3 Tips for Gathering Valuable Customer Testimonials


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For businesses in every industry, one of the toughest challenges is establishing trust with new customers. And while there are hundreds of unique strategies for overcoming this hurdle, one of the most frequently used and highly effective tactics involves customer testimonials.

Value of Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonials and reviews have long been a valuable aspect of marketing, sales, and advertising. The advent of the internet has simply increased access to these testimonials and made them more powerful. Here are a few of the reasons why customer testimonials are so valuable:

  • Credible. Customer testimonials are a form of social proof. Therefore, they enhance the clout and credibility of your brand. People would much rather listen to a customer talk about your brand than someone inside the company who is obviously biased.

  • Diverse. Ideally, testimonials are diverse – which allows your brand to speak to every possible customer. Check out this example from Tax Effective. Their testimonial page features stories from medical professionals, corporate executives, business owners, and everyone in between. The benefit is that every customer can find a testimonial that relates to them.

  • Natural. Finally, testimonials are natural. Assuming you don’t make the mistake of scripting your customers, their feedback will be original and unique. Prospective customers put more trust in natural reviews and are more likely to believe what they read or hear. Here’s a good example from Xero, which features natural video interviews with a variety of clients.

In the eyes of prospective customers, all of these benefits converge to establish trust and comfort. While no testimonial is perfect, every individual piece of feedback you collect plays an integral role in influencing future customers and positioning your brand as trustworthy.

3 Tips for Collecting and Using

Now that you understand the incredible value of customer testimonials, you’re probably wondering how you can gather and use them for maximum value.

Well, here are some tips to think about:

  1. Leverage Social Media Reviews

One of the biggest benefits to having a strong social media presence is that you’re able to easily and naturally garner feedback. And when it comes to Facebook in particular, reviews are extremely valuable. If you have a company Facebook page, then encourage users to leave reviews. These reviews and ratings can be embedded on your website for increased exposure.

The great thing about Facebook reviews is that there’s no question regarding their authenticity. Since a Facebook review is attached to the reviewer’s actual profile, there’s very little chance that something they say is going to be fabricated or forced. People know this and tend to trust Facebook reviews over other formats that could be biased.

  1. Ask for Structured Feedback

The biggest problem is that your average customer is going to be terrible at providing meaningful feedback. Customers are either uncomfortable with the concept or don’t know what to say. This is why you need to establish a framework for structured feedback. It helps the customer feel at ease and gives you a better final product.

“Rather than just a simple platitude or a bunch of flowery praise, an effective testimonial should explain what the customer experienced before, during and after they bought your product. This story gives context to the testimonial and makes it more relatable,” says copywriter Joel Klettke. Some call this the BDA model – before, during, and after.

Asking the right questions is paramount to successful feedback structuring. Here’s a sample of some questions you’ll want to ask in light of the BDA model:

  • What hesitations did you experience before purchasing?

  • What was the biggest perceived benefit to purchasing this product?

  • Did the product live up to your expectations? Name one way it’s exceeded them.

  • Would you recommend this product to close friends and family?

  • Is there anything else you’d like to add?

As you can see, there’s still some flexibility for the customer to respond in their own words, but questions like these nudge them in the right direction.

  1. Launch a Contest

If you’re having a hard time collecting reviews, a contest may work well. In particular, an essay contest is a great way to collect rewards. Simply ask participants to write essays that follow a certain prompt and fall within a specific word range. If the reward is powerful and you do a good job of advertising the contest, you should receive a number of valuable entries.

While you want to make sure the potential for a reward isn’t compromising the integrity of the review, these strategies tend to work under most circumstances. Just make sure you watch closely and make any necessary tweaks in a timely manner.

Let Your Customers Talk

It’s important that prospective customers see and hear from your existing customers. There are a number of strategies for making this happen, but testimonials and reviews are by far the most powerful.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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