Testimonials can help drive business. But what if your site is lacking passionate comments by customers?
It’s okay to ask for them…
For every complaint you hear, there are at least ten consumers who walked away silently. Later, perhaps, they’ll complain about you to their friends or on Facebook, but the majority of customers who feel they’ve been done wrong will never take the time to tell you.
The same can be said for enjoyable experiences. It’s a small percentage of happy customers who will invest the effort to write you (or post directly to your social media account). A thrilling experience doesn’t always trigger a promotional response. Still, that doesn’t mean people aren’t willing to oblige when asked.
How to Ask for a Testimonial
First and foremost, don’t follow the example of what I call “eBay stuck-ups”. These sellers – often using bold, large type – explain that they will only give positive feedback if it’s first received. In their minds, the two-way street starts with the consumer taking first action. Note: These sellers never get feedback from me at all, because my testimonials are not for sale.
Instead, initiate contact by first thanking the customer, and ensuring him/her that you’re available should there be any questions. Use positive verbiage without drawing too much attention to yourself.
Thanks again for shopping with XYZ-Store! We truly appreciate your business. We’re available to answer any questions you may have (you can reply to this email or visit our contact page).
We rely on our customers for our continued success. We hope you’ll consider posting a testimonial about your experience so others may understand what to expect when shopping with us.
Simple and to the point. Notice there’s no incentive other than them helping you succeed. Companies shouldn’t buy testimonials. It makes them worthless. And, yes, businesses found to have jimmied, faked or otherwise offered goods in return for a great rating risk losing more than just their credibility. Because, as luck would have it, shady business tactics gain the most attention in our social world.
When should you ask for this all-important feedback? Ten to 14 days after the shipment has been received. Be sure to consider order processing and shipping times. So, if an order typically takes one day to process and three days to reach the customer, your default follow-up time would be 14-18 days. You want to give the customer time to open the package (hey, people get busy; I’ve been known to wait a week before opening a box) and use the product.
Remember these important tips as well:
- Post a Disclaimer–be sure to tell the customer you may use their comments in any and all promotional materials for the business. Also state that it’s possible that their testimonial may not be used.
- Edit Carefully–The only time you should modify a testimonial is to correct spelling, glaring grammatical errors (you don’t want the customer to feel stupid) and to hyperlink to any specifically named products. Anything beyond that and you need to ask the customer (or ditch the comment altogether).
- Avoid Posting Overly Gratuitous Prose–A testimonial should convey a customer’s satisfaction, trust and likelihood of using your services again. However, some customers think it’s better to go way over-the-top. These types of statements can appear made-up. If you know the customer well, you may want to ask him or her to tone it down. Otherwise, file it away for private ego-boosting.
One last thing. Be careful with automation tools. You definitely want a way to remove a message out of the send queue to avoid contacting customers whose orders were canceled or those who expressed they had a bad experience. You don’t want to initiate a negative response due to carelessness or an automated feedback query.