A guy ends up locked in a bookstore overnight

It all began late one evening when David Willis,  an American tourist in London, was in the upstairs section of a bookstore at closing time, unaware that lights were being switched off just below him. When he went to leave, he found his way blocked by a locked door, leaving him desperately looking for help online. With no other tool than the power of social media, he tried texting the store’s Twitter account for rescue, but the PR team was off duty. Eventually, around midnight, he was freed by the Metropolitan Police.

That could have easily turned into a PR nightmare for the bookstore. After all, an unhappy customer is much more influential than a happy one, and bad news travels three times faster than good news.


Airbnb to the rescue

The social media buzz drew a lot of public attention, but one in particular: that of Airbnb. Almost instantly, the company teamed up with bookstores to offer booklovers the chance of a night in a bookshop. The 10 entrants who submitted the best answer in revealing what book they would read if locked inside a bookstore for a whole night, would be given the opportunity to actually do so. 

Airbnb is more than a P2P accommodation provider; it is a community built by creating trust between users. Regular communication, detailed profiles, and strong reviews are all heavily encouraged. The engagement is phenomenal, being based on that fundamental emotion: trust. This is not an easy task to achieve, given that trust is the hardest thing to build and the easiest thing to break. 

One of the reasons they were able to do this so successfully is their commitment to understanding their customers. However,  it takes time and patience to look at things through the customers’ eyes and to deliver an experience that keeps them satisfied over time.

Want a 2200% improvement in memorability?

Tell a story. 

People are 22X more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story, according to Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner.

Take a look at how Purple got its story amplified, and earned 65M viral views:

Does your company have a story to tell?

How to generate referrals from existing clients

Our users tell the story better than we do.

Once you have a great story,  get people talking about your brand. Just like Airbnb did.

Referrals are trusted more than any other form of marketing: it is less costly and has a higher quality and quantity of leads. Who better to advertise a product than those who have experienced it?

According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Report, 81% of respondents said they trust recommendations from family and friends more than any other form of advertising.

nielsen global trust adverstising report

However, as already noted, it takes time and patience. You can’t expect your customers to give you positive reviews out of the blue, and asking them for recommendations for your business is just rude and annoying. After all, authenticity is an important ingredient when it comes to earning the trust of your clients. It takes an effort from both sides of this love story (well, mostly from you) from the very beginning of your business.

Not all customers are created equal

Consumer Activities Purchase Experience

As can be seen above, only 16% of customers share their shopping experience. This is good…but also bad. It is good because it offers a huge opportunity to stand out from all other companies. 

How do you make your customers talk about YOU and leave a review?

The answer is really straightforward and is the best way to generate referrals from existing clients. It is all common sense and can be summed up in the ‘under-promise, over-deliver’ principle:

1. Deliver on your promise. 

In order to make this happen, you need to make sure you respect your unique value proposition. That means you set realistic expectations and you pay attention to what happens after delivery. 

Facebook Wrong Order Example

How to measure whether this happens: 

Net Promoter Score (NPS) – we will talk about this a bit later. 

Shameless plug – Omniconvert Reveal, our newest product, can help you to monitor your customer experience with NPS, to generate insights, and to set alerts in the event things like those above happen. 

2. Be friendly and polite. 

Do not ask for engagement if people are not that keen on giving it.

The first step, therefore, is to be friendly and to respond to customer inquiries as quickly as possible. Numbers show that a fast (although incomplete) answer is much more appreciated (33% would recommend the brand) than an effective but too-late solution (only 17% would spread the news).  

How to measure: 

First Call Resolution (FCR) is a binary KPI to determine whether or not the customer’s inquiry was taken care of the first time they called, without having to transfer the call or call back.

3. Connect on a personal level 

Every purchase is based on a human emotion: you buy something because you like it, or maybe because it helps you solve an itch problem. Only a sensitive person can fully understand this, so make your customers see the human behind the business, showing them you care enough about them enough to want to recommend you.

Of course, this means that you also care about your employees and about their training, especially since they are the ones in direct contact with your customers.

Employee Impact Experience

4. Make your customers happy. 

Customer happiness is the hidden force behind economic growth.

96% of unhappy customers won’t complain to you but will tell 15 others, and 91% of them will never willingly do business with you again.

In addition… 

Help your customers celebrate important milestones and events in their lives, and you will get positive reviews without even asking for them. Statistics show that you can receive positive exposure just by connecting with your clients on their favourite life milestones; they will be more than pleased not only to share the experience on social media but even to include the brand. 

Here are some of the opportunities for doing so (according to sproutsocial.com):

  • Holidays
  • Travel/vacations
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Personal accomplishment
  • Educational achievements
  • Life event of a child 
  • Professional event

5. Keep it simple and make the job as easy as possible

Why ask for referrals?

With such a powerful tool, ignoring the impact of user-generated content among online shoppers would be a grave mistake. 65% of them say that this kind of content is more interesting than the content created by the brand.

Are you a sucker for numbers? Well, we have some more on user-generated content:

user generated content impact

You need to maximize social media engagement and encourage user-generated content. According to Google, it takes at least a 3-star rating for a company website to be accessed by a potential client. Plus, these companies reach 87% of all web clicks. 

It is clear, therefore, that…

Customer recommendation is pure gold

1. What’s in it for me?

You need to instantly show value right upfront. You don’t just want to share something with your friends as a ‘favor’. You want them to equally be motivated to take action by accepting the invitation to join in and have the same experience – that’s the only way you get the money, after all :). Uber also uses it, so it must be working, right?

2. Make it easy to share.

Some of us are already fed up with writing greeting cards for family holidays, not to mention writing nice reviews for a good product or experience. Just don’t forget to give simple instructions on how to use it.

3. Don’t be afraid to adapt to your media.

Email is so ‘last year’, so just go social! Facebook, Messenger & WhatsApp are always a good idea: users easily share the link with their friends and, also, it gives them the ability to share their personalized link through group messaging & more. The more people among whom you can share, the more credit you get.

4. Design for engagement.

Reward your top contributors, create related tags, create a customer referral program that both rewards your current customers for recommending you and your new customers for trying your brand out.

If you’re still not convinced and you really, really need numbers to prove the efficiency of this approach, this is where the NPS® comes in. 

NPS stands for Net Promoter Score: a customer satisfaction benchmark that measures how likely your customers are to recommend you to a friend.

nps monitor

According to our latest research, only 23% of companies monitor their Net Promoter Score.  

This in itself is a huge opportunity, because just by asking them, you already show that you care about them. 

customers leave company

Source: Rockefeller Corporation

Feel free to use it. After all, it works for Airbnb ?

Frequently asked questions about customer recommendation

What is customer recommendation?

Customer recommendation refers to the act of customers sharing positive feedback, experiences, or endorsements of a product, service, or brand with others. It can take the form of word-of-mouth recommendations, online reviews, social media posts, or direct referrals.

Why are customer recommendations important?

Customer recommendations are important for several reasons: Trust and credibility, Increased customer acquisition, Cost-effective marketing, Customer loyalty and retention: Customers who recommend a brand are often highly satisfied and loyal. They are more likely to become repeat customers, leading to increased customer retention and long-term value.

How can businesses encourage customer recommendations?

Businesses can encourage customer recommendations by delivering exceptional customer experiences, encouraging feedback and reviews; building a community, offering referral programs, leveraging social media, providing exceptional customer service. Promptly address customer issues and go above and beyond to resolve problems. Exceptional customer service can lead to positive recommendations.