One Simple Action to Boost Client Referrals and Revenues by 20-50%

Numerous surveys of millions of people over many years have shown these important facts:

  • A customer or client who is dissatisfied with a business’s product or service will tell an average of 8-12 people about their negative experience.
  • A happy, satisfied customer or client tells only 1-3 people on average, about how good their experience was.

Why is this? Because, unfortunately, it’s human nature to dwell on negatives more than positives.

Given this, one of the most valuable and profitable actions any business can take is conducting customer/client surveys. I’m referring to a far better type of survey than the typical survey questionnaires e-mailed to customers, usually following a sale or purchase. These are not nearly enough because a small percentage of people (5-20%) even open such emails, and an even smaller percentage of people respond to them. And, these surveys tend to be “on a scale of 1-10” or “Agree-Disagree” type of answer, which are inadequate. A business cannot learn what their clients and customers really think from such a limited survey.

The most effective action – the one that will have an enormous impact on your brand loyalty, sales, and revenues – is to conduct phone surveys by a live customer service person. People are willing to say more in a live conversation than they would write in any written survey.

Priceless Information That Leads to Increased Brand Loyalty and Revenues

A business could increase revenues and profits by 20-50% if clients are surveyed by phone as given below – and if the results of those survey are then used to improve products and services. Contact as many customers, clients or patients as possible and find out what they truly think of the product or service they get from your business. This survey method gives you priceless information – information that will greatly increase your client loyalty, referrals, and sales.

  1. You will learn about any dissatisfied customers/clients – dissatisfied people you might not have been aware of if the surveys hadn’t been done.
  2. Once you fix the problem, you now have a satisfied customer.
  3. Then, that customer will give your company repeat business.
  4. That customer will also send other people to your business and give you positive word of mouth.
  5. Another benefit of live phone surveys is that your clients can tell you about other products or services they are interested in. You can then work on developing these additional products or services, which give you new revenue streams and increased cash flow and profits.
  6. You will also learn what your company is doing well. This is just as important as knowing what the weak points are. Your company’s strengths and successful actions can then be made known to everyone in the company, which in turn keeps everyone focused on what works well.

90% or more of all people will be happy with a business if that business resolves problems quickly and to the person’s satisfaction.

People will forgive a problem if it’s handled quickly and well. Therefore, you want to contact the customer/client early – and periodically – so as to identify any problems or negative experiences before the customers tell everyone they know about the problem.


Surveys done with existing and new clients will reveal any systemic problems with your company and its product or service, problems you might not know existed. Once you are aware of any problems, you can fix them. This is not a job for a low-level, inexperienced person. Ideally, people conducting surveys by phone should be very knowledgeable about the company’s product line, and the inner workings of the company itself. They are also excellent communicators and very good with people.

Phone surveyors should not sound like they are reading from a written script, even if they are. Here are the ideal attitudes and qualities of successful phone surveyors:

  • Genuine interest in each client and what each has to say
  • Friendliness, but not a phony, syrupy-sweet attitude. Just honest, real friendliness.
  • Good product knowledge
  • Follow through and follow up
  • Listen for real when people talk. Listen attentively with the idea of fully understanding what the person has to say – good, bad and everything in between.
  • Ask any question necessary for a complete understanding of any situation or problem. Phone surveyors should be able to think on their feet and have a genuine conversation without a script. Scripts are fine but should not be crutches.
  • Allow the other person to speak and finish their thoughts. Don’t interrupt. Encourage the customer to speak his or her mind, no matter what emotion the customer is throwing out.
  • The surveyor truly wants to know the truth – positive or negative. The most important point to doing phone surveys is to get the customers to tell the surveyor what they are actually thinking, not just polite answers. Surveyors want the true answers, and they communicate in a manner that gets people to open up to them.

Why ask questions and survey customers by phone? Because you really want to know! Know what? Know of any problems with your organization’s products or service. And, know of any other products or services your customers might like to have. If the customer has any problem or upset, it is the surveyor’s job to get that out in the open, fully.

This is the only way an organization can resolve a problem and improve their products and service in the future – which increases brand loyalty, repeat business and positive word of mouth.

Surveyors are to keep notes of any such problems and keeps track of the progress. A good phone surveyor will follow up with the appropriate co-worker to make sure he or she is resolving any issue with a customer. In this way, clients and issues don’t fall through the cracks. Good surveyors don’t simply hand off a problem and be done with it, putting the problem out of their minds.

If your business has too many customers – hundreds or thousands a month, for example – then it’s probably too much to expect that each one can be contacted. So choose a percentage to call, such as 25%. Call and survey every fourth name on the customer/client list, and this will give you a good sample size to determine any systemic problems.

Even if the organization must hire additional people for this job, it is well worth the cost. Your business will generate 10-50 times the added expense in additional revenues. Just make sure these people are well trained on the product lines so they can communicate intelligently with customers. And make sure they are excellent communicators as well.


Joe Kerner
Joe Kerner
Joe Kerner has been a business owner and management consultant for 30 years. He has worked with hundreds of businesses, business owners and executives, spanning several industries and professions. He is a recognized expert in such areas as leadership, management, organizational development, efficiency, personnel development and training, sales training and business planning. He has helped his client business increase their profitability, growth, efficiency, and productivity. He has consulted and coached businesses in such industries as health care, software development, biotech, construction, financial services, scientific instrument firms, systems analysis, travel, hospitals, and insurance. Joe is also an accomplished speaker and has delivered over 1,100 seminars and workshops covering such areas as leadership and management, operations, personnel development, and efficiency. In 1998, Joe was a co-founder of a very successful health care group in Virginia and North Carolina. He served as Vice President of Operations and managed the entire group. Under his leadership, this group increased revenue by 300-400% within three years. This group was sold for a high profit in 2013. Joe holds a Master of Science degree in Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He has also completed an extensive and rigorous management training program, the Organization Executive Course. This is an intensive 2,000-hour curriculum covering the fundamental principles, technology and advanced systems of management, leadership, organization, executive training, personnel development and management, management tools, marketing, and sales.

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