Great Service Is Your Best Marketing Tool

by Don Campbell December 9th, 2013 

Great Customer Service

Content Marketing is all the rage, and for good reason. Google is continuously tweaking their algorithms to reward content that is useful for people, rather than over-optimized thin content.

Marketers are catching on, and as a result there are a ton of articles talking about the value of content marketing for attracting new customers.

But you don't hear as much talk about great customer service as a way of getting new customers.

Where do new customers come from?

Ask any business owner what their best source of new customers is, and they will tell you it is word-of-mouth referrals from their existing customers.

Yet - amazingly - 80% of businesses have no process in place for asking their customers for referrals!

Customer service as an inbound marketing technique

Providing top-notch customer service is the best way to get your customers to refer you to their friends or colleagues.

But you have to take it one step further. In addition to providing a fantastic customer experience, you need to ask your customers to refer you!

How to ask for referrals

According to John Jantsch, author of The Referral Engine (an excellent book, btw) one of the best times to ask your customer for a referral is after a support request where you resolved their question or issue. This was counter-intuitive for me at first.

In the book, he suggests you think about all of the customer touch-points in your business. Write down every time you interact with your customer, and look for opportunities to ask for referrals.

Here's an example of how we mapped out all of our customer touch-points for one of our products.

We looked at each of these touch-points to determine which would be the best ones to ask for referrals, and then added those requests in a subtle way. We didn't ask at every touch-point - we just chose a few of the key ones that made the most sense.

The results were amazing - we started getting referrals almost right away!.

Summary - Customer service as your best marketing strategy

By investing in your customer service, engaging with your customers to make sure they are happy, and asking for referrals, you can build an amazing marketing engine for your business. Here is a summary of the key steps to make this a reality:

  1. Provide a top-notch customer experience (invest here, instead of marketing)
  2. Engage with your customers to get their feedback, and keep them happy (getting a new customer is 6x more expensive than keeping an existing one)
  3. Ask your happy customers to refer you, and make it easy for them! (get new customers from your existing, happy ones!)

What are you doing to turn happy customers into evangelists for your company? I'd love to hear from you!

Don Campbell

Don is President of Expand2Web, where he writes about WordPress for business and local search marketing. He also created GetFiveStars - a tool for business owners to encourage feedback and positive reviews from their customers.

Expand2Web Blog

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7 Responses to “Great Service Is Your Best Marketing Tool”

  1. Kyle Cullen says:

    I'm guilty of not asking enough for referrals and testimonials.When ever I do I get great responses and people are more than happy to do it. I really need to get in the habit of reaching out to people more.

    • Don Campbell says:

      Me too Kyle. Just like you I found that most customers are perfectly willing to provide referrals. Its out of my comfort zone to ask, but almost always is a positive interaction.

      • Ruud Hein says:

        @Don The way to ask can be difficult. I feel uncomfortable when I get what clearly is an automated email written in a "Hey, how are you doing?!" jovial tone. And Amazon's emails are very pushy; stop asking already!

  2. Mark Ford says:

    Hi Don

    A great point here. I dont so much ask for referrals but I do ask for online reviews.

    All new enquiries are directed to a third party web design review site on which I rank 3rd in the UK.

    Its a great way to back up my sales message and has really helped my business to grow.

  3. Dreamdezigns says:

    Hello Don,

    It is very true that Customer service is the best marketing strategy. As you said, It is very very important to engage ourselves with our valuable customers to obtain their feedback. When it comes to me I would go for more reviews than referrals. And thanks for you

    • Don Campbell says:

      Yes, I think the important thing is that you are talking to your customers, understanding how they experienced your product or service and addressing any issues should they come up. That leads to great online reviews and referrals naturally.