Tweak Your Biz » Management » Are Your Customers All Positive References?

Are Your Customers All Positive References?



This may seem like a daft question as you would never realistically ask every customer to be a reference for you.

But you should be in a position to get a reference if you were to look for one from them.

So what’s in a customer reference?

A reference is bigger than the sum of the services delivered in my experience. A reference often comes back to the more intangible items that are part of any

customer interaction. These would include things like;

How you engaged over the course of any commercial engagement.

  1. Open and transparent?
  2. Closed off to discussion?

How the implementation of the service was carried out.

  1. Did the project go according to plan?
  2. How were changes handled?
  3. How did any challenges get addressed?

How the post-implementation services were conducted (if any).

  1. Did you follow up to make sure all was well after the initial implementation?
  2. Did you maintain the same level of quality of services as was delivered during the initial project?
  3. Did you continue to show an active interest once things were operating as “business as usual”?

In other words, did you make your engagement with the customer as efficient, effective and memorable (in a positive way!) as possible.

What did you do that marked you out as a business that customer would bring that customer back again?

You just never know. Even if someone is not specifically for a reference, word of mouth can be a powerful way of developing business.

The references about your business are probably being made anyway whether you want them to be or not!

The answer to the question presented in the title is “yes, they are!” in theory, but is this the case in practice for your business?

What did you do that makes your business worthy of a reference from your customers?

Photo: Reid



The Author:

Budding entrepeneur working on software product solutions for business. My background is mainly operational and senior management roles in mobile telecoms and software houses. Areas of expertise include professional services, out-sourcing, team management and general operations management. I've made the conscious decision to create my own company having spent the last 20 years learning in the corporate world. In my contributions to this forum, I will share some insights and learnings that I've picked up along the way and hopefully they will be useful to some or all! http://www.myprojecttracker.com

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  • http://twitter.com/fredchannel Fred

    Great post Barney.nI guess besides thinking about getting those references from customer it’d be important to plan where would you like them online. There’re several “voice of the customer” services to have all feedback in one spot. The LinkedIn page (now that you can include “services”) is another good one and free.nWhat we’re doing this year differently (that hopefully gets us more references :) is investing more and more time in our existing clients. We believe that focusing on what’s on the table already, long term, will pay off better.

  • Adrienne

    Hi Barney,nnGood post… I guess I don’t really ask my customers for references, but they have sent me testimonials without me ever asking for them. They have also personally called me and thanked me for helping them so I know that they are spreading the love via word of mouth. nnThey are also return visitors to my site because I continue to provide helpful information that can support them with their online endeavors. But, I just may start asking from this point forward.nnThanks for that!nnAdrienne

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    As yes, the reference!!!nI think the biggest issue is what is being said about us, that we do not know about.nSo, the best course of action, is to ALWAYS do your best, provide the best possible service you can, regardless of how small or big your client is. Minimise the negative (Not always possible to prevent this) and maximise the positive.nnI think we can sometimes get too caught up in what our customers think – we cannot please ALL of the people ALL of the time, the real challenge comes with how to deal with a negative response, I haven’t had to do it so far, but I would never assume that I will do the right thing for every client, every time. But I will do everything possible within my power to ensure that happens…

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBostonContractor Thomas Hill

    Elaine pointed out something important: we can’t please all our customers. So we shouldn’t try too hard for that could possibly lead to disappointments. But your last question is a good thing to think about, Barney. That could be like a doctrine for business owners. They should think what makes their business stand out and worthy of recommendation from customers. Great post! :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBostonContractor Thomas Hill

    Elaine pointed out something important: we can’t please all our customers. So we shouldn’t try too hard for that could possibly lead to disappointments. But your last question is a good thing to think about, Barney. That could be like a doctrine for business owners. They should think what makes their business stand out and worthy of recommendation from customers. Great post! :)

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie/ Sian Phillips

    Thanks Debi and I completely agree there is more to this than they are saying. Fingers crossed it really is sorted next week

  • http://twitter.com/denisefay Denise Fay

    I was going to wait and see whether UB took my mortgage payment out before I commented. But they haven’t. Someone told me that they aren’t debiting accounts. A friend of mine was in the UB today and asked when are they going to start communicating with customers? He was told that it was in the media but like that, I didn’t know they were holding back on taking money out of people’s accounts. So perhaps a communication to customers wouldn’t go amiss.

    As you said and I said in the email marketing article here on TYB, mistakes happen. It’s how you deal with them that shows a lot more about you than the actual mistake.

    I think UB is showing more about itself with it’s dealing of the mistake rather than the mistake itself and that’s not a good thing.

    Take care,
    Denise

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie/ Sian Phillips

    Thanks for the comment Denise. I was the same – didn’t realise they had stopped payments out as that hadn’t been mentioned. Not sure what the backlash will be about those yet but not much we can do – the bank seem to be in control of our money!

    Absolutely true they aren’t dealing with it at all well and they really need to be giving out correct and true information. I just heard on the radio that it will be at least mid week now – no doubt that means the following week :(