It is a best practice of a customer reference program to have a “nomination” process in place to identify and add customer advocates to your program. However, many companies struggle with their nomination programs because it takes organizational buy in and can be difficult to successfully ingrain in the company culture. Fortunately, there is an easier way to identify advocates to participate in your customer reference program, even if you don’t currently have a formalized “nomination” process. What’s better—it’s FREE!

There are currently over a million companies on LinkedIn representing over 50,000 products and services on LinkedIn Company Pages. This growing popularity has induced LinkedIn to launch some new features for Company Pages, including page visitor analytics. Perhaps the most notable of these new features is the ability to embed a “recommend” button on your site. This new feature, in particular, can be very insightful when leveraged as part of a customer reference program. The recommend button not only makes it easier for happy customers to publicly recommend your products and services, but also encourages testimonials that offer the most authentic, credible endorsements for your company.

Customer reference programs are designed to leverage the testimony of your satisfied customers to help add credibility to your marketing messages and give prospects invaluable third party feedback about your company. But these programs don’t work without the right participants in your program. The LinkedIn recommend feature can be used as a step in your nomination process to identify customer advocates that may be missing from your current customer reference program. So, much like identifying your “Promoter” customers from a customer experience program such as Net Promoter, this is a simple way of doing it with social media.

And while it is great that you can now show customer recommendations on your company profile, you should also be looking for customers making recommendations on individual employees’ LinkedIn profiles within your company. Go one step further with this new widget and take note as to which customers are recommending individuals within your company. Chances are, if they’re happy with the service they received from someone in your company, they are probably happy with your product or service as well. Their recommendation is an activity that identifies them as a potential new customer advocate, who should be nominated as a participant in your customer reference program.

The bottom line is, your customer advocates are out there, it’s just a matter of finding them and inviting them to participate in your customer reference program. Install the LinkedIn widget today, and increase customer reference nominations using social media as an easy tool to see results.

Continue the conversation with us and find out other ways you can increase reference nominations in your customer reference program.

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney is the Founder & CEO of RO Innovation. His passion for helping salespeople excel in all aspects of B2B selling, especially where customer references are involved, was the reason he started the company. His desire for helping others succeed flows through in the expert thought leadership he provides the industry, his customers and his employees.