To grow customer referrals, you need to give people a reason to talk about what makes your business unique. In other words, make your business remarkable.

Consider a few examples:

  • You won’t find a receptionist in any of Umpqua Bank’s “retail stores” (i.e., bank branches). Instead, you’ll find a “Director of First Impressions” with stellar customer service skills whose job it is to make the banking experience as fast, easy and friendly as possible.
  • Sweetgreen, a fast food salad chain in the Northeast, has “street teams” who regularly go out and perform random acts of kindness in the neighborhoods in which they operate. On a rainy day, for example, you might leave work and find that they’ve covered your bicycle seat with a protective plastic cover and included a coupon for a free bowl of soup.
  • A customer service agent with an independent insurance agency in Wisconsin stays on the telephone for over an hour with an elderly customer who has been stranded on the side of the road and is waiting for a tow truck to arrive. Naturally, the customer is elated with the level of personal care and attention—and writes a fan letter that the agency uses as part of its brand marketing.

In the following video for Grange Insurance Association and its network of independent agents, I discuss customer service lessons that businesses of all sizes and types can apply to inspire referrals and galvanize growth.

So how do you get a conversation started? It’s relatively simple: Be remarkable, and the results will follow.

(To watch the entire “Building Your Agency” series that I recorded for Grange Insurance Association, click here.)