcard with information on it. Include program info in employees’ email signatures, on your website and social media pages (in fact, you should post about it on your social media accounts once a month), and even on an invoice. No one likes paying bills, but a customer might be slightly happier about it if she sees a note saying she can get X dollars off her next service or X dollars back as a gift card if she refers someone who uses your company. That brings us to …

2. Make the reward a sweet one.
This could be very specific to your industry or your company. A pest control company might not want to offer “money back off your next service” – because its customers might be hoping that there won’t be a “next service” for a while. A landscaping company with customers serviced monthly or bimonthly, however, could benefit from that type of approach.

The rewards also don’t need to be monetary – it could be an upgrade to a service, movie tickets or a coffee gift card. Think about your target market/customer and what they might want as a perk for a referral.

3. Make it easy for them. Your customers are doing extra legwork for you by calling up their friends and family or remembering to drop your name when a coworker mentions they’re in the market for your company’s product or service. Don’t make them jump through hoops when it comes to the actual referral. A very short form on your website works just fine – don’t make them create an account or try to remember a password. 

4. Keep track of your hits. Have a place to keep score of how many referrals you’re getting via customers, how many turn into actual customers, what those customers spend and how much you’ve doled out in rewards. This will help you figure out the ROI of your program. 

5. Don’t forget to be awesome. No referral program will work unless you’re delivering top-quality service and ensuring that you’re leaving customers happy – the value you bring is the foundation of word-of-mouth marketing.

Being awesome isn’t hard with fleet management software. Using it means you’ll always know what’s going on in the field and who is where, allowing dispatchers to give customers more accurate ETAs, and letting them improve routing and dispatching efficiency. Your techs get to the customers faster, and emergency calls are expedited better – and if field techs know their time is being tracked, they’ll wait until a designated break time to stop for coffee instead of doing it when a customer is expecting service ASAP. 

Field service software also will let you keep track of all that customer info from No. 4 by storing it in the cloud instead of burying it in file cabinets or spreadsheets – and you can run the reports you’ll need to figure out ROI directly from the software program.

Don’t trust us when it comes to remembering song lyrics correctly – we confess to thinking at one point that Elton John really was singing about Tony Danza – but when it comes to fleet services software, we’ve got you covered.

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