Testimonials are a great way to provide prospective clients or customers with reassurance that they are going to get a fantastic service or product.
They are a form of ‘social proof’ whereby people take comfort from others experiences - which are often strong enough to make or break a deal.
So getting strong testimonials is essential. These should be displayed prominently on your website on their own page or even on your home page.
Requesting and getting a great testimonial can be challenging - either you may feel awkward asking or what you get back may not be what you had anticipated. Testimonials are also slightly different from customer feedback - where you want a ‘warts and all’ report. You want your testimonials to be positive, persuasive and reassuring.
To help you start getting strong testimonials, I've prepared an email template for you.
Here are some simple guidelines to help you get what you need.
When and how to ask for a testimonial
If you feel you have provided an excellent service or your client has had a positive experience of your product it is time to ask them for a testimonial. Do this immediately after the service / product has been delivered - potentially in response & follow up after payment. If you leave it too long people are less likely to respond.
I have seen examples where an slightly more indirect approach is recommended - i.e organise a follow up call, speak to them about their experience then ask if they could provide a testimonial or even offer to draft one for them.
If you have the time this can be time well spent - you can get good and bad feedback and then gauge if they would provide a suitable testimonial.
Alternatively - if you have not had this direct contact with the client follow up with an email.
How to get the client to respond
We all know getting a response is difficult at the best of times - so make it as easy as possible.
Also don't be afraid to flatter your client. We all love a bit of flattery! You could say what a great client they were and how you would love to be associated with them / their company etc. Whatever comes naturally.
How to get a great testimonial
Getting a great testimonial is not always easy. If you leave it up to the client they may not know what to do and park this in the ‘too difficult’ pile.
Reassure them that this can be as short or as long as they want, but also provide them a series of questions and ask them to answer them. Either in a set of Q & A format paragraphs or in a standalone response.
You could provide examples of previous testimonials - but this will not necessarily get you a unique, convincing response.
These are the type of questions you could ask (modified for your own business). I’ve included some flattering example responses!
Q1: What problem were you trying to address when you decided to purchase my services?
Before I started working with Risa my old website was tired and needed a completely new approach.
Q2: Did you have any specific concerns before you committed to buying? How were these addressed?
I felt that I didn’t know how to improve the look and feels of my site, but with Risa’s guidance and materials I quickly found a new look that I loved.
Q3: What specific feature or aspect did you like most about the service you received?
Risa made communicating a joy. She was straightforward, fast and helpful.
Q4: What other three benefits did you like?
She made the handover process smooth and understandable - even for a non techie person like me.
Q5: Would you recommend [my / our] services? If so, why?
I would totally recommend using Risa - she made the whole design process a complete joy!
Is it OK to edit a testimonial?
This is for you to decide - I think it is reasonable to propose some minor grammar or spelling corrections. However I would never recommend changing or editing a testimonial without getting the client's approval.
If you received answers back to your questions as set out above, you can then remove the questions and you should have a decent testimonial:
“Before I started working with Risa my old website was tired and needed a completely new approach. I felt that I didn’t know how to improve the look and feels of my site, but with Risa’s guidance and materials I quickly found a new look that I loved.
Risa made communicating a joy. She was straightforward, fast and helpful. She made the handover process smooth and understandable - even for a non techie person like me.
I would totally recommend using Risa - she made the whole design process a complete joy!”
Double check that this is OK to use with the client and you are ready to go.
How to present your testimonials
When you have some testimonials add these to your website - either on their own page or where you need to convince a prospective client to make a purchasing decision.
If at all possible add a photo of the person - people's faces are excellent social proof!
Add their name (and if a company, their position). Do not miss these off!
If you are able to get a video testimonial these can be awesome - but you need a willing client and a decent level of sound / image recording. If this fits with your area of work - then give it a go. If somebody credible is willing to put a video out their saying how great you are, then other than a personal recommendation there's probably no better testimonial!