Marty and Liz DeNinno, president and vice president, respectively, of Southern New Jersey-based Pinnacle Irrigation & Nightlighting, say that their two referral programs have been highly successful in driving new business. Existing customers are encouraged to refer both brand new installation customers and service customers and, in return, are rewarded for their help.
As part of the company’s customer referral program, if an existing customer refers a new installation, they’ll get their next service for free – such as the winterization of their sprinkler system. If an existing customer refers someone for service, they’ll get their next service at a discount. And those referrals can be accumulated. “We have one customer that lived in a development and referred three of his neighbors,” Liz says. “He ended up getting 30 percent off his next service charge because we gave him 10 percent each time he referred someone.”
Liz says that if a particular customer really goes above and beyond in referrals, they’ll sometimes throw in extra rewards. “We had a new installation client that ended up referring us to two other customers and helped us get those jobs,” Liz says. “He was already a new customer himself so on top of giving him a future free service, we also sent him a restaurant gift certificate. When warranted, we’ll send out gift cards as thank-you’s.”
Some clients get really motivated by the incentive, says Marty. “We have one customer that has never had to pay for a winterization yet,” he says. “To us it’s a win-win. It’s keeping that long-time customer happy and he’s continuing to bring us new work.”
Pinnacle has acquired approximately 50 new customers through referrals, Liz says. The company has 1,200 active customers, and referrals from landscapers and builders accounts for approximately 10 percent of the company’s sales.
“A customer referral is like gold,” Liz adds. “People pay attention to the recommendations of their peers. For us, that’s meant focusing on customer service as a top priority so that we can keep those referrals coming in.”