Genuine, positive customer testimonials and reviews provide a strong marketing tool for adding credibility and trust to your brand. And of course more trust means more new business. Here are my top tips and advice for collecting testimonials and reviews to use on your website.
Pick the right time to ask
If things are going really well with a customer or client, seize this opportunity to ask for a testimonial! Positive emotions will spill over into what they say or write about you.
Don’t wait too long to ask for a testimonial. Give people plenty of time, leaving it to the end may mean your request gets forgotten or pushed aside. Likewise asking too early could mean you get an unsubstantial testimonial or worse they question your reasons for asking, which may cause distrust.
Think who to ask
The words of a company CEO may be worth more weight. However, also realise they may simply be too busy to honour your request, which is likely to hold a lesser priority to them. So, also consider who else is in a position to provide you with positive words, a marketing executive, development manager or somebody you worked closely with are all be possible candidates for a good b2b testimonial.
Sometimes your company name won’t be enough to strike a chord with a customer, so if you know particular customers have good relationships with particular staff members don’t be afraid to encourage individual endorsements. Positive reflections on your staff add to your businesses brand and credibility as a whole and 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 ensuring you get nothing, conveniently forget your request or avoid you until you yourself have forgotten.
Consider multiple avenues
If you own a Facebook Business Page you could consider writing your request straight to your wall. However, unless you really are on your game be prepared for both positive and negative comments. Censoring any negative feedback has a high probability of back firing!
In my experience getting a response via Twitter is nearly almost always quicker than emailing; the casual nature of the platform will also allow your request to come across more spontaneous and keep under the cynicism radar.
If who you want to ask 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 look like you’ve simply made them up, tailored and edited them to fit the space. Real testimonials come in all shapes and sizes. If a testimonial you collected is long be prepared to add a continuation link that links through to it at its entire length.
Add credibility with names
You can add credibility to your testimonials by displaying names, both individuals and company name along with an appropriate means of contacting them. It’s crucial you ask permission before you display any of this information and check to see if they would be comfortable if somebody were to contact them following up on their testimonial. For particularly important clients or customers you may also wish to use their logo.
Ensure you’re not pushy
I recommend you don’t persistently ask for review or testimonial as you will likely come across as annoying. Be prepared to accept that some people will not be comfortable providing you with anything, but do respect their decision.
Only collect authentic testimonials
Tempted to make them up? DON’T.
People will be quick to see through your falsely created endorsements. Internet users are a shrewd crowd who are alert and perceptive to a wide range of online deceptions.
The practise of writing fake reviews is illegal and it could land you with a fine for your efforts if caught and furthermore the people who discover your fake entries may well seek to out and discredit you further.
Ask people who are likely to respond favourably
Unless you honestly believe you’ve provided your intended testimonial author an excellent service or with a unique and benefiting product, don’t bother asking.
The intention is not to waste time on people who are unlikely to reply, anger the wrong people causing potential damage to your brand and reputation, or receiving unusable, negative feedback.
I believe you can, and should use negative or constructive feedback to grow and improve, however it isn’t particularly useful in the context of sourcing great testimonials.