Inbound Marketing Blog | Inbound

How to Win Customers and Influence Referrals

Written by Steven Male | May 21, 2015 6:43:57 AM

This is the story of how I managed to increase the open and engagement rate of my Mailchimp list by 227%, leading to two customers, five referrals and a ton of actionable advice so I could provide even more value, all within 48 hours.

By the end of this post my goal is to teach you the single biggest step you can make to improve your customer engagement which will lead to more happy customers and consequently more sales.



I will also run through a checklist of actionable advice you can use immediately to massively improve your customer satisfaction and help you achieve even better results than I managed.

If you only take one piece of advice from this post, let it be this - more customer satisfaction leads to more sales.

My journey into customer satisfaction started a year ago when I first opened the doors to my business.

One of the first things I did was create an email list with MailChimp and leveraged everyone I knew to join the list.

Initially it was just my mum but that’s okay: she opened all the emails so I had an open rate of 100%.

But to be honest, I was feeling pretty confident. I had been listening to all the videos and going to all the events so I knew exactly what to do step by step to get my business off the ground.

I even stumbled upon the book ‘Jab Jab Jab Right Hook’, which after 300 pages of fluff, told me to send out three pieces of valuable content to every one ask you make.

Six months into my business I was living the high life and I had grown my list to 5,000 absolutely perfect clients.

5,000 customers… If every new product converted at a 10% conversion rate... Wow. I was already dreaming about my new jet ski!

What I realized was that the world doesn’t operate the same way as my textbooks and I had been facing a stomach churning problem that I’m sure you can relate to.

The problem was that people weren’t buying.

The other problem was that people were starting to open my emails less and less.

I sent out a survey in an attempt to spur conversation (never do this, surveys suck), and they weren’t willing to chat either!

Finally I reached out to my phone a few days later to check the results and my heart plummeted.

They were losing interest...

It was then I realized I had the same problem that most other companies with an email list face.

Most businesses don’t actually know what their customers want.

How can you be the business of their dreams if you don’t even know what they think about you?


Cue The Net Promoter Score

After many late nights of scrambling through Google to find a solution I stumbled upon the concept of the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

While many startups recommend going out and talking to your users (which I did), when you have a list of 5,000 or more people, it gets a little difficult!

Net Promoter Score is the percentage of people who love your business minus the percentage of people who are feeling ‘meh’ about your business.

The whole concept revolves around one simple question - “How likely are you to recommend us to your friends?” And giving the customers an option to leave feedback on why they gave you that rating (which I found out over 70% do).

As you may know it’s 10x more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to sell to your existing customers so making sure your customers are satisfied is vital!

On top of this, being able to see exactly what your customers love about your business and being able to solve the problems of those who aren’t having such a good time iseven more important!

This extra step can massively improve your bottom line as well as deal with the root cause and not just the side effects.

So I signed up to an NPS service.

It took about 2 minutes to get started, import my list and get it all automated, no more fiddling required.

They do it in a way where once you’re set up, you are constantly getting feedback daily so you can wake up and go to work with real customer feedback being delivered to your email throughout the day… automatically.

After talking to the crew behind it, here’s the best way to set it up:

  • So I have a list of 5,000 customers and I want to be able to get a gauge on how my customers are doing once a quarter, so once every three months.
  • This means I’ll be sending 20,000 surveys each year (4 per customer).
  • Each year there is roughly 250 working days.
  • 20,000 / 250 = 80 surveys a day, Monday to Friday.

This will put in me contact with my whole list four times a year giving me a very clear image on how my company is running and I can ensure that every single customer is heard, taken care of and satisfied

That’s incredible.

And the morning after I set it up, something amazing happened… people started replying!

Straight away I managed to understand exactly why the engagement rate was dropping and what I could do to fix this.

On top of this, from sorting out a few of my customers problems in real time, I actually managed to get two upsells like the one below…

Finally these two extra clients sent me an email a week later with referrals from their friends!

With what started from a stomach churning moment, ended with two additional clients, a few referrals, and an overall increase in my engagement rate and customer satisfaction all thanks to NPS.

Imagine going to work and constantly receiving a consistent stream of happy customers, and be able to solve any problems real time rather than waiting until too late like these guys…

And this review goes on for a while.


The One Engagement Checklist To Rule Them All

Okay! So here is what I would do immediately to get you started on the path of more engagement, higher customer satisfaction and an overall increase in sales.

Step #1) Sign Up

Sign up to a NPS provider... like right now. 

It’s simply the best way to to keep a constant pulse on how your customer are doing, what they’re doing and help you understand what you can do to build more trust and generate more revenue.

Step #2) Import and Send

Import your Mailchimp list and get it set up immediately. The only thing that will help you improve your relationship with your customers is by asking… nicely (see what I did there).

Step #3) Take It Slowly

Don’t avalanche yourself with feedback. Go slow and make sure you can handle the amount of responses you are getting. This way you can get constant, daily, feedback, react to the data immediately, and you can make improving your score a daily ritual.

Step #4) Take Immediate Action

Like I said in the last step, when you get someone sending in their feedback, take action immediately. Reply back to them and either encourage their positive reviews or if they have a problem, fix it. One of the biggest factors I found to improve my relationship with my customers is speed.

Using gives the customers the ability to opt-in or opt-out of follow up communication which I haven’t seen anywhere else. This gives you the rare opportunity to follow up and turn a detractor into a promoter instantly. If a customer is unhappy you only have a tiny window to make amends so make sure you do so immediately.

And don’t just limit this to customers! I’m using it to help improve my emails to leads as well.

Trust is something you need to build overtime so the best time to get started is now. Don’t wait until a problem comes up to figure out if your customers trust you. Instead, put in the time to build trust by establishing a customer culture that encourages it.


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