3 Simple Steps to Get More Customer Testimonials
Online reviews are a major part of your business. In 2014, 90% of survey participants said that they took positive reviews into consideration before making a purchase, while 86% said their purchasing decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.
Whether you like it or not, your customers and potential customers are checking out your business before they buy your product or services. Having no testimonials at all can mean customers don’t know what to think, and some may not want to take a risk on your company. Having negative testimonials online means customers may stay away, even if those bad reviews are unfair.
Whether you have no testimonials or damaging testimonials, getting positive customer testimonials can help you promote a better image for your business. Many companies, unfortunately, think testimonials are spontaneous.
They think if customers love a business, they will comment online. And while this is true in some cases, you don’t have to leave your company’s reputation up to chance.
On this page, we’ll discuss three strategies you can use to get more customer testimonials—as well as one you should avoid at all costs.
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A simple plan to get more testimonials
If you want more reviews for your business, you can:
It’s so simple, many of us overlook it. Customers may tell you in person they like a product or service, but it doesn’t mean they’ll go online and leave a review. There’s nothing wrong with asking customers to share their experience with others.
On your website and in person, a simple, courteous request—“If you’ve enjoyed our service, please share your positive experience on Yelp/Google! (Or any other site where you want positive reviews)”—can increase the number of reviews your company enjoys.
Set up a pen and paper system for reviews at your business, or set up an online system where people can leave reviews. You can then publish testimonials on your website, blog, and other marketing materials.
2. Create accounts on popular review sites
Yelp, LinkedIn, Google, TripAdvisor, and others all urge users to add reviews. Create profiles on these websites to encourage people to review your company. Consider becoming an active participant, leaving reviews for other businesses and offering feedback to customers who have taken the time to respond with testimonials about your business.
One caveat: Don’t engage harshly with negative reviewers. Unfortunately, when you sign up for sites encouraging reviews, you may get some negative comments, and sometimes they’ll be unfair. It can be tempting to try to justify a customer experience or even to get passive aggressive or snarky with a customer who has made negative comments online—but never do it.
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Responding with vitriol, defensiveness or anger (no matter how justified you think it is) can create an even more negative impression. If you get a negative review, apologize and offer to make it right in the simplest language possible.
A simple “I’m sorry you had an unpleasant experience. Please come into our store and we’ll make it right” can take the bite out of even the angriest customer. In some cases, an unhappy client can become a raving fan if you treat a negative testimonial with sympathy and a helpful attitude.
And if they don’t, other visitors to the site will at least see that you made an effort.
3. Simplify the process
When asking for testimonials, don’t overwhelm your customers by asking dozens of questions about every aspect of your business. This is not a survey. You may ask one or two questions such as “did you enjoy your experience with us today?” and follow it up with a small space for leaving comments. That’s it.
Make it easy for customers to leave reviews, too. Let them leave reviews on Google, Yelp, and any other relevant industry site, as well as directly on your site and blog.
If your business has a physical location, you may also place a reviews and recommendations box there. If you offer lots of ways to leave reviews, customers are more likely to take part.
How NOT to get more customer testimonials
Some “marketing companies” will offer to fictionalize testimonials for you or even to create fake accounts and post fake reviews on Google, Yelp, and other sites. Don’t fall prey to this. Fake reviews weaken the review experience and make it harder for customers to tell which businesses are good and which are not.
If you’re found to be falsifying testimonials, it can be not only extremely embarrassing, but can actually hurt your business. In many cases, fake reviews or paid reviews are against the policies of review sites and you may face penalties for posting them. Use the above techniques to get real, positive reviews, instead.
Real client feedback is worth a lot more, anyway.
Want to earn more client testimonials?
Positive reviews can go a long way in building trust with potential customers, but earning them isn’t always easy. If you’d like to get more testimonials for your business, WebFX can help. Contact us today to speak with a strategist!