According to research by Zendesk, 88% of people have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision. People hate the thought of making the wrong decision. Depending on the product or service you provide, the decision may well be an important one to your prospects.
The social proof provided by testimonials and other forms of customer feedback is really important. However, even if you’ve provided an amazing service, your customers may not think to put it in writing.
That’s why if you make a purchase on Amazon or watch one of their films, you’ll get a follow-up email asking you to rate it. They know you won’t think to make it public of your own accord!
Customer service stories are spread widely – especially bad ones.
95% of your customers will share bad experiences and 87% share good experiences with others. Click To Tweet
In my next blog post, I will talk about when you should ask for a testimonial. Today I’d like to share some tips on making sure that when you do ask for a testimonial, you’ll end up with something you can actually use in your marketing campaigns and on your website.
Few of your clients really know how to write a testimonial that will convince your prospects to make a purchase. That’s what this video is about.
Transcript – How to Get Better Client Testimonials for Your Business
Client testimonials can be a great way to get social proof from your customers in order to build trust with your prospects. Unfortunately, most testimonials tend to fail miserably! They’re full of well-meaning sentiment, but they fail to do anything to provide real confidence to anyone considering hiring you.
In today’s tips and tricks video, I explain the problem with most client testimonials and what you can do to get a better class of testimonial.
Hi. I’m Clive Maloney, founder of small business coach at Get Real About Business.
Testimonials build social proof
It’s increasingly the case now, especially when you buy something online, that people search for feedback and ratings on a particular product or service before make a purchase. That feedback from a third party acts as a level of social proof as to whether it’s going to be a good purchase decision or not.
Recently I wanted to buy a new DVD player from Amazon. I found one that I really liked the look of and was considering buying it, but then after checking the feedback I changed my mind and bought a different item instead. Of course, had the feedback been positive, I would have made up my mind up to go ahead with the original purchase.
Have you ever had an experience like that?
Testimonials are a great way of getting that kind of social proof. You need to be getting testimonials for your business and putting them on places like LinkedIn and on your website so that people can check you out. You also want testimonials so you can put them to use in your marketing promotions.
Collecting your testimonials
When you collect testimonials make sure that you include their full names, titles, locations and pictures wherever possible.
This makes testimonials feel more real and enhances their credibility. I like to link to my customers’ websites or provide some way of the prospect contacting them. That way prospects know that it’s a legitimate testimonial and they can check them out if they don’t believe me.
Obviously, you must consider privacy issues, but remember that, in general, full names are more believable than initials. Titles are all about authority, experience and expertise.
Get a photograph of the person if you can; preferably a head shot. Photos help your prospects identify with your customers. Don’t just use any old photo, though. If it’s poor quality or shows somebody who looks for some reason a little odd, then that’s going to subtract from the impact.
If you’re using a blurry, black and white photo of a guy with a beer in his hand, that’s going to give the completely the wrong impression. Use good photos or none at all.
What to do with your testimonials?
Keep all your testimonials filed away in a folder on your computer. You can then print them out or quickly cut and paste them in when it comes time to use them.
Something else that you can do with your testimonials is put them in a brag book. Some people keep posh leather-bound presentation files of their testimonials, but a brag book is something a bit more fun.
It should contain all your testimonials, letters of thanks, photos, newspaper clippings or anything else that you want to show off about.
What you can do is show it to your clients or leave it in a reception area of somewhere public so that people can have a look at it and explore. It’s a lot of fun!
If you get a client say something nice about you on Twitter, take a screenshot, save it and then add that to your brag book. Don’t worry if they mistyped something or made a mistake. That quirky way that people sometimes write on social media just adds to the originality and the authenticity of your message.
Most testimonials without any guidance from you will likely be a general pat on the back. The person will say how great you or your product is. That’s great, but it’s not very powerful.
What makes a great client testimonial?
A great testimonial will have a clear before and after in real and measurable terms. It will describe the customer’s situation before they made a purchase and then what happened as a result. Think hard results with this. That means getting your clients to put a number on it.
For me as a business coach, that could mean a lot of different things. It could include an amount or percentage increase in turnover, increase in profits, increase in staff retention figures, the number of sales, customer satisfaction scores or reduced time to deliver a service.
As you can see, these are very tangible results and it will give your prospects confidence that they too can experience similar results. Of course, your results might be different, but the more tangible the results are the greater impact your testimonial will have.
Finally, a great testimonial will include your customer’s experience. This is about the emotional element of using your service or product. Was it quick, easy, friendly or fun? Nobody wants something that’s going to be a lot of hard work and hassle. They want enjoyment and simplicity.
As you can imagine, if you get a client testimonial that covers all these bases you’re prospects are going to be really impressed. The question remains, though, how do you get your customers to say these things?
Influencing your customers to write testimonials that are powerful marketing pieces
Quite simply, you ask for it. If you’ve provided a great service your customers will be more than happy to help you out. So don’t be afraid to say what you need. One way that I do this is after I’ve had a conversation with someone and they’ve agreed to provide a testimonial, I shoot them a quick email and thank them for agreeing to do so.
In that email, I explain that I often find that people struggle to know what to cover in a testimonial. I don’t want to put words on their mouths, but I do want to make it a little easier for them. That’s why I put together this list of questions that they might like to answer in their testimonial.
So here’s the list:
- What was the problem they were experiencing before they purchased your product or programme?
- Had they previously tried anything else to solve their problem? If so, what?
- What did they find as a result of buying your programme, product or service?
- What was the best thing about it?
- What are three other benefits that they’ve enjoyed as a result of purchasing your product, programme or service?
- What would they say to anyone considering making a purchase like this and would they recommend it? If so, why?
- Is there anything they’d like to add?
Keep your email light, short and friendly.
Write testimonials for your clients
A slightly different approach that you can use if your customers say that they’d like to provide you with a testimonial, but they don’t know what to write, is offer to write it for them. Say you’ll give them a short interview and type it up as a testimonial. The customer is then free to make any changes that they like.
You can use the same seven questions that we just covered previously in your interview. The great thing about doing it this way is that you don’t have to wait around and wonder if your customer is actually going to put pen to paper. You can take care of that for them.
Testimonials are an important piece of social proof for your business, but too many people leave it to chance. What you often end up with is well-intended, but dull and meaningless copy that will do nothing to help your prospects make a buying decision or even give you a call for a meeting.
Take control of events yourself by being bold and letting your customers know how they can help you best. After all, that’s what they want to do when they agree to provide you with a testimonial!
So that’s my bit done today. Now it’s your turn!
Tell me about experiences you’ve had around getting client testimonials. I really want to hear them. Do you ask for testimonials? Do you wait to be offered? Do you get really good testimonials or are they, as I described before, well-intended but dull?
Put your comments in the comment box below. I promise to read them and get back to you. While you’re at it, please subscribe to my channel like this video and share it with your friends. Go on! You know you want to!
Until next time, I’ve been Clive Maloney. Here’s to you and your highly successful business!