Creating a Customer Reference Program (How-Tos)

How to design a customer reference program

A customer reference program is a way for companies to use their satisfied customers as advocates for their brand. These programs typically involve companies reaching out to their customers and asking them if they would be willing to provide a testimonial or review of their experience with the company. The goal of a customer reference program is to build trust and credibility with potential customers by showing them that real people have had positive experiences with the company. This can be an effective way for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors and to encourage potential customers to do business with them.

A B2B customer reference program is a way for businesses to showcase the positive experiences of their customers to potential new customers. This can help to build trust and credibility, and can ultimately lead to more sales.

To create a B2B customer reference program, consider following these steps

  1. Determine target audience: Identify your target audience: Who are the potential customers you want to reach with your customer reference program?
  2. Develop a plan: Develop a clear and concise customer reference program plan that outlines the goals, objectives, and strategies for obtaining and leveraging customer references. This should include a timeline for reaching out to customers, collecting feedback, and promoting the program.
  3. Create a process: Create a simple, user-friendly process for customers to provide feedback and testimonials. This may include a survey or online form that captures key information, such as the customer’s experience with your product or service, their results, and any challenges they faced.
  4. Select your customer references: Choose customers who have had a positive experience with your business and are willing to serve as references. You can also consider offering incentives, such as discounts or access to exclusive events, to encourage customers to participate.
  5. Define where you store content: collect and organize the customer feedback and testimonials, and create a library of customer references that can be easily accessed by your sales and marketing teams.
  6. Promote the customer reference program to your target audience through your website, social media channels, email marketing, and other channels. Be sure to highlight key customer success stories and provide links to the customer reference library.
  7. Develop a plan for how you will collect and use customer references: 
  8. Create marketing materials: Develop marketing materials, such as emails, social media posts, and other content, that highlight your customer references and encourage potential customers to learn more.
  9. Engage with your customer references: Stay in touch with your customer references and keep them updated on how you are using their feedback and testimonials. This will help to maintain their enthusiasm and ensure that they continue to provide positive feedback.
  10. Monitor consistently: Monitor and evaluate the success of the customer reference program, and make adjustments as needed to ensure it is meeting your goals and objectives. This may include soliciting additional feedback from customers, refining the process for collecting feedback, and promoting the program more aggressively

Specifics in identifying customers for your progam:

  1. Identify your best customers: Start by identifying the customers who are most satisfied with your products or services and who would be willing to provide a reference for you.
  2. Ask for permission: Before you reach out to a customer for a reference, it’s important to get their permission. This will help ensure that they are comfortable with providing a reference and will be more likely to give you a positive one.
  3. Provide information: Before contacting a customer for a reference, provide them with some background information about your company and the products or services you offer. This will help them provide a more detailed and accurate reference.
  4. Follow up: After contacting a customer for a reference, be sure to follow up with them to ensure that they have provided the reference and that it is accurate and positive.
  5. Use the references: Once you have collected several B2B customer references, be sure to use them in your marketing and sales materials. This will help potential customers see the value of your products or services and will increase their confidence in your company.

What features should a customer reference management have?

  1. The ability to capture and organize customer feedback and testimonials.
  2. The ability to easily share customer references with potential clients.
  3. The ability to track and monitor customer satisfaction levels.
  4. The ability to segment and categorize customer references by product, industry, or other criteria.
  5. The ability to integrate with other customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  6. The ability to automate the process of requesting and collecting customer references.
  7. The ability to customize and personalize communication with customers.
  8. The ability to manage and approve customer references before they are published.
  9. The ability to track the effectiveness of customer references in driving sales and business growth.
  10. The ability to provide analytics and reporting on customer reference data.
  11. The ability to easily add and organize customer references and testimonials.
  12. The ability to filter and search for specific references by keyword, date, product, or other criteria.
  13. The ability to customize and brand the reference pages with the company’s logo and branding.
  14. The ability to share references and testimonials on social media and other online platforms.
  15. Integration with CRM and sales tracking tools to track the impact of customer references on sales and revenue.
  16. The ability to collect and analyze customer feedback and ratings to identify trends and areas for improvement.
  17. Security and privacy features to protect sensitive customer data.
  18. Support for multiple languages and international customers.
  19. The ability to collect and manage customer case studies and success stories.
  20. Real-time notifications and alerts for new references and feedback.

Bottom Line

  1. Be consistent in your outbound messaging
  2. Sync up and coordinate outbound communications with your internal stakeholders
  3. Establish benchmarks and measure success over time
  4. Set up consistent updates with internal teams:
    • Email or Slack or Internal Portal/Wiki
    • Every week, every month or every quarter
  5. Do a year in review with your teams to not only review results but also the business processes (Think Continuous Improvement)