This week, we continue our discussion of the top marketing sources by discussing referral marketing. Here’s what over 500 home care business owners have to say about this form of marketing, according to the latest home care industry survey results published in the “2014 Private Duty Benchmarking Study”:
- Clients, past and current, and their loved ones are the top referral source, with 19.5% of participants ranking it at the top.
- The 2013 annual revenue for that 19.5% was 7.2% more than the industry average.
- They also spent less to acquire each new client, spending $18.61 (3.8%) less than the industry average.
- Referrals from clients and their loved ones have a 10.5% higher inquiry to admission ratio than the industry average, meaning they are more likely to become new clients.
In other words, it pays to ask your clients for referrals! A recommendation from a trusted friend is the best referral your business could receive.
Do you have a client referral program in place? If your answer is “no,” then your business could be missing out on an opportunity for growth—and you’re not the only one. In a recent webinar for home care business owners, Home Care Pulse COO Erik Madsen surveyed participants and found that 67% of them had no client referral program in place. He pointed out that with a 10.5% higher inquiry to admission ratio, for the average home care business, client referrals “could mean an additional $444,000 in revenue over the next five years.”
But, before you begin asking for referrals, you must make client satisfaction your top priority. Your current clients and their families need to be extremely happy and satisfied with your services. Their needs should be met, their concerns should be addressed immediately, and caregivers should be trained, friendly and knowledgeable. Since your clients interact often with your caregivers, it’s important for your caregivers to be happy, too. Happy caregivers lead to happy clients. And happy clients are most likely to recommend your company to others.
Once you are doing all you can to ensure that your clients are satisfied, let clients know that you appreciate their referrals. Send them cards to hand out to friends or send out reminder letters asking for referrals. Get your caregivers involved. And make it a point to remind clients of the variety of services you provide and of your dedication to client satisfaction, so clients can tell their friends that you are the best provider for their needs.
In his recent white paper, “3 Proven Strategies for Turning Your Clients Into Your Best Promoters,” The CEO and founder of Home Care Pulse, Aaron Marcum, says, “Everyone needs to be reminded you like referrals! Most importantly, they need to know how to refer their friends and family to you. Do not be shy when asking!”
Clients may love your services, but they might not think to mention it to family and friends. It’s your job to spread the word and regularly remind clients to tell everyone about your company. A change won’t happen overnight, but little by little, through your efforts, client referrals will increase—and so will your business!