Customer testimonials probably sit at the top of the list of uncomfortable and awkward actions of business along with networking. Why? Most likely this is because it involves not only talking to customers but asking them to provide an appraisal of your products and services. The fear is often related to what if the comment is less than complimentary.
But this doesn’t need to be the case, unfortunately the word review has become synonymous with online sites where customers are publicly encouraged to provide ratings leaving some businesses baffled at the number of negative comments they receive. Plus, on some of these sites the review holds a lot of weight e.g., if the feedback goes below a threshold set by the company, then this can impact future abilities to sell.
So, rather than consider a testimonial as a review see it as a chance to receive a positive comment from a customer who is only too happy to shout loudly about the great service you offer.
Consider yourself as a new customer and you find a company selling a particular product that you are interested in buying what is the first thing you tend to do, search for reviews to see what customers have experienced. Chances are if the reviews are bad then you’d probably look somewhere else. Customer testimonials are really that powerful as they dehumanise your brand, boost your reputation, build credibility, and promote confidence.
Firstly, never pay for a review and instead start by asking those customers in which you already have a good relationship, who regularly engage with you and importantly that you feel comfortable about approaching. A telephone or video call or a physical face to face meeting would be better than trying to achieve this on email or text. Simply ask if they would be willing to provide a couple of sentences to explain why they chose you for their business and why they would be willing to recommend your services to others.
Before considering publishing any testimonial online in your website, brochure, or social media platforms you must receive permission from the author. Not only is this a polite thing to do it also safeguards you from complaints. Next profile this review on your website preferably on the homepage so that it is easily visible to new potential customers. Create an engaging banner perhaps using a photo of your customer and their quote being sure to add key words to the text so it can be optimised by SEO and include hashtags so the post can be categorised on social media. Also, if you are looking to use a site like Linkedin to publish your content you can tag the person and their company which will help to improve the success of your post.
For those businesses who are comfortable with the above two steps they might want to consider going a step further than just asking for a couple of sentences and instead consider profiling the customer and their brand in a blog, newsletter, or an article. This can be extremely beneficial to your customers especially if you have a large social media presence or a significantly sized mailing list as effectively you will be helping to promote their company.
Customer testimonials are a vital element to your marketing boosting your reputation and your brand and are sadly overlooked due to the awkward nature of asking a customer for a review in case the experience is returned with a negative comment.
The good news is that if you are planning to use a customer testimonial on your website and in your social media marketing content then you have the power to decide where and how to use it. However, if when approaching a client and they do provide negativity turn this into a positive by meeting with that customer to determine the issue and how you can look to improve your services.
Finally, don’t forget to thank your customer, not only for taking the time to write something about your company but for being a continued loyal customer. Afterall the testimonial could help you to attract new prospects, and nothing sings your praises louder than the proof of a current happy customer.