The goal of any good client services organization is to have 100 percent reference-able clients. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? You offer a sound product, qualified and dedicated agents, years of industry knowledge, a quick turnaround to market, and you’re bound to get a reference, right? But should that be your only goal?
Not every client (no matter how satisfied they are) can or will give a reference. Perhaps they rely on government contracts, and policy demands them to remain neutral. Perhaps they just don’t want their name published by others. You’ve worked hard to become their partner and helped them grow their business. What’s in it for you? OK, I know they’ve signed a multiyear contract and made your president happy. But what about next year’s sales projections? How do you grow the business year over year?
A good reference can be worth its weight in oil. We like oil. We need oil. In most of the world, oil is a symbol of wealth and power. But not every oil well can be a gusher. Some never discover anything but air or water. What do you do when the black gold you’ve been searching for turns out to be plain old H2O? Maybe you’re not as bad off as you think. After all, spring or mineral water can be bottled and sold for quite a profit.
Case in point, an established client and trusted business partner (who cannot officially be named as a reference) found a way to demonstrate how their “water” was just as valuable to us as “oil.” Our organizations partnered on many levels; therefore, it was natural that the relationship grew over time. Since the beginning, we expanded from basic agent services with DTMF IVR call delivery, to a natural language solution, to Web services and more. Recent enhancements to some of our Web solutions impressed the right person at the right time, which turned into a new piece of business. The new opportunity had the potential to reach across many divisions of the company, which up to then had been out of our reach. It wasn’t technically are “referral” but it was just as important. Mmmm … that water sure is clean, cold and tasty to drink!
So, keep an open mind when it comes to referrals. Striking oil is preferred. But, if you have the right attitude, water could turn out to be just as satisfying.