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Creating a Successful Client Referral Program: Part 2 – 8 Top Tips

Published on February 20, 2022 by Sharon Morrisette

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With the home care industry becoming increasingly competitive, home care agencies are constantly looking for innovative ways to find new client referrals and conversions to grow their client base.

Client referral programs can be an excellent way to acquire valuable new leads for your business if they are set up well from the start. They are proven to be one of the most successful forms of marketing and the most cost-effective.

Investing in a client referral program, you’ll not only obtain more credible leads that are quicker to turn into conversions but will also be building your existing clients’ satisfaction and loyalty.

In Part 1, we discussed what client referral programs are and how they can benefit home care agencies.

Here in Part 2, we offer eight top tips for building your home care referral program to guarantee you get off to a flying start.

1. Make sure you’re providing exceptional services

Happy patient - Smartcare Software

From faultless scheduling and care management to excellent client/caregiver matching, client and family engagement, and more, your home care agency needs to be providing an exceptional client experience if you are going to run a successful client referral program.

Only happy, satisfied clients/patients and their families – that feel connected with your agency – will be willing to recommend your services to others and help you grow your business.

Carrying out regular satisfaction surveys and reviews will help you find out directly from your clients where you are doing well and where you can make improvements.

2. Set clear, data-driven marketing goals

Marketing goals - Smartcare Software

To measure the success of your client referral program, it’s essential that you set some SMART goals from the start. You need these clear goals before you can even begin incorporating metrics into your business decisions.

What do you hope to achieve from setting up this program? Are your goals linked to client loyalty and retention, growth, and revenue?

Do you want to lower your customer acquisition cost (CAC)? How many referrals do you need each week/month to meet your goals?

Being crystal clear when defining your goals will make it easier to design a program that is unique to your agency and primed to get you the results you’re looking for.

3. Use the right technology

Technology and home care agencies - Smartcare Software

For the most effective and cost-efficient client referral program, you will want to use tech tools that automate the process of creating, customizing, launching, and tracking – that will integrate with your social media accounts, and include a mobile app.

Typical referral software features include:

  • Contact management
  • Rewards management
  • Referral tracking
  • Analytics/ROI tracking
  • Campaign management
  • Lead engagement
  • Multi-channel marketing.

4. Consider the right incentives to offer – and deliver them quickly

Client satisfaction in home care agency - Smartcare Software

There are many ways to reward your clients and their families for each referral they make. Having a good relationship with them will help you determine what will best motivate them to join your program and spread the word. You can, of course, also ask them for ideas.

Any rewards you offer need to have a perceived high value but be cost-effective for your program to work and not take away from your bottom line.

While a client referral program can be run successfully with just cash rewards, there are many other ways to incentivize. The options are endless! For example:

  • Contests or giveaways
  • Seasonal campaigns
  • Social gifting
  • Exclusive events
  • Referral discounts/coupons/vouchers
  • Service upgrades or freebies
  • External gift cards
  • Loyalty cards
  • Charity donations
  • Mystery gifts
  • Points (that can be collected for bigger rewards).

You will need to consider whether one-sided or two-sided incentives will work best for your clients and their family and friends.

Also, do you want to set up a standard reward, tiered reward, or multi-step/stage reward structure?

5. Promote your program

A client referral is a great way to spread the word about your agency and services organically, but you have to let your clients and their families know about it!

It’s vital that you promote your program so that your current customers can join, begin recommending your agency, and take advantage of your reward offers.

There are multiple ways to showcase your client referral program, including:

  • Targeted email marketing (can be via an automated program)
  • Prominent link/pop up on your website’s home page
  • Dedicated referral program page on your website
  • Built-in social sharing
  • Information added to your social media bios
  • Call-to-actions on blog posts
  • Paid social media campaigns, targeting existing clients and their families
  • Information added to other marketing campaigns you’re running
  • Reposting in social and email content
  • Phone calls/texts.

6. Make it easy to share and refer

An effective client referral program ensures that your clients/patients and their families can quickly understand what they need to do and what’s in it for them (the reward).

It also makes it very easy for them to recommend your agency and services via several options.

Think about how it can work via email, Facebook, Twitter, or a direct link from your site. Most referral software packages give you these multiple options (see number 3. above) to make your life easier.

Integrating social sharing into your referral program will significantly increase its impact over time.

Making sure it’s easy to do is crucial, as this is where the bulk of your clients and families will naturally share with people in their network. So aim for sharing to be possible with the click of a button!

7. Focus on building relationships

One of your goals when setting up your referral program could be to include an incentive program and training for your staff to get them involved and invested too.

For example, they can be responsible for building and nurturing close relationships with your clients/patients through monthly phone calls/texts/emails.

These regular touchpoints can be used to (subtly) promote your client referral program or personally thank clients who have made recommendations.

This is a relatively low-cost and straightforward way to stay front-of-mind with your clients and offer extra incentives to top performers, especially if you have the right software tools in place to automate the process.

Additionally, sending handwritten thank you cards to each client that has made a referral on your behalf can go a long way towards building closer relationships and loyalty to your agency.

8. Implement analytics and tracking

Analytics and tracking - Smartcare Software

It is likely to take some time to perfect your agency’s client referral program and reach the goals you laid out at the start.

Like any marketing strategy, you will want to track your referral program’s performance to see what is working well and where improvements need to be made.

Agencies that track and measure performance are more likely to achieve higher revenues.

As your program follows a sequence of steps, it’s pretty easy to track general metrics, especially if you are utilizing the right software tools designed to capture this information.

You can also consider regular client feedback surveys and apply their feedback as you move forwards.

Client referral programs are one of the most effective ways to boost your home care agency’s growth and could be precisely what you need to stand out from the competition in 2022.

Are you ready to start leveraging word-of-mouth at your home care agency?

Find out how Smartcare software tools can help. Give us a call today or request a free demo.