Al Levi: Managing Your Business / Columnists

Who cares about testimonials?

People may not trust you, but they’ll trust your customers.

June 25, 2013
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Why the big fuss about getting testimonials?

It’s simple. I learned a long time ago that what you tell me about yourself is interesting. But what I really want to know is what a customer like me is saying about you.

It’s not that as potential customers we don’t trust what you’re saying…but we really don’t. It’s only natural to feel that way because we feel you’re just saying what you’re saying to us because you want to sell us something.

Think about it. When you go shopping for something such as a car or even a service you need at your home, don’t you ask your friends, family members or even check out the testimonials of existing clients? As potential customers, we want to know who else will testify as to how good the product or the service you’re selling really is.

We’d rather not be your guinea pig. Nobody wants to appear stupid and most if not all of us are more than happy to let someone else test the waters first for us.

It’s not personal. It’s just human nature. We need and want assurance to move ahead. We especially don’t want to feel foolish. So if we follow someone’s recommendation or rely on a testimonial and it doesn’t work out quite as well as we had hoped, we don’t feel so silly. Now you understand why testimonial advertising and marketing are so powerfully effective and why they are critical to keeping your phone ringing.

 

Survey your customers

To help capture testimonials, you need to work at it. The best method I’ve found is to do a customer survey each time you do work for a customer. And the time to do it is as soon as the work is completed and the customer is feeling the best about you and your company.

You can find the template I use with clients to solicit testimonial comments below (see link for the pdf) —  Customer Satisfaction Survey Form.

The comments from customers count the most! That’s because it takes effort. And, if they give you permission, you can use those comments in your marketing materials. Check boxes are nice but not as helpful in producing quality testimonials you can use to further your sales and marketing efforts.

It’s easy to believe that you can ask your service technicians to hand out these surveys to customers when they complete the work. Stop! You think if I was your tech and I ticked off a nasty customer that I’d actually hand him one of these surveys? No way!

That’s why surveys must be mailed or emailed (if you’ve been capturing customers’ email addresses). If it’s a big-ticket sale, I suggest the salesperson be required to stop back and fill this out with each customer.

An alternate example is the following set of questions that I have some of my clients use when completing big-ticket jobs, such as installations, so they can potentially get a good testimonial to use with prospective new customers.

• What was going wrong before we arrived (or did our work)?

• What were you most afraid of before working with us?

• What were you most pleased with about the way we did our work?

• Would you recommend us to others?

If you really want to ramp up the effectiveness of your testimonial marketing, try to get pictures to go with customers’ great written testimonial. The worst they can say is, “No.” You’d be surprised how amenable they can be if you do a good job in asking.

The trick is to get the testimonial as soon as possible after the work is done and the customer is feeling good about your company.

 If you’re not getting a high percentage of excellent Customer Satisfaction Surveys back, you need to examine how well you’re selling and delivering value that goes above and beyond customer expectations. 

Click here for the Customer Satisfaction Survey Form


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