I love this question.

I love it when it’s coupled with it’s buddy…. here we go:

Would you recommend us to a friend?  Why?

Looks simple… is not simple.

Some years ago, Fred Reichheld declared it “the ultimate question” in a Harvard Business Review article.

The article was about company growth and customer loyalty.  It was more closely linked to those metrics, than any other question.

That’s a huge statement.

Riechheld uses an idea called the Net Promoter Score.  It’s really effective, and simple.

Here is how Reichheld would lay it out:

On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend us?  If you wouldn’t recommend us, why not?

People who reply with 9 or 10 are promoters, 7’s and 8’s are passives, and 6 and under is a “detractor”.

Subtract your percentage of detractors from promoters, and you have your Net Promoter Score.  This score is a great predictor of how well your company is going to grow and keep clients.

Many companies score below 20, the best companies score over 80.

Why am I, a small business marketing consultant, talking about this right now?

Because I really want YOU to reach out to your customers, and start a conversation with them.

Find out what they think, get some real feedback, and then think about what to do with that.

Here are some interesting things I have found from consulting with dozens of small businesses in the last year:

ONE>>  more than half of the small businesses I have consulted to, do NOT have a database of clients that they actively use.  That’s a huge potential area of improvement.  Just undertaking this simple question described above, could be the impetus you need to start building a database, which will help you retain clients, build relationships, and extend your brand.

TWO>> here in New Zealand, I still find massive resistance to more regular communication with past clients, be that email or phone.  There is a fear that people will get annoyed.  However, no client of mine, EVER, has suffered losses when they have increased that communication.  Would you recommend a friend is a very non-offensive way to start that conversation.

Further – every single client that has built in more systems around reviews and client feedback, have grown their revenue.  Yes – more reviews = more revenue. Fact.

THREE>> around 20% of NZ based businesses have no Google reviews and or no Facebook reviews, and are worried about bad feedback.  Bring it on I say… you are better off to dig out that bad feedback and address it, than letting it fester and spread via word of mouth.  Talk to your customers, the more the better.

This is based on my interactions with clients and business owners, so is certainly not a major piece of data that will pass best practice methodology…. but it’s real, and it’s challenging.

So… Action Point:

Get as many customer email addresses as possible.

Set up an email template with your logo, and your smiling face too.  This helps.

Title the email  something intriguing like – “Free prize inside” just to get them to open the email.. you want that email to be opened.

First line would then say something like “yes, all replies to this email are in the draw for a $100 Amazon voucher”.

Then ask the question.

Then tally up the results.

Then think about what this means.

Then…. take further action.  It’s your business… you’ll know what to do next.

If you need any help with this, you can contact me via THIS FACEBOOK PAGE.

My business mission is to help small business owners achieve the lifestyle they truly desire… I’m here to help you!

Regards… Corey Hinde