7 Tips for Generating Positive Client Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are extremely important for promoting your business. As the internet and social media become even more saturated and competitive, prospective buyers are seeking social proof before they choose a product or service. Testimonials tell readers and viewers what other customers think, which is much more powerful than hearing this from the business alone. One survey found that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as their own friends. How can you motivate your customers to leave reviews? Here are some tips to help you generate more positive customer testimonials.
Ask For Testimonials
The first strategy for getting more testimonials is very simple – ask for them! Ask in as many ways as you can think of. Place buttons linking to review sites on your website and social media pages. Request reviews on any printed literature you hand out. If you have a store or office, place signs near the counter or register. Yelp, for example, makes signs for businesses to display.
It’s also perfectly acceptable to ask clients for reviews in person or on the phone. You or your customer representatives just have to do this in a polite manner and at the right time. It’s always best to ask for testimonials when the client is particularly satisfied and/or excited about your product/service. Make it clear you’re asking for a favor rather than making a demand, and make sure to highlight the benefits your client could experience as a result of giving the testimonial (such as possible increased brand awareness/marketing benefit).
Set Up Profiles on Several Review Sites
Not all of your customers necessarily use the same review sites. The more sites on which you’re listed, the easier it is to get reviews. If you’re only listed on Yelp, for example, then you’re missing out on people who prefer to leave reviews on Google, Yellow Pages, or another site. Some people aren’t registered with any review sites but might be glad to send you testimonials to post on your website. However, the goal is to make it as easy as possible to get reviews. For this, it’s best to claim your listing with any site that your customers are likely to use.
Also, don’t overlook sites that are specific to your industry. When you take time to set up profiles on review sites in your niche (such as software review sites for SaaS companies like SnapEngage), it’s more likely that visitors to those sites will be a better fit for your product.
Automate Requests For Feedback
Many people won’t take the time to provide testimonials without being prompted to do so. It’s not always possible to contact each customer individually to ask for feedback. It’s more efficient to automate the process. You can, for example, send out automated messages via email to all your customers requesting a review. Another great option is to ensure that your live chat software includes a Post-Chat Survey feature, which automatically surveys clients about their experience directly after a chat conversation. Admins will be able to view survey results and comments in real-time, and can use this data to follow-up with satisfied clients right away to identify additional opportunities to collaborate with the client on a testimonial quote, case study, and more.
There are also software programs with advanced features to automate feedback requests. With some of these, you can do more than just send out requests to every customer. You can set up parameters to increase the likelihood of getting positive reviews. For example, you can program the software to only send out requests for your most highly rated products. Or you can program it not to send out requests to people who had to contact customer service after their purpose as customers who’ve had problems are less likely to leave positive reviews.
Ask For Video Testimonials
Written reviews, whether on Yelp, Google, Facebook, or your own website, are great for building social proof. Video reviews, however, are better still. This gives your viewers a chance to see customers explain in their own words what they like about your products. Video testimonials are ideal for showcasing on your website. When making testimonial videos, keep these tips in mind.
- Videos should be professional but don’t need to be Hollywood quality. If you’re a small or midsize business, your objective is to get across why your customers appreciate your products. You want to make sure they look professional and, even more importantly, that sound quality is good. But you don’t have to spend a fortune investing in technology or expensive production company services.
- Keep videos short and focused. Anything longer than a couple of minutes is going to challenge your viewers’ attention spans. You can always make a longer video and edit it later.
- Make sure customers appearing in videos identify themselves. Providing their names, location, and profession helps to establish them as real people.
- Remember most customers aren’t professional actors. They need a little guidance on what to say. At the same time, don’t ask them to read a script as the whole point is to get someone’s authentic opinion. You can, however, guide them on what topics to cover (e.g. key features about your product).
Use Survey Data to Get More Positive Reviews
Surveys are useful for learning more about your customers. They help you identify what you’re doing well and areas that need attention. Net promoter score surveys are especially useful for helping you gauge customers’ overall satisfaction. These surveys ask how likely it is that someone will buy something from this company again. You can pair NPS surveys with your strategy for getting more online reviews. Target satisfied customers and invite them to write a product review. This strategy has helped SnapEngage increase user reviews on online software review sites.
Send Customers Samples
One way to get reviews for a new product is to send out free samples. The key to doing this successfully is to target the right audience. Sending samples to existing customers who have bought similar products is always a solid strategy. Another option is to target your offers to the appropriate demographic using Facebook ads or another advertising platform.
When sending out free products, you have to be careful about issues such as disclosure, laws, and TOS, especially if reviews appear on websites other than your own. Amazon, for example, specifically prohibits incentivized reviews. You have a lot more leeway when you’re selling from your own website. Even then, however, always ask for honest testimonials. Another thing to keep in mind is that FTC guidelines require that anyone who receives a free product discloses this when leaving a testimonial.
Caveats For Testimonials
In their eagerness to receive testimonials, some business owners make mistakes and engage in practices that do more harm than good. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
- Don’t argue with reviewers. It’s frustrating to receive negative feedback, especially when you feel it’s unjustified. However, there’s nothing to be gained by getting into public arguments on review sites (or on your own blog). Respond to all reviews politely, even if the reviewer is being rude or abusive. If you have reason to believe the review is fake or attacking you unfairly, contact the site.
- Never ask for positive reviews. Obviously, you hope your customers will write favorable comments that you’ll be proud to display on your website. However, you never want to say (or even imply) that you expect your clients to write positive reviews.
- Be careful about incentivized reviews. Until recently, the prevailing notion was that as long as you didn’t demand that customers write positive reviews there was nothing wrong with rewarding them with coupons, free items, or contest entries. However, with growing concerns about fake reviews, many companies, as well as the FTC, are cracking down on incentivized reviews. Google also penalizes businesses that incentivize reviews. As noted above, though, if you’re publishing testimonials on your own website, make sure reviewers disclose any rewards or incentives you’ve provided.
Reviews and testimonials make a big difference for growing your business and acquiring new customers. The number one tip for generating positive testimonials, of course, is to offer quality products and exceptional customer service. However, it’s also necessary to prime the pump and encourage users to tout the virtues of your products. Keep the above tips in mind and you’ll be able to attract more testimonials for your business.