Genuine, positive customer testimonials and reviews provide a strong marketing tool for adding credibility and trust to your brand. And it’s only natural that more trust = more new business. Here are my top tips for getting killer customer reviews.
Timing is everything
Asking for a testimonial too early could be awkward. If you haven’t been working together long, they may question your reasons for asking.
Similarly, if you ask when things aren’t going too great, you may not get the feedback you were hoping for, and the last thing you want is an insubstantial review.
That said, you don’t want to wait too long to ask for a testimonial. If things are going really well with a customer or client, seize the moment and ask for a testimonial! Positivity breeds positivity and their positive emotions will spill over into what they say or write about you.
It’s also important to give people plenty of time to write you a review. If you push them for it too soon, they may question your reasons for it being so urgent and this could cause distrust. But, don’t ask too late as your request may be forgotten or pushed aside.
Ask the right person
Unless you honestly believe you’ve provided your customer with an excellent service product, don’t bother asking for a review. You don’t want to ask the wrong people and anger them. You could do more harm than good and cause potential damage to your reputation, or receive negative, unusable feedback.
Similarly, don’t waste time on people who are unlikely to reply. Whilst the words of a company CEO may hold more weight, remember they’re likely to be too busy to honour your request.
So, consider who else is in a position to provide you with positive words. Who do you have a good relationship with? The Marketing Manager, Accounts Assistant or anybody you’ve worked closely with are all still strong candidates for a good B2B testimonial.
Make sure the right person is asking
Sometimes your company name won’t be enough to strike a chord with a customer, so if you know a particular member of staff has built up a good rapport with a particular customer, don’t be afraid to encourage individual endorsements!
Positive reflections on your team add to your businesses brand and credibility as a whole – your business is only as good as the people you employ.
Consider your choice of words
Phrasing your request using the word “Testimonial” might be too formal for some people and put them off the idea.
Ask for feedback, or simply how things are going and keep it quite relaxed. You don’t want them to feel any pressure and avoid the question, leaving you with nothing.
Consider multiple avenues
In my experience, regardless of sentiment, people are quick to take to social media to give feedback.
If you own a Facebook Business Page or a Twitter account, you could consider requesting feedback on there. The casual nature of social media will make your request come across more spontaneous and keep under the cynicism radar.
People also may leave feedback without you even having to ask. Be sure to monitor your Facebook reviews feature and either set up social media listening, or simply search for your business name, on other platforms.
However, be prepared for both positive and negative comments.
Although it might go against your instincts, remember that censoring negative feedback isn’t great either. Respond in a polite and helpful manner, with the aim to take the conversation offline by asking the customer to email you or send you their contact details (privately, of course).
If you want to ask a customer who doesn’t use social media you can still use more traditional mediums such as phone, email or in person, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Mix up the length
If you display your testimonials within a rigid length or word count, it may throw their authenticity into question.
In the world of fake news, you need to build audience trust. You don’t want them to look like you’ve made them up or edited them in anyway, so ensure to include a whole range of shapes and sizes. If a testimonial you collected is super long, rather than cutting anything out, post the main points and be prepared to add a continuation link that links through to the full review.
Negativity isn’t the enemy
Don’t be afraid to share a testimonial that contains a negative point. As mentioned before, you don’t want people to question your authenticity, and how often is everything 100% perfect?
If you managed to turn a situation around for a customer, this can be a great thing! Whilst things can go wrong, it shows you always strive to rectify them and that you care and listen.
Of course, select these carefully – I wouldn’t recommend sharing what are essentially complaints.
Add credibility with names
Adding names to your testimonials adds another level of credibility. You could use individuals, as well as the company name and their title if they’re a B2B customer. For particularly important clients or customers, it can add even further impact if you use their logo.
You could even link to their website or individual LinkedIn so people can reach out to them if they have any follow up questions. Of course, it’s important you ask permission before displaying any of this information.
No means no
Be prepared to accept that some people will simply not be comfortable providing you with anything. Be sure to respect their decision and don’t continue to persist in asking – the last thing you want is to come across as annoying.
Only collect authentic testimonials
Tempted to make them up? DON’T.
Not only is it illegal to write fake reviews, but people will be quick to see through them. So not only could you land yourself with a fine, but you could discredit yourself further and end up doing more harm than good.
To summarise, don’t be afraid of asking for testimonials! They’re a great marketing asset that can help to build brand trust, and potentially increase purchases. If you’re a local business, reviews can be especially beneficial to gain. Just remember to consider, who, when and how you ask – after all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Have you had some great testimonials? Let us know your tips in the comments below…