Customer testimonials work. Why? Because they give credibility and confidence to the service or product you’re offering.
Think of it as a recommendation by someone who’s experienced the same anxieties your potential customer is now facing.
When a customer’s made a purchase they’re happy with, they want to recommend it to others. A recommendation is a testimonial, and they can give it because there’s no buyer’s remorse – only satisfaction they made the right decision.
When that extra bit of assurance is needed, we ask people we know who’ve made that purchase what they think. This gives comfort. It also gives credibility.
The same principle works online. Potential customers read testimonials to feel assured. The only difference is, we don’t know the people giving the testimonials online.
Your potential customer has all sorts of anxieties, and that’s normal. If they’re unable to ask one or two people they trust for opinions, they’ll rely on the testimonials the website is displaying to help make their purchasing decision.
What does a great testimonial look like?
Well, they’re not flowery sentences filled with unbelievably positive, sugar-coated words.
The best testimonials assure a potential customer that what they’re about to purchase works well. It fixes the problem. It solves the issue. Indeed, it’s the perfect solution to what they’re looking for.
A solid testimonial helps dispel any doubts a potential buyer has.
And a great testimonial will show the benefit of using the product or service by painting a “before” and “after” scenario.
How to get testimonials
Only your customer is able to give you a testimonial.
After all, it’s the customer who tells the world how awesome your product or service is, and how it gave them the results they were looking for.
So, to get a testimonial, you need to ask for one. And preferably straight after the buyer has experienced what you’re offering.
But here’s the problem. Although your customer is likely to give you one, they have no idea how to create the kind of testimonial that will have a meaningful impact.
Basically, they don’t know what to write.
This is where they’ll need help, or more specifically, some coaching.
For customers to give you a powerful testimonial that shows how they overcame their concerns, you need to ask them to consider five questions.
These questions will give structure to the testimonial, and make it easy for your customer to break down their thoughts in a way that will benefit you the most.
What to ask your customer to help them construct a testimonial
1. What was your main concern about buying this service?
There’s always a concern or obstacle to buying something. It could be money, relevance, time, or a whole host of other issues. However, what this question does is make your customer think of what could’ve been a deal-breaker. If your customer is thinking about it, so are others.
2. What did you find as a result of buying this service?
Despite the customer’s concerns, the answer to this question addresses why the purchase was worth it and how it delivered the desired outcome.
3. Which specific feature did you like most about this service?
There’s nothing worse than a vague answer. That’s why this question focuses on a specific feature (or benefit) the customer most liked. The response should ideally be explicit and rich in detail.
4. What are the other benefits of using this service?
This question gives the customer an opportunity to talk about other benefits they found most useful.
5. Would you recommend this service? If so, why?
This is an important question because no-one will recommend a product or service unless they feel strongly about it. Psychologically the customer’s integrity is at stake.
However, a recommendation needs context, and that’s why the second question, “if so, why?” needs to be asked.
Your customer has answered, now what?
The questions you’ve asked will provide valuable feedback, which may fit into three categories:
- Some answers will be great as a stand-alone testimonial.
- Others may not serve as a testimonial but will give indispensable insights into what your customers are thinking.
- And unfortunately, some will be just sugar-coated blah, like “The service was very nice.”
It’s very rare to get a perfect testimonial. You can’t control the angle of the testimonial. All you can do is guide and help your customer construct the testimonial from the questions you ask.
The testimonial you receive from them, warts-and-all, is in their language. Authenticity will shine through.
If there are clear inaccuracies, such as misspelling your company’s name, reach out to your customer and request they change it.
Otherwise, your customer’s testimonial should never be altered. It’s ultimately up to you if you choose to use it.
Where to place customer testimonials on a website
Ask enough customers, and you’ll soon have a treasure trove of valuable testimonials.
Not all are equal. Some testimonials can be used to support certain benefits of your product or service. Others can assure the customer that you provide outstanding after-sales service. The list goes on depending on your business.
As such, testimonials need to be placed alongside a particular point you’re trying to make. After all, it’s the job of a testimonial to dispel any apprehensions.
In summary, to move your potential customer to purchase what you’re offering, often all it takes is a bit of assurance, and a testimonial does that brilliantly.