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The Do’s & Don’ts of Asking A Customer for a Testimonial

September 23, 2020

By Sarah

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Do you have a consistent practice established to ask your previous customers for testimonials? It’s one of the most important processes you can put into place in today’s review-based world! It truly helps convert new customers and gives your business massive credibility.

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What are the Do’s & Don’ts of Asking a Customer for a Testimonial?

Do you have a system in place that helps you ask a customer for a testimonial? It’s one of the most important processes you can put into place in today’s review-based world! Think about how many times you’ve checked out other business’ reviews and it’s given you the confidence to purchase a product or service on the spot. It truly helps convert new customers and gives your business massive credibility. Once you receive a testimonial you can use it throughout your website, sales pages, and email marketing.

There is an etiquette when it comes to asking a customer for a testimonial. I’ve outlined a few do’s and don’ts to help get you started gathering testimonials in the most professional way.

DO: Strike while the iron is hot.

Follow up within 30 days of the exchange of goods or services. Ideally, make it an automated email that is sent to your customer, at whatever timeline feels appropriate. Your email service provider can help you automate this. After the transaction is made, the customer automatically enters a workflow and receives your email–without you lifting a finger.  (Psssst….my favorite email service provider, Flodesk, makes this super easy to set up!)

Explain to your customer why testimonials are so important to your business and ask them to write two or three lines about their experience working with you. Here’s an example:

Hi! I hope you are enjoying your [product or service purchased]!

Most of my business comes directly from referrals and word of mouth. If you were/are happy with your [product or service], would you take a moment to write a testimonial? I greatly appreciate your time and consideration.

Thank you!
Sarah

DO: Make it easy for your customer to submit a testimonial.

At the end of the above automated email, include a button that links to wherever they should submit their review. I prefer to create a custom form in Showit or Dubsado. Make it super straightforward for your customer to submit. No fancy design required, no excessively detailed questions or elaborate instructions. The quicker and easier they are able to write and and send it, the more likely they are to submit a testimonial.

Let me repeat that: the easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to write a testimonial for you!

DO: Ensure their testimonial helps you sell.

Just because a customer submits a testimonial doesn’t mean you have to use it. If it lacks professionalism, or doesn’t make sense for your brand, or doesn’t fundamentally help you sell more products or services, thank them…but leave it out.

DO: Surprise & delight if they write a testimonial.

The fun part! Thank your customer for taking the time to help your business!

I once left a testimonial and immediately received a $5 gift card to Starbucks. It was so unexpected and awesome and made my day. I bought my mother and myself a cup of coffee the next day and texted the business owner a photo of the coffees with lots of happy emojis. A small gesture of gratitude goes a long way. And it certainly bonded me closer to her and her business.

Think about a way you could thank your customer for leaving a testimonial and truly deliver immediate delight. Maybe it is NOT a “thank you” that involves your products or service–like a discount on their next purchase with you. Frankly, it’s more profitable to surprise and delight now for $5 with something unexpected, than to offer 5% off a next higher end service or product they purchase from you.

DON’T: Copy & paste a nice comment from an email thread.

Please don’t assume it’s OK to use a nice comment from an email exchange as a testimonial. If they happen to come across it on your website (with their name attached) they may feel exposed, or like you’ve violated their trust. It’s as simple as replying to the comment with the following:

Thank you so much for saying that. That means a lot to me and to my business. I’m thrilled you are happy with my [product or service].

Would it be OK with you if I used your words in a testimonial on my website? It helps me attract more customers! I’d greatly appreciate that, but if you aren’t comfortable with it, I understand.

Thank you!
Sarah

DON’T: Don’t overly edit the testimonial without permission.

If you have any edits to make to their review, make sure to share the changes with them, and ask them if they approve of the changes. Do not change words or the general message of their testimonial. It’s OK to edit any grammar, punctuation or sentence structure, just be sure to share the edits with them before you publish.

DON’T: Don’t use their full name along with the testimonial.

Respect people’s online privacy, and that they might not want their name showing Google results to something personal they purchased in their past. I recommend using their first name and last initial with the testimonial.

DON’T: Harass previous customers with too many testimonial requests.

If they had a great experience with you but don’t wish to leave a review, you might end up leaving a sour taste in their mouth if you pester them with endless requests. Ask once, and follow up once. If they won’t submit a testimonial, move on to another customer who might!

Once you’ve gathered several testimonials the right way, add them to your site on a page that will get lots of attention–I recommend your home or about page (or both!).  Testimonials work great set up in a slider with multiple canvas views. Take a peak at my Showit website template shop, Sisoo Sites. All of my templates include testimonials sliders that are super easy to customize…just copy and paste your testimonials into the template, hit publish and let them help grow your business online.

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