Increase your sales without increasing your marketing budget

FrodX / / Sales

Last week, when I had a meeting at a Slovenian company, we started talking about the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is used by InstantFeedback to measure customer satisfaction, and soon a pretty typical question arose: “What can we do with our existing customers? Is there any way we could use them?” Of course I was more than happy to provide an answer to this.

It’s vital to reward satisfied customers and at the same time use them wisely. Click To Tweet

NPS divides customers into three groups: detractors, passives, and promoters. When we ask our customers to assess our service on a scale of 1 to 5, we can divide them the following way in terms of the scores given: 1 and 2 → detractors, 3 and 4 → passives, 5 → promoters. We’re using a modified and simplified NPS system, whereas the standard system uses a scale of 1 to 10. Thus, NPS can be calculated using the following simple formula:

NPS = % promoters – % detractors

The people I talked to soon got the idea how they should respond to the detractors. Check the situation and apologize if needed. With passives you know you’ll have to try harder next time. So what should we do with our happy customers then? Thanking them for their loyalty is certainly appropriate, but of course you can do a lot more than that.

Here are three suggestions for how you can use happy customers to your advantage:

1. Make sure they recommend you to others.

Let’s have a look at how selecting a bank takes place today and why a good review is so important. In 2012, the OECD conducted a survey on young people’s financial literacy as part of the PISA program. Slovenia scored ninth among the sixteen countries included. At first glance this is not an alarming result. Only after looking at it from a broader perspective does it become obvious that other countries’ scores were also quite low. But we shouldn’t be critical only of young people. Ask the person sitting next to you what the difference is between leasing and a loan. Or what EURIBOR is. Most of them won’t be able to provide an answer. It’s also true that most people don’t select a bank based on its interest rates or account maintenance fees. These are fairly similar between all banks. Most people don’t have a clue and aren’t even interested in how banking services operate.

Service fees do not differ very much from one bank to another. The difference lies in customer recommendations. Click To Tweet

People make decisions based on reviews. They set criteria for themselves that they deem important. Then they ask their friends and acquaintances which bank they like the best. In the end they select the bank they have heard the most positive and the fewest negative comments about.

2. Create a profile of your ideal customer

When you notice that customers are impressed with you, ask them why they keep choosing you. They’ll be happy to tell you. When I talk to someone about this, I always mention my friend Matej. He lives in the northern part of Ljubljana, but he drives to a hair salon in the Štepanjsko naselje neighborhood every month, even though that’s almost ten kilometers away. I asked him once why he drove there even though there was a hair salon in the apartment building right next to his and he told me because in all that time the hairdresser never asked him one single question. He likes to just sit there quietly. “Hello and goodbye is the only thing we say to each other.” Over time Matej recommended that hairdresser to six friends of his and two of them decided to change salons. It is through customers like Matej that you can try to find out why you’re unique and how you can attract others.

3. Make sure your customers are happy to recommend you and can do that easily

I know at least three Slovenian companies that print thirteen-digit-codes on their bills that customers can use to access and complete their online customer satisfaction survey. With some companies it takes fifteen minutes of clicking before you can finally submit a review. It probably goes without saying that the response rate to these kinds of solutions for submitting customer reviews is next to 0.

The procedure for submitting customer reviews must be as simple and as fast as possible. Click To Tweet

How is this done in companies that see potential in customer recommendations? Uber is a good example. It offers a five-digit promotional code to its users, who can forward it to their friends via WhatsApp. Of course that’s the most widely used cell phone app, but the code can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and so on. If your friends use the code, they get a free ride. When they use it, the user that sent them the code is also entitled to a free ride. I got two free Uber rides in Los Angeles last year this way. Or actually three rides, because Uber reimbursed me in full for one ride because the driver didn’t do his job well. But that’s a story for another day.

Increase your sales

Companies are aware what trouble dissatisfied customers can cause and so they pay extra attention to them. But because of this they often forget about their happy customers. These must, first and foremost, be nurtured, but you can also use them to increase your sales. The following thought by Shep Hyken, probably the best-known customer satisfaction expert, may be of use here: “Learn from your happy customers, especially if they are willing to tell you their story, so you can repeat it with others.”