Start-Up Guide #6: Referrals vs Advertising

Andrea Johnson

Andrea Johnson

The past few start-up guides focused on shop production. But to grow your business, you also need to focus on healthy customer service.

It happens all too often. An employee or customer brings up a concern, and you're too busy to address it. That neglected concern begins to fester and soon pops back up as an even bigger problem. To help avoid this and the damage this can cause long-term, the next three guides will focus on customer service.

Referrals Vs Advertising

Organic growth in the form of referrals is the enjoyable way to advance your business. It happens when you're working smart, hard and humble. When you're humble, you're more aware of customers' needs and react better to all situations. The right attitude trickles down to all on your team, driving referrals and growth.

The alternative is spending large amounts of advertising money to get new work. If your company gets the most of their work from “word of mouth,” you’ll have far less overhead. And it will be the kind of company you actually want to own and be a part of.

Of course, advertising is mandatory. The point is not to use it to fix larger underlying problems in the company. When you build a business focused on customers, advertising will pour gas on the fire and rev up sales.

How to Get Referrals?

Never skip the follow-up contact. Once your customer’s job is complete, call or visit to ensure they are happy. Some think that “no news is good news,” but it’s always best to know how a customer feels after the job is complete. Most will be happy, and this is the chance to pursue a referral or review. And if they aren't happy, then you’ll have a chance to fix problems before they tell everyone they know. The best referrals often come from former unhappy customers whose issues you fixed.