Testimonials for your website are a powerful marketing tool. Your website is a great place to advertise the wonderful things your customers might say about you. Testimonials are great way to differentiate your company website from your competition. If you are particularly customer service driven or you have the widest selection of products then this will bear out in comments your customers will make about you. So how do you ask for a testimonial for your website without pestering customers and how do you accurately record it without demanding a signed, written statement from a customer.
The ‘How’ of Getting a Testimonial
The best way for you to get a testimonial will really will depend on your business. If you have a restaurant, then a customer comment card might be a good idea. Just put on the card that comments may be used on your website. If you have satisfied regulars that you chat with you could explain that you are looking for some feedback from your very best customers and would they mind you using their comments on your website. If they are happy to fill out a form or comment card, great, otherwise just make short accurate notes. Other B2C (business to customer) businesses could use a similar approach to using comment cards but if you work on a B2B (business to business) basis then you have a couple of options. You could send a personal letter asking for feedback or as part of a questionnaire but I find a customer service phone call is the best way to elicit useful feedback. This really has to be a customer service call and not a sales call, so first explain why you are calling and check they have the time to spare for this. Start with asking them about the products or services you have provided and make a few short accurate notes as they talk. Once they have covered all the ground that they want to and you have handled any issues they may be having, you can be sure that you have a satisfied customer. At this point you can simply ask them, it is as simple as that. I would say something like, ‘Thank you for your time today and thank you for your feedback. Would it be OK with you if I posted some of your comments in the testimonials section on our website?’ If they are genuinely happy then nine times out of ten they will be fine with having their comments posted.
The ‘When’ of Getting Testimonials
There is definitely a right and wrong time to ask for a testimonial. The right time is shortly after a successful sale. In the restaurant this could be as the coffees are served (assuming you will have checked that they have been happy with their meal). With a B2B sale this could be a few days or a few weeks after the product was delivered and could be incorporated into any usual customer service calls you might make. The key is to strike after the sale while the customer is most excited about your product, before that enthusiasm dies down.
A Final Note about Website Testimonials
Some marketers and Website Owners believe that testimonials should be written and signed by the customer but this is a bit over the top. Using the methods I’ve outlined above will get you plenty of genuine feedback that you can use. Also, some marketers and Website Owners will make something up and then get then the customer to OK it (and some customers ask for this also). This approach has two issues. Firstly you are missing a genuine opportunity to connect with your customer and make sure that they are happy with your service and secondly, your testimonials will all sound the same and represent the message you want to go out rather than the genuine advantages your business offers that your customers find important.