Have you ever initiated a referral program and lost track of where it’s at?

Or,  are you looking at putting a referral program in place (good idea!), but you want to know the best way to ensure it is successful?

This is where automated referral management comes in. The “old ways” of referral programs were often very manual, sort of the staffing industry equivalent of a stamped coffee card. Sometimes people remember, sometimes they don’t, and no one knows how many they should truly have credit for.

An automated staffing referral program takes care of many of the limitations of those old ways. Here’s how:

#1. Never lose track again

The more manual methods of running a referral program are notoriously difficult to track. They’re open to error – someone forgets to record a referral or someone forgets to check back in six months, when the referred employee has been on the job for a while. Sometimes, people even forget who referred the person in the first place.

There are several very good reasons why you should closely track your referral program. First of all, because if you’ve put a program in place and made associated promises, you need to honor those. It can be a poor customer experience if they’ve taken the time to make referrals, but not received the promised rewards.  Tracking ensures that you know exactly who referred whom, and when they are owed their reward.

Secondly, keeping track helps you to gauge the overall satisfaction of your clients. You can see exactly how many of your placements were from referrals and know that people don’t refer unless they’ve had a good experience. 

Thirdly, keeping track can help you to understand if any promotional efforts you are undertaking for your referral program are working. Are people using it? If not, why not? You have to be able to measure your results accurately to make any strategic plans.

#2. Make sharing easy

One of the big benefits of a good, automated referral management system is that you can make it easy for your clients to share unique links or pages. This makes it more likely that they will share with their connections. 

Referral programs with too many steps or some manual “word of mouth” method tend to be less successful because it’s not so easy for people to make a referral. An automated system can literally make referring one-step: share the link and when your friends click on it, they can sign up with us and you’re credited with the referral.

Automated referral management

#3. Make referrals fun

People respond to “gamification” and this has been proven among referral programs. The term gamification refers to taking game-like elements and injecting them into business and marketing strategies. For example, you see fitness apps programmed to allow people to attain levels or badges in return for their workouts.

Some famous gamification examples include the Starbucks, Nike and Duolingo apps. Gamification captivates adults and kids – we’re seeing it used in the programs that are helping kids get through home-schooling.

There are a few reasons gamification works. Firstly, it helps to show people a clear path of where to go or what to do – “if I make two referrals, I get X.” Secondly, it reinforces “good” behavior. Positive reinforcement can help cement new behaviors, so that they continue – most staffing companies would love people to keep making referrals! Thirdly, people can get a sense of achievement which is a powerful psychological driver. Generally speaking, humans do things in order to achieve something and gamification helps to highlight what they’re trying to achieve.

Can you gamify without automated referral management? Maybe, but it will be so much more difficult to manage due to reasons we’ve already highlighted. The automation component includes the gamification, so you’re not relying on humans to do things to keep track.

Automated referral management

#4. Make it easy to scale your referral program

If your referral program relies on manual methods and you already struggle to keep track of it, how much harder is it to grow the program? The more referrals and people involved, the more difficult it is to manage. You would need to keep throwing resources at it in order to cope.

An automated referral program allows you to scale quickly. It means that you can automate key processes that you might otherwise have to remind people to take care of.

Here’s an example; have you ever found yourself having to frequently remind recruiters to invite their clients to make referrals? Referral outreach can take a lot of time if you rely on manually typing up an email or picking up a phone. 

On the other hand, an automated referral program means that you don’t need to waste more time on reminders and time-consuming processes. Email or text outreach can be entirely automated, including setting up the individual links for your clients.

Automated referral management

You can also make it easy for people to join your referral program on their own. For example, you can have a form or widget on your website that invites people to join, which is followed up with an automated email response. 

Automated referral management

#5. Improve your transparency

In the recruiting business, you compete on being able to find the best possible candidates for your clients. You’re also having to manage some of the impressions of staffing firms that many people out there have developed – an idea that maybe firms will over-promise and under-deliver.

It’s true that many people are jaded by other recruitment firms’ approaches, so referrals and promoting a good impression of your company via those referrals are important. You need to foster your relationships with candidates so that they’re able to tell people “these are the good guys.” A big part of that is trust and to grow trust, you need to demonstrate transparency.

If you’ve done everything else right by your candidates, don’t let your referral program let you down! You work hard to grow your reputation and provide a top candidate experience, so if you lose track of referrals or there’s no clear way to monitor them, you can lose credibility with the candidate. People will often fixate on that one thing that they didn’t feel good about, even if everything else was great. An automated referral system is the answer to keeping that part of your business transparent.

Final thoughts

Automated referral management is the way to go, whether you already have a referral program and you’re wanting to make improvements, or you’re looking at implementing one and want to start out with best practices.

An automated program means you can easily keep track of referrals and ensure that credit is given where it’s due. You can see how successful referrals are and you can use that data to make any necessary adjustments to your program. 

Automation can make referrals easy and fun, meaning it is more likely that you can encourage candidates to participate. Importantly, automation helps with transparency, so people can be assured that they’re being credited as promised.

Lastly, automation helps you to scale your program sustainably. It means that you don’t have to do more work to get more referral clients because processes can happen automatically. If you want to check it out for yourself, book a demo with Staffing Referrals here.