We often underestimate the power of one voice. In the marketing world, a customer’s views and opinions carry an extraordinary amount of weight. This is why social media has become so prevalent in online marketing. People can immediately respond to products and services unfiltered; but this is exactly what others want to hear — an honest opinion that hasn’t been modified for sales. This is the fundamental principle as to why testimonials are important.
In 2013, Dimensional Research conducted a survey of 1046 individuals on their experience with customer service with mid-sized companies. They concluded that 88% of people have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.
Imaged by Zendesk
Consumers latch on to reviews or testimonials because they battle skepticism. Customers want to silence any doubt they have and want assurance that they are investing in a good service or product. Wasting their time and money is not an option.
Testimonials Build a Foundation of Trust with Honesty and Authenticity
Rather than being a sales pitch, testimonials build your credibility through relatable and personable connection. Potential buyers are more likely to trust someone who comes from the same background as them or shares a common goal or interest. They want to hear that if your product or service worked for John, who hails from the same neighbourhood and also has a wife and two kids, then it’ll probably work for them too.
This is one of the most powerful ways to reach out to your audience — by letting your audience talk for you. Without testimonials, you’re a business vouching for itself, or perhaps buying sponsors to vouch for you. You lose credibility and that small touch that connects you to a wider grapevine.
But you can’t post any testimonial and expect it to be beneficial. If one of your testimonials goes something along the lines of, “This was a great product. Easy to use and hassle free!” or “The treatment was perfect! Just what I needed. I definitely recommend it to anyone!” then your conversions won’t see much improvement. The testimonials don’t have to be long, but they have to be insightful. There are 5 factors you should include or prompt your volunteer customer to talk about; these are:
Allow your customer to tell a little bit of their history. We don’t need to hear a life story, but it would be nice to know what led your customer to your business. What kind of lifestyle do they lead and what troubles were they having before they chose your product/service? This allows any potential customers to relate to the testimonial. If they’re in a similar situation, then this testimonial will be a huge help for them on making a buying decision.
Include any quantifiable factors related to your product or service. Plain ol’ facts let people weigh the benefits against any doubts. If they can see that progress was tracked or measured, then they know that general terms that signify an elevated status (ie. improved, got better, increased, etc…) are back up by facts. Results are credible and not a game of “he said, she said.”
What are the positive outcomes of this experience? What can your customer do now that he or she has sought your help and expertise? Perhaps it has given the customer more time to do other activities, relived a lot of stress or pain or brought them closer with other individuals in their life. Whatever it may be, testimonials must emphasize the beneficial points of your business or services.
Let your customer elaborate on how other products or services similar to yours did not work for them. By staking yourself against the alternatives in your field, potential customers can eliminate your competition for you. They won’t have to do the trail and error of testing which business to go to when others have already done it for them.
This is where any customer service experience should be noted. One of the most memorable aspects of a business transaction is how the customer is treated. Even if your service didn’t do exactly what the customer needed, yet you treated the customer with respect, intelligence and kindness, then that can still translate to a good testimonial. There are still plenty of beneficial points that the customer would love to talk about. Never underestimate the power of human connection. It can push you a lot farther than you ever imagined.
Depending on your style and method of marketing, there are a few choices to be made in creating testimonials. You might have a short question and answer sheet to fill out, allow the customer to write up their own testimonial online (with you prompting what kinds of things you would like them to talk about), or film your customer for a video testimonial.
When in doubt, refer to the former 5 points above. Keep is simple, concise and encourage your customer to be their natural self. You’re not here to tell them what to say or do, you’re here to let them speak with honesty and authenticity.
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