Who doesn’t want to grow their business? Growth marketing is a set of activities intended to acquire more customers, increase revenue, and speak to new audiences and prospects. Many growth marketers focus on tools and strategies designed to bring customers through doors and onto websites.

Only a few, however, realize that an integral part of sustaining growth is avoiding the churn of existing customers. Many organizations understand that customer experience (CX) is important for retention and brand affinity. But, when it comes to investing in tools and services to do this, many businesses fail to see the long-term ROI that CX technology and strategy can deliver — even though the evidence is apparent:

As you can see, customer experience is an essential component of growth hacking and can be the difference between increasing year-over-year profits and underperformance.

In this blog, we explore how referral marketing integrates seamlessly with your customer experience efforts to drive growth, and why it’s easier to manage and act on customer feedback than you think.

What is referral marketing?

In the pre-internet days, customer referrals existed as written testimonials used in ads, newspaper reviews, and most importantly, literal word of mouth. As the technology evolved and access to information increased, so did the number of places that customers could share feedback with others.

Now, customer referrals exist in many forms including online forums, product websites, and marketplace reviews. Moreover, the number of tools designed to capture customer testimonials for marketing use has also increased. These testimonials and referrals are an essential component of building brand equity and correlate with strong CSAT and NPS scores.

According to the Temkin group, customers who have a positive brand experience are 77% more likely to refer your business or service to a friend.

Referral marketing is considered by many to be a strategic component of growth hacking because of its large ROI. Purely organic customer referrals are free while investing in a reward-for-referral strategy can be less of a financial burden in comparison to other marketing efforts.

Another benefit of referral marketing is that there are applications and tools to help your company begin capturing referrals quickly and easily.

Friendbuy, for example, is a customer referral platform for growth marketers looking to turn happy customers into brand advocates. Friendbuy can easily integrate with CX tools like Delighted and help businesses turn brand promoters into referral marketers.

With a low cost per acquisition (CPA) and a high lifetime value (LTV), customer referrals are a proven channel for growth hacking, increasing revenue, and enhancing the customer experience.

Customer experience and referrals can fuel growth hacking — but there’s a catch

Customer referrals seem like a too-good-to-be-true sales and marketing tactic, but there is one important thing to remember:

Referrals will only benefit your team if the services you provide and the experiences of your customers pre and post-purchase meet or exceed their expectations. If your product is defective or your customer service is perceived as unsatisfactory, then your customers may be inclined to become detractors and speak negatively about your company or brand, making them incredibly unlikely to refer your business to others.

The only way to know for sure if your brand is healthy enough to invest in a referral program is to track and manage the experiences of your customers. While this may seem like quite the undertaking, there are some quick ways to proactively monitor the perception of your brand — all with growth in mind.

4 ways to manage customer experience with a growth marketing mindset

According to Mark Lancaster of SDL, “Business leaders should ask themselves if their organization is truly set up to effectively manage the customer experience. Unfortunately, more often than not, the answer is no, as businesses maintain a traditional organizational structure.”

Customer experience with a growth mindset is all about listening to your customers and basing many of your business decisions on the feedback collected. While there are many components of customer experience, managing the 4 things listed below can kickstart your customer-focused growth efforts.

1. Measure customer sentiment: Happy customers mean growth

It’s important to audit your existing customer base and their perception of your brand before purchasing a customer referral tool or making any drastic business decisions. The best way to get a grasp on how your customers feel about your business is to measure their sentiment through surveys throughout the whole customer lifecycle.

Customer sentiment data can help your team quickly identify what’s working well for your business and what areas could use improvement, and can be measured with a variety of survey methodologies.

Here are a few of the most common ones that your team can start using today with Delighted:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): A proven customer experience survey methodology designed to tell you which customers are promoters, neutral, or detractors of your brand.
  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys (CSAT): These surveys are designed to collect deeper insight from your customers. They measure the overall customer satisfaction of a product, service, or business.
  • Customer Effort Score Surveys: These surveys measure the effectiveness and efficiency of your team.
  • Customer Ratings: A quick and easy way to see how your customers rate you on every aspect of the customer experience, usually on a scale from 1-5.
  • Customer Feeling: An easy to answer and universally understood survey that captures customer happiness with your brand, product, or service. Happiness is usually reflected by choosing a smiley face.
  • Customer Opinion: A binary way to ask your customers if a product or service is good (thumbs up) or bad (thumbs down). This type of feedback, when aggregated, can provide a simple to understand yet comprehensive view into your customers’ perception.

Each one of these methods exists as pre-built survey templates and can be delivered via web, email, SMS text messaging, and by a link (QR code too). Each survey is customizable to match the look of your brand, and follow-up questions can be added to hone in on the information that matters most.

2. Grow by listening to your customers

The only way to know exactly what your customers are thinking is to have a constant dialogue with them. This dialogue can happen organically, like through social media or support call interactions, the latter of which can influence revenue growth.

These conversations can also be initiated by your brand. Remember the survey methodologies mentioned above? Each one is designed to capture what your customers have to say — both quantitatively and qualitatively. Surveys are conversations. Actively listening to what they have to say about your company can help guide many revenue and business-related decisions.

3. Use CX feedback to improve customer retention

In our view, this is growth marketing 101. Keep your customers coming back for more by collecting feedback at every customer touchpoint. The data captured at each interaction point provides the information needed to take action on negative feedback.

This customer feedback, when collected correctly, is an unbiased look at what your company does well and what your company can improve in the eyes of your customers.

Not only must your team survey customers on a regular cadence, but their feedback must also be acknowledged and used to drive a majority of your business decisions. Incorporating their suggestions into marketing, sales, and support efforts is the basis on which your customers will stick with your brand, and more importantly, refer it to others.

Additionally, publicly communicating to your customers that positive changes have been made can greatly enhance brand loyalty and help your team grasp the voice of your customers (VoC).

Moreover, making product enhancements in light of the feedback shared can help separate your products and services from those of your competitors. Going to market first with these changes can be a competitive differentiator that stimulates growth.

4. Grow your brand with customer empowerment

Your customers want answers — and they want them fast. Self-service support is the process of creating easily accessible marketing, sales, and product materials that answer some of your customers’ most common questions. Having these materials on-hand and easy to find on your website is beneficial for a few reasons:

First, these materials enhance customer experience by empowering them to quickly find answers on their own. While this may seem counter-intuitive, many customers will initially attempt to solve a problem or address concerns without the help of the business they purchased from. In light of this, having materials ready for them enhances your customer-first perception and directly influences customer retention.

Secondly, creating a self-service support environment frees up resources to be better allocated to urgent and complicated issues. For example, support reps can spend more time giving customers individualized attention and less time answering simple questions that your self-service collateral could address. All of this contributes to growing your repeat business.

Less guessing. More growth.

Ultimately, using a customer experience program ensures that a large part of your growth marketing efforts are predicated by the needs of your customers. This helps define many business strategies and can make deciding where to invest resources easy and effective.

Ready to start growing? It’s time to choose a customer experience program that works for you and, more importantly, your customers.

Start making growth marketing decisions by acting on customer feedback with a free Delighted trial.