Client Testimonials 101
You can have the biggest billboard in town but nothing can compete with word-of-mouth! And that’s exactly how consumers view online testimonials and reviews.
It’s simple really, we’re all naturally sceptical of salespeople and more inclined to listen to a legitimate customer.
The numbers don’t lie! Research shows us that customers purchasing decisions and behaviours are influenced by the reviews your business has:
- 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product (Qualtrics, 2021)
- 85% of customers say they trust online reviewers’ opinions (BrightLocal, 2020)
- Only 3% of people say they trust salespeople (Hubspot, 2016)
So, here’s how to get set up for receiving testimonials and making the most out of them.
Asking for reviews and testimonials
It can be tempting to ask your close mates to jump on and leave a 5-star review but customers are savvy and can identity inauthenticity in brands. It’s important to develop a strategy to keep your reviews up to date to ensure you’re continuing to receive them.
In the interest of simplicity, we’re breaking it down into the three types of testimonials you should be seeking:
- The 5-star reviews on your profiles:
We know star ratings are important for buyers when they’re in the researching phase. Google, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor – pick the platform that is going to align most with your brand and drive your customers to review you there.
If you’re not sure where to start, Google Reviews is the most commonly used platform and it also helps with your website’s SEO.
- If you have an existing email database of your customers send a blast to your audience asking for reviews with a direct link. Don’t directly ask for 5-star reviews because it’s important they are genuine. You can also offer incentives or run it as a competition.
- Ideally you should be setting it up as an automated process to send your customers an easy link once they have received your product, that’s when they’re most likely to leave a review.
- If you’re working with customers face to face and receive a compliment, tell them how much you appreciate it and ask if they wouldn’t mind leaving an online review.
- A written testimonial:
These can be easier to come across than you think!
- When you see a nice compliment through email or social media, ask the person if you can use their words as a testimonial.
- To generate more, why not try issuing a survey to your customers to build this information.
- A video testimonial:
This is great for smaller businesses, freelancers and agencies.
- When you’re closing off a project and you know your client is ecstatic about your work, use that excitement and ask if you can book in a video testimonial. A simple iPhone video is fine, find a quiet place with good lighting and have them do a quick 30 second – 1-minute piece to camera.
- Next time you’re meeting with a regular client face-to-face ask if you have a moment of their time to record a testimonial, and show the examples of what you’re after.
How to use the testimonials?
Having these positive reviews on your online channels will naturally work their magic, but you can take them even further!
- Social media: Once you have strong reviews, this is great content to amplify! Many brands use this as part of their social media content strategy, it’s such easy, yet highly effective content to be posting.
[Image caption: Example graphic of testimonial for social media content.]
- Website: It’s common see this right on a business’s home page. Pick 3-5 written or video reviews and put them in the spotlight. You can also create a testimonials page on your website and directly in product descriptions.
- Printed material: This is great content to feature in strategies, proposal and summary documents.
Responding to negative reviews
Negative reviews are unfortunately part of business – we simply can’t keep everyone happy! Whilst it can be disheartening to receive, that’s just the nature of working with people.
Remember, potential customers will be looking at these negative reviews. Take it as an opportunity to showcase your empathy, transparency, professionalism and strong customer service. Responding to negative reviews may also deter others from leaving negative reviews once they see you are actively monitoring the space.
This is not the place to try to dispute what happened, if you require further information, try to take it offline to avoid conversing in the public eye.
Each customer and situation is unique, it’s important to tailor your response to show that you have listened to the customer. A good way to structure a response may be…
“We appreciate you taking the time to tell us about your experience. We take your feedback seriously, so we are escalating to get to the bottom of this to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Please know, we’re really sorry to hear about your negative experience. If you would like to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. All the best.”