Out of the Mouths of Customers
“You have a great product. It was delivered quickly and in perfect shape. I’ll be sure to tell my friends.”
Statements like this can boost your company’s sales as much as 250 per cent. Even better, when you get a testimonial from a consumer, that person is likely to become a more loyal customer and help spread the word about your company’s products.
|What Makes a Good Testimonial?
Not all testimonials are created equal. To ensure yours have an impact, keep them:
Real — Testimonials have to be honest and believable. Otherwise, your company won’t gain credibility and it could lose some.
Specific — Customers should say exactly what they like. Whether it’s fast delivery, great customer service, or excellent quality, the more specific the details, the more believable and powerful the testimonial.
Comparative — Ask customers to discuss how your product or service has made life easier for them. Potential customers are likely to identify with those same problems.
Varied — Testimonials should reflect different aspects of your products and services so they appeal to different customers. The more benefits described, the more business will be generated.
If your company is a small or medium sized enterprise, it probably doesn’t have the built-in credibility of a national brand. But even on a tight advertising budget, you can build credibility with the help of satisfied customers.
Testimonials increase the comfort zones of potential buyers and help them overcome their concerns about trying new products. So consider a campaign to snag customer testimonials. Among the benefits:
Feedback – Customer testimonials provide valuable insight into what your company is doing right.
Increased loyalty – People who are willing to attach their names to your product are likely to become repeat buyers. These devoted customers also tend to develop a vested interest in your company and believe they have a hand in helping it grow.
Free advertising – Satisfied customers who put their names and reputations at stake for your company’s products or services become a source of free, viral advertising.
The first step in gathering testimonials, of course, is to provide top-notch products or services and to support them with consistently high customer service. Then, start the testimonial collection process by taking these steps:
File away positive customer comments that come in. These comments might come from casual conversations with your employees on the phone or in person. Ask employees to write down complimentary comments they hear from customers and submit them to someone in the company who is assigned to manage the file. And ask customers to write down their opinions in a letter or e-mail after you hear a flattering comment.
Actively solicit testimonials by sending out postcards or e-mail messages. Ask buyers what they like the most about your products or services.
Act fast. The best comments come shortly after a purchase when customers are satisfied. That is when they are the most likely to take the time and write something positive.
Once you receive complimentary comments, get permission to use them. Ask the customers if you can use their names, titles, and locations. A positive testimonial from a respected customer in your field goes a long way toward boosting your company’s credibility. Depending on your company’s marketing strategy, you may even want to get a picture with customers using your product or service.
What about surveys? Avoid asking for testimonials in the course of conducting them. Surveys are generally meant to be anonymous and customers need to feel free to make negative comments that can help your company improve.
Customer testimonials are among the best promotional copy around. In the end, let the customers speak for themselves so that the comments reflect their excitement and satisfaction. Edit them only when they need a little polish and get permission for the final version.