From deciding which restaurant to choose for dinner to where we get our car repaired, we no longer make buying decisions big or small without considering the experiences other consumers have already had with the organizations offering us goods and services. From word of mouth from close friends to a product review posted online by a stranger, we want to know what to expect before we buy. That’s why customer testimonials and reviews are marketing gold and why your organization not only needs them but needs them to be good.
Based on the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, more than eight of ten respondents worldwide, or 83%, say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. 66% said they also trust online consumer opinions. So, whether it’s an online review or a strong testimonial, your potential consumers will give a lot of weight to what your customers say about you.
Once you know how important this kind of content is, the question is how to get more positive consumer reviews to include on your website and in your marketing materials. Here are some ways to solicit testimonials and reviews from your existing customers:
- Email customers and ask for testimonials – Craft a thoughtful email asking your customers if they are willing to give you a testimonial or act as a reference. A certain percentage of your customers who are pleased with your products or services will be kind enough to provide positive feedback about how well they like your products or doing business with your organization.
- Request reviews on Facebook or Google My Business – If your business happens to have a Google My Business listing or Facebook page, you can ask or prompt your customers to give you a review.
- Survey your customers – Another approach that can work well is to build a customer survey in a free survey service like Survey Monkey and send it out to your customer list periodically. Make sure the survey asks, “Describe your experience working with us” or “Describe what you like best about our products.” At the same time, you’re collecting positive reviews, the survey can also help you gather valuable information on what you can do to improve your business.
- Customer satisfaction interviews – You can do this yourself or hire someone outside your company to do the job for you. Choose several of your better customers and interview them about your company, products, or customer service. Tech-savvy customers can record themselves providing answers on their smartphones or computers. Otherwise, schedule a call or conduct an interview on a service like FreeConferenceCall.com so you can record the call for later transcription. If you can afford the costs, hire a videographer to go to your customer and record their testimonial. Ask the customer questions about what they did before working with you, how your business has helped them, how well they liked your products, or how easy they were to assemble and use. If they say good things about your business or products, ask for their permission to use the video or printed testimonials on your website or in your marketing collateral.
While asking for reviews, you may also get some negative reviews. The best thing to do if this happens is to respond promptly and show that you are willing to address any issues and complaints. This can be good and make your review content more believable because potential customers will see that you promptly address problems when they arise.
Also, remember that potential customers and clients are interested in more than just the quality of your goods and services. Customer service and how politely customers are treated can be just as important. In fact, think about how many times you’ve seen a restaurant review where the diner raves about how good the food was but complains about how slow the service was or the rude manner of the server. If you sell a physical product, how easy or fast the return or refund process is may also be something potential customers look for in testimonials and reviews.
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