CLIENT TESTIMONIALS ARE YOUR BUSINESS'S SUCCESS STORIES
As business owners we invest a great deal of time and money to gain more clientele. Once we have obtained customers and have provided them the products and services that they desire, we know it doesn't end there. If the customers are satisfied and their experience was positive, the next logical step would be to get repeat business from them. However, it is not promised that they will buy from you again.
However, if you ask for their feedback and they give it, you will have the social proof that you need to take with you when it comes time to dazzle and impress new clientele. The client's experiential summary is a chapter to your company's success story. The more of these that you gather from satisfied customers the more evidence of the valuable services you provide to others that will amass. That evidence becomes your best seller--it is the client testimonial.
Although most are aware of the value in seeking customers' feedback, some may not be cognizant of the fact that all feedback is not created equal. Many might think of a review and testimony as being synonymous but they are not. A review is simply a review; a comment or a rating. That is all! Although both are a form of feedback, a testimony goes above and beyond. That is not to say that a review isn't valid. Comments and ratings are definitely better than none at all. However, a testimony stakes a claim of value. It is a testament of experience that conveys a lasting impression.
A testimony cannot induce a lasting impression, however, unless it is effective. So, what makes an effective testimony? Let look at its attributes:
● Authenticity: The individual giving the testimony must have had a personal experience with your products and services. Additionally, that person should be fully familiar with your business and trust you as a professional. It is also a feather in your cap if that person has made positive comments before. This creates the perfect opportunity for you to ask if that person would be willing to put their comments in writing.
● Emotional Appeal: An effective testimony is one that describes a unique customer experience and conveys a personal satisfaction by speaking in one’s own words. Language should denote a feeling of gratitude, joy or relief.
● Brief but Informative: In addition to being an honest and positively charged account of their experience, your customer’s testimony is most effective when a factual account is given as to how your business successfully met that individual’s needs. An ideal exposition would be for your client to provide a before and after experience. If they can describe the details of their pain points and how your product or services changed, influenced or remedied those pain points, these provide strong points of evidence that attest to your company’s value. Make sure the client is giving enough details but without being too wordy. It should be direct and to the point. If you feel a client’s testimonial needs some editing down, you can always ask them politely if you can make some minor adjustments without changing the meaning of the message. See the following two examples. One is a review yet the other gives a detailed experience.
“Great web designers! I’d recommend them in a heartbeat!” ****
“It used to take me an hour or more to update a page and there was never anyone to help me.
I’m glad I decided to work with Ben and his team. Their talented design, no nonsense solutions and excellent customer service have helped me update a page in no time at all.”
● Strategic Placement: The location of your testimonials on your website is another crucial factor in determining their effectiveness. Don’t place your prized success stories on a separate page of your site that may get ignored or overlooked. Leads and potential clients will more likely read those testimonials that are placed on a product/service page that they are already on to get more information. Their chances of purchasing from your company are greater if there is a neighboring testimonial that endorses the product or service they are investigating. If you don’t have dedicated product pages, do consider placing them on a page of your site that gets the most traffic such as a landing or home page.
It is also wise to position your testimonials next to other content that has similar key phrasing. For instance, a massage therapy store owner receives a testimony from one of her regular customers who uses the term, “aromatherapy” to rave about his experience receiving an aromatherapy massage from this company. Let’s say this owner has posted some informative content about the benefits of this kind of massage therapy. It is best for her to place this testimonial in close proximity to that content. This benefits her website’s Search Engine Optimization by increasing the opportunity that users will be driven to that content and see her customer’s testimonial if they have used that term in their search query.
Getting the Testimonial
Now that you know the criteria for an effective testimonial, it’s time to gather them. Most likely your clients won’t be beating down your door to write about their experiences, no matter how good they are. You will have to ask for them. Here are some pointers for approaching your customers to write a testimonial:
It’s always best to strike when the iron is hot: Ask for the testimonial as soon as the job is complete and the transaction is fresh in your client’s mind. You can call them or send an email with a convenient link to leave a brief summary about their personal experience.
Ask for permission to share positive comments: If a client hasn’t recently done business with you but you have heard them praise you to others, ask them if you could use some of those comments in writing.
Be thoughtful and friendly, not boastful and pushy: Use a polite and friendly approach when asking for a testimonial whether in a note or conversation. Don’t expect that your clients’ feedback will be a given. If they don’t respond, thank them for their business and move on.
For editorial review or third party writing, the client needs to approve the final draft:
If the client asks you to write the testimony tell them it must be authentic and come from them. However in that case, you may contract a writer to interview the client and ghost write the testimonial. However, make sure that the writer has received final draft approval from your customer before it is published. That goes the same for any edits that need to be made of the customer’s own writing.
What should the testimony include?
The most basic information to be sure to include is the person’s full name, title and name of company. It is highly recommended to obtain a head shot of your customer. When people can put a face to a name it is more credible and relatable. If their company is large and well-known it’s a good idea to ask them if you can display their logo. It’s advertisement for both your company and theirs.
Additionally, if your customer wants to get fancy and help you increase your website engagement, you can suggest they create a compelling headline that encapsulates the subject of the testimonial, especially if the customer wants to convey growth figures. For example:
“30% increase in sales due to this company’s App”
The following is a testimony sample using a fictitious company. I’ve highlighted the recommended information in yellow, while bonus information is highlighted in blue.This is a suggested format but you may arrange your testimonial as you see fit.
As always, get permission before publishing any of your customer’s information that they did not volunteer on their own.
Ann’s Bridal Boutique
(Logo, if a well-known company)
35% INCREASE IN WEBSITE CONVERSIONS
It used to take me an hour or more to update a page and there was never
anyone to help me. I’m glad I decided to work with Ben and his team.
Their talented design, no nonsense solutions and excellent customer service
have helped me update my bridal gown product page in no time at all.
As a result, our store has experienced a 35% increase in website conversions
due to their help in improving this page on our site.
Ann Smith, Owner,
Ann’s Bridal Boutique