92% of people trust referrals from friends

QUESTION – how do I maximise repeat business and referral rates?

THOUGHT – be remarkable

There is a fun little book called Purple Cow, written by Seth Godin. The premise of the book is summarised in the following tale.

You and your family are travelling through the countryside, and you see a brown cow in a paddock. Do you tell the family? Of course not, they have seen many a brown cow. Then you see a black cow – and again you don’t tell the family. Black cows are ubiquitous. Then you see a bright purple cow. Do you tell the family? Of-course you do, because a purple cow is remarkable.

In a speech on this same topic, Godin suggested that – ‘nobody recommends a mediocre restaurant’. The inference here is that while we might go to a mediocre restaurant once or twice because it is cheap, or even regularly if we have limited options –  we would not recommend it. A mediocre restaurant, while perhaps adequate and unlikely to be closed by the health department, is not remarkable enough to recommend or even revisit more than one has to.

The fact is, we are attracted to the remarkable. We are far more likely to recommend a business that has provided a remarkable or extraordinaryexperience, one worth talking about.

Recent research found that 92% of people surveyed responded positively to recommendations or referrals from friends.  The potential for recommendations is remarkable – but will only be maximised if the product and/or experience of purchasing are also remarkable.

Another recent study found that 42% of businesses surveyed believed that enhancing the customer experience will directly impact on repeat business rates. A further 33% suggested it would affect customer satisfaction.

It is not just the product that can, and should, be remarkable. Ideally, the whole customer experience and the entire process of purchasing should be remarkable. Further, smart businesses devote resources to identifying opportunities for making as many aspects of the purchase experience as remarkable as possible.

That said, it is essential that the remarkable aspects of the shopping experience are relevant to the needs, wants, and expectations of the customers. Indeed, the remarkable aspects of the process must be customised to the primary target market. This may alienate other markets, but that invariably happens with effective marketing.

Shopping at IKEA is a remarkable experience. It is an experience that alienates me more than I could articulate – as does the IKEA product. This would not bother the marketing team at IKEA one little bit as they would not consider me part of their target market. Their target market loves IKEA and, as a result, return time and again, and proudly show off their purchases to friends.


Do whatever it takes to rise above mediocrity. Look at every aspect of your product, the customer experience, and the process in general and make it as remarkable as possible.

Accept that when your business is remarkable, some potential customers will not like it. However, your primary target market will like it so much that they will return and refer.


Super Office, Shaun Buck, Saasquatch, Hubspot, ShareSomeFriends, Journal of Marketing, Nielsen, Texas Technical University, INC and Customer Experience Insight

MORE THOUGHTS – www.djohncarlsonesq.com 

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