At the present, this may seem obvious to most of us however how many times have you heard that “ABC Organization would be an excellent reference for our product” and then you reach out to get in touch with ABC and they are still disappointed at something that occurred a year ago. Welcome to the complex world of Customer References.
I would define a Customer Reference as a person at a company who is willing to share a positive experience with one of your products/solutions.
I have highlighted the important keywords for the reason that if you take any one of those four words out of the definition, then they are not actually a reference. Why?
- Firstly, we deal with PEOPLE; not companies. The people at the company are those people who used to tell the stories. If you don’t have a contact with the company and you don’t have a reference.
- The Company is very important. Someone who is looking to buy your solution is not involved in talking with your next door neighbor or mother. They want to go to someone who works for a company related to their own.
- Sharing is quite critical. It is great if they are willing to let know you how good you or your products are however the value is in them informing their story to others.
- Positive i.e. should be obvious. Just because the individual has implemented your solution doesn’t imply they will be an excellent reference for you. If a normal implementation takes 5 days and it took them 5 months, they may not tell a positive story.