7 Different Ways to Ask Customers for Testimonials
Even though technology continues to create more and more opportunities to spread the word about your brand, research has proven time and time again that word of mouth is still the most effective advertising. And because statistics also show that people are much more likely to share negative experiences than positive ones, it’s critical that your brand is seeking out customer testimonials that are visible online. It’s not because the positive people don’t want to share – they might just not think of it on their own. So it’s important that you ask them and make it as easy as possible. That way, if and when a negative comment shows up, it’s mixed into dozens (if not hundreds) of other positive comments. For the purpose of this blog, we are going to focus primarily on helping you ask your customers for Google Reviews and Facebook Recommendations, and then using those comments as testimonials elsewhere too!
So where can you use testimonial comments to build your brand?
In Search Results – Obviously, reviews and recommendations show up in search results on your Google Business Listing and on your Facebook page when people are looking for information about you, or looking for someone that sells what you sell.
On Your Website – Once you’ve received a testimonial comment you are proud of, be sure to include at least a handful on your brand’s website. Buyers are heavily influenced by the opinions of others, so making your testimonial comments easy to see on your homepage might just convince them to shop or to contact you.
In Your Business – In addition to showcasing positive comments online, be sure to utilize your available real estate in your business to showcase testimonials as well. This could be behind your cash register, on a bulletin board in your restrooms, in your hallways or waiting rooms, or even in your conference rooms. Get creative and find opportunities to share the good things customers say about you, and watch it pay dividends.
On Social Media – Testimonial comments are great “filler content” on social media. Create a simple graphic showing 5 yellow stars along with their comment. This does a couple of things. Number one, it shows potential customers you are popular and highly rated. Number two, it shows existing customers that you feature people that leave reviews, and it may spur a few more people to leave you a great review too!
In Your Advertising – Using customer reviews in your advertising will go a long way. You can tell people all day long how great you are, but it will always mean more coming from someone else.
And what do you need to know to get started?
Obviously, you can always do it the old-fashioned way where you have comment cards in your business, or you mail something to the customer asking them to fill out a survey. But unfortunately, these will have a very low percentage for responses, so we recommend being a little more proactive. And even better, we recommend streamlining things as much as possible so you don’t forget to collect reviews in the day-to-day rush of business.
Three points to consider when planning how you should ask for reviews:
Automate the Process if you Can – For businesses with CRM software or a fancy point of sale system, many offer a built-in tool that will automatically email or text your customer after their visit, prompting them to leave a review. This just has to be set up with easy-to-click links your customer can use. And even if you don’t have a fancy subscription tool, you can always build in a process into your staff training. For example, you could train your employees to send thank-you notes or texts to customers a few days after their purchase. You could have an iPad available for customers to use with a shortcut saved on the home screen to your Google Review form. This way, employees can ask them before they leave your business if they’d be willing to leave a review.
Prompt the Customer – As we mentioned earlier, some customers just won’t think about this unless you prompt them. This could be as simple as signage in your business, or you can ask them verbally before they leave if they’d consider leaving a review. Be sure to consider things like, if you are working on reducing wait times and are still struggling, don’t hang the signage in the waiting room. The customer may be annoyed or upset at that point in their visit. Instead, prompt them during checkout or in a follow-up. Make sure you are prompting your customers at the right point during their experience.
Make it Easy – The third and final point to consider is that the easier it is for customers to complete your review process, the more likely they are to do it. For example, if you ask customers to fill out a big long survey, you won’t have a high percentage of responses. But if you text them a link to click and spend 15 seconds writing a comment on Google, that sounds a lot easier to complete.
And lastly, we recommend providing multiple options for people to choose from. For example, it’s a good idea to offer something they can fill out in person, as well as something they can do electronically. Some customers will prefer one over the other, and you don’t want to miss out on a potential review because you only catered to people more or less techy than them.
Seven Ways You Can Ask for Testimonial Comments:
Automated Software Processes – Leverage the power of your CRM software or point of sale system. While you’re in there, see about setting up a rewards program if they offer it!
Ask by Email - Send out periodic emails to new customers that have interacted with your team in the last month or the last quarter.
Feature a Customer – Contact a loyal customer and let them know you’d like to feature them on social media. If they agree, ask them what they’d like to say about their experience. If they agree to be featured, they’re not going to say something bad. And, it’s a great excuse to tag them in the post and reach all their social media connections. This could also be printed and hung in your business.
Use Reviews You Already Have on Google or Facebook – Get started by using a positive review you’ve already got to encourage other responses by hanging a sign in your business or posting something to social media. And be sure to use them for testimonials on your website.
Run a Contest on Social Media – Do a giveaway for something really “worth it” that has a lot of value, and incentivize those reviews and recommendations. Let your followers know that anyone who reviews you online and shares your post will be entered to win.
Ask During a Follow-Up Call – Touching base with your customers a few days or a couple weeks after their experience will not only show them you care, but it will also give them a chance to share suggestions and remind them to come visit you again. Or if making personal follow up calls isn’t realistic, consider using a service such as Ring IQ or Sly Broadcast.
Go Old School - Mail out a thank you card with a postage-paid note card, giving them a chance to send in comments by mail. But on the postcard, make sure to remind people they can respond electronically too if that’s what they prefer. Don’t stereotype your customers by age either – some younger people still like to receive postal mail, and lots of middle aged and elderly people are utilizing technology!
Obviously, depending on your industry and the way customers interact, you may need to adapt these or come up with your own ideas! Incentivizing those comments will always make it more likely to receive them.