Testimonials from satisfied customers convince other people to trust your business and buy what you do or sell. They act as powerful social proof, because they come from people who have experienced what you offer. However, getting them can be a problem.
When people get what they expect from a product or service they’re generally happy about it, but they just go on about their business. It may not even occur to them to write a review or testimonials. You’re much more likely to hear from consumers who are disappointed or angry because their negative emotions motivate them to try and lash out.
You may have done a lot to please customers and avoid negative reviews and testimonials, but not been sure how to gather positive ones. We’ve found the best way to get them is simply to ask.
Testimonials and Purchasing Behavior
The majority of shoppers use reviews and testimonials to help them make purchasing decisions. A Bizrate Insights Consumer Shopper Survey found most of the time, shoppers read between one and six statements from previous buyers before they commit. Some said they regularly read ten or more reviews. A resounding 92 percent say they read at least one before they’re willing to buy.
Where do they go to find feedback about businesses? Here’s what consumers reported:
- Google – Almost 60 percent said they read Google reviews
- Facebook – 18 percent of consumers trusted Facebook feedback
- The brand’s website – 43 percent turned to testimonials from the brand’s website
- Yelp – 21 percent of consumers checked feedback on Yelp
- Other website – 5 percent said they looked somewhere else
Spiegel found displaying reviews can have a huge impact – increasing conversions by up to 270 percent. The more expensive the item or service, the more influential reviews and testimonials are on purchasing behavior.
How Many Testimonials Do You Need?
The more the better. If you just have one or two positive testimonials, consumers wonder if you do enough business to be trustworthy. Survey respondents indicate when businesses have between 11 and 50 reviews or testimonials, they are more likely to trust what they read.
And they don’t all have to be five-star testimonials. People get suspicious when the picture they see is too perfect. Many view a brand with all five-star testimonial as too good to be true. If you have one or two negative reviews you should absolutely respond to them and offer strong customer service, but don’t panic. The presence of negative reviews makes your brand seem authentic.
When to Ask for Testimonials
Collecting feedback from satisfied customers happens over time. These are four situations suited to asking customers or clients to submit testimonials:
- Right after you provide services – Send a testimonial request as soon as you’ve completed agreed-upon work.
- When you finish a project – Deliver what they asked for and, while they’re still excited and delighted, ask for a testimonial.
- After consumers make a purchase – If they need time to experience what they bought, give them a few weeks to a month, then ask for feedback.
- When someone expresses happiness over your product or service – If they thank you or rave about their experience, ask them to share that experience with others by writing a testimonial.
How to Ask Clients or Customers for Testimonials
It may feel awkward, but it’s actually a type of interaction consumers crave. They want to share their feedback with you, and they feel honored and appreciated when you ask. You can set up automatic triggers to email testimonial requests, set aside time to do it in person, or a little of both.
In-Person Testimonial Requests
If you interacted with the customer or client during the course of the transaction, it makes sense to reach out to them in person. As soon as you’ve performed the service, dropped off the product or delivered the project, express how much you appreciate their business, and tell them you’d love to get their feedback for display on your website or business social media pages.
Most of the time, they’ll be flattered. Make sure when you ask, you have a way for them to follow up immediately so they don’t forget to give you a glowing testimonial. Here are a few options for getting in touch:
- Send them an email that includes a link to leave a Google or social media review or a form to submit testimonials for website display
- Make a phone call to follow up after a service and ask directly for a testimonial
- Have a video conference to talk about how things went and record their feedback
- Mail or email them a form or survey on which they can provide comments
People feel more motivated to respond when they’ve received something. If they provided something in the transaction, leave them a review first, then they’ll be more likely to post one for you.
Automated Testimonial Requests
If you find you mean to ask for testimonials, you just don’t seem to be getting around to it, or you regularly deal with high customer volume, use tools to automate the process. Set up triggers that send an email request when consumers take a pre-determined action so they receive a review request within a few days or weeks of interacting with your business.
Sometimes people want to help, but they get busy or distracted. Consider offering incentives like gift cards or a percentage off future purchases in exchange for testimonials. If someone says they’ll provide a testimonial and you don’t hear from them within a reasonable time frame, it’s okay to follow up with a reminder.
When You Shouldn’t Request a Testimonial
If things didn’t go well, don’t ask for public feedback. Follow up to make sure you’ve done everything you can to resolve problems and smooth ruffled feathers, but handle things one-on-one and behind the scenes.
What to Do With Testimonials
Display testimonials everywhere consumers might look for social proof. Post them on your Home page to create a positive first impression. Include consumer reviews on individual product or service pages to sway consumers in your favor.
Share them on social media and use them in case studies. They’re also powerful as quotes in blog posts or top-of-funnel content.
Help Getting More Leads
Business owners focus on gathering testimonials because they want to see their company grow. We’ve written a free guide that lets you get more leads while you sleep with a lead generation system that automatically nurtures and educates your prospects. Get your free guide here.