We’ve all heard the phrase ‘people buy from people’, but it really is true.
You can’t make your happy customers tell their friends about you (sadly) but you can ask them for a testimonial which you can use in your marketing to show potential customers that you’re good at what you do!
You can gather these yourself, and we have some tips on how to do this below. Or you can pay for a service like Trustpilot or Feefo which has an automated process for doing this for you. We asked one of our clients, Lucy, CEO at Signmaster about Feefo:
“We introduced Feefo into our business in 2019. We were looking for a review platform that was trusted, credible and recognisable to our customers – we liked what Feefo were doing, we had come across them during our own purchases and felt the right fit for us.
Feefo charge a monthly fee to get access to a portal where you upload all the email addresses from sales generated. This triggers an automated email to the customer asking them to leave a review. We have quarterly meetings with our Feefo account manager to look at ways to increase our response rate to gather more reviews. They tweak and improve the process all the time – the message itself or the time of the email being sent. We feel very supported and if there is ever a problem, they jump on and sort it quickly.
There is no doubt that using reviews is a slow burn, as it takes time for you to gather a number of reviews that looks impressive. But it has been one of the best things we have introduced at Signmaster. The staff love it too and take great pride in our excellent rating.
One of the best things Feefo does is their annual “Feefo awards”. If you hit 50+ annual reviews of 4.5 and higher then you become a Gold Trusted Service Provider. Repeat that 3 years in a row and you become a Platinum Trusted Service Provider. These have been great awards to win as they have encouraged new customers to come to us over our competitors because they can read the reviews we have gathered and see the awards we have won.”
If you want to do it yourself here are some handy tips for gathering testimonials and getting the most use from them:
Make sure the ask is timely
People want to give feedback while the work you’ve done for them or the purchase they have made is still fresh in their mind. Build it into your sales pipeline or supporter journey, so you ensure you’re asking for it every time.
If your product or service had long term benefits for the client, such as a new website or large product purchase, then consider asking for a second testimonial after six or 12 months. What’s changed? Is there any additional feedback they could give you which would be useful for future clients? This second testimonial could be much more detailed, and better reflect your work, but could also open up discussions about further opportunities to work with the client.
Keep it simple
Remind the client what product or service they received from you and maybe even give them some prompts or options to choose from, so you get the content you need, in a format that works for you. You could also create a short form (google forms and survey monkey have free options) with some multiple-choice questions and an open text box for a quote. This would allow you to create statements like ‘100% of our customers would recommend us to a friend’.
What will you do with the testimonials?
There’s no point in collecting testimonials that just sit in your inbox. Decide in advance how you will use them. You could:
- Add them to your website, both on a ‘testimonials’ page and throughout the site so people can’t miss them!
- On printed literature like a brochure or leaflet to let an existing customer sell the benefits for you
- Regularly posted on your social media along with the product/service that they received (and a link to it on your website for more info)
- Part of a PR piece for a newspaper/magazine/radio feature
- In your email or printed newsletter
- Save them up for your annual or impact report to bring to life the work you’ve done
Make sure you inform people of how they will be used when you collect them, and request any relevant permissions if needed, especially if using photos.
Don’t ignore negative feedback
When routinely asking every service user or client for a testimonial, you may also receive some negative feedback. This is invaluable as it gives you the chance to improve your products and services. It is important that you have a process for responding to the feedback, making sure the individual feels heard, and that you can explain how their feedback has helped and what action you’ve taken.
Remember Google User Reviews
Lucy mentioned the benefits to her business of using Feefo above. If you can’t invest in that yourself then remember the google review system is free. Ensure you have a Google Business Profile and in the User Reviews section click on ‘Get more reviews’ (top right). This will give you a link to send to customers so they can leave you a star rating and comment. Here’s ours, feel free to give us a rating if you’ve used us 😉
As well as providing feedback on products or services, testimonials can have other benefits, particularly for charities. If you’ve worked with a corporate partner on an event, or supported an individual to reach their target for a sponsored challenge, then testimonials can be a part of your donor journey. Asking for their feedback, and thanking them appropriately, can help to build a deeper connection and increase the likelihood that they will support you in the future.
It is also important for charities to ensure they are regularly requesting testimonials from service users. While it may not always be possible, if you can collect feedback it can help to inform your work, build stronger relationships with service users, and provide evidence for future funding bids.
Hope you found something useful here? Look forward to reading all your fantastic testimonials!
Now read U is for USP >
Managing Director, JG Creative