Rose Muthoni @rosemuthoniN
As consumers, most of us have walked into a business because of a referral. Online spaces have perhaps been the best referral points for many small businesses in Kenya.
They have been the undoing for some as well. Facebook pages like Glam Life, for example, have become the best referral points for best saloonists, make up artists or beauty vendor.
Kitchen gadgets and recipes page has also seen appliance vendors whose services were top notch attract more business their way because of referrals. Beth Muturi, owner of Maxxy Salon is one such owner who honed the power of referrals to grow her salon.
From one Facebook post by a satisfied customer, Muturi saw her customer base grow. “That post did a lot of good for my salon,” she says. Customers now travel from every corner of Nairobi to her Kahawa West salon to get her signature bob hairstyle done.
“For small businesses it is important to invest yourself in building a relationship with your clients. Customers are looking for more than goods and services, they want an experience,” says Muturi, adding that it is important to give your customer a reason to refer you to other clients.
Discounts for that customer who refers you to their network would also serve as a gentle nudge for them to continue. For any business to survive, it must deliver quality work.
And this goes beyond our output, it is also underpinned in how we serve our customers. Customer service is key. Your business might have the best cup of tea, for example, but if your waiters serve the tea with a frown, then you are bound to lose customers and the all-important referral.
Transparency also ties in with quality work. Do not over sell. In the end, a customer is more than capable of seeing through our lies. Nothing hurts your business like a customer who tells a potential customer that your services are overstated.
Aspiring for expertise will also go a long way in getting referral for your work. Education, they say, never ends. Consider taking course that strengthens your expertise.
When referred customers finally start trickling in, your next move is to create loyalty. By always keeping your word, you are more likely to keep your existing customers while also attracting new ones.