Chief Marketing Officer
In a world of constantly-connected clients, your best salespeople aren’t always on your payroll.
Eighty-seven percent of purchasing decisions begin with online research, and guess who your customers are looking towards for guidance?
It’s not the people who make a living shouting about the benefits of your brand. It’s the other customers – the people who can share genuine experiences that influence sales.
Ninety-two percent of consumers say that they’re more likely to trust non-paid recommendations over any other form of advertising.
Now that your clients are constantly bombarded with messaging on every platform, telling them which services are the best, and which companies they can trust, they want authenticity more than ever.
No-one on your team is more real and believable than the average Joe customer that’s already experienced your service first-hand.
The question is, how do you get those everyday clients to sing your brand’s praises?
What turns a fantastic experience into a word of mouth recommendation? Here’s how to ask for testimonials without turning off your clients.
Why asking for testimonials is so important
The rise of social media, forums, and other hubs of online noise has ensured that consumers everywhere have a way to make their voices heard. Wherever you go, you can find people talking about the agency that took too long to respond to an email or the web developer who was rude to a difficult client.
Unfortunately, customers are more likely to talk about their bad experiences than their good ones. Clients are 21% more inclined to leave a negative review after a bad experience, than a positive one after a good experience.
That’s because people want an outlet for their frustration. When you upset your customers, they want to make you aware of what you’ve done, while warning other potential clients.
If you make your clients happy, on the other hand, they don’t always see the need to leave feedback. Instead, they usually go on with their lives until they need to use your service again.
However, as a service-based company, your growth will depend on the willingness of your customers to talk about your brand. Consider these statistics for instance:
- Fifty-seven percent of consumers will only use a service that has a 4-star rating or above.
- The average customer reads 10 reviews online before making a purchase.
When choosing between similar products online, 35% of customers said better reviews helped them to buy the higher-priced option.
The more testimonials you gain, the more selling power you’ll have for your landing pages, sales pages, service pages, and even email marketing campaigns.
So, when your customers don’t have anger and frustration to push them into action, how do you convince them to stop and leave a review?
The easiest option? Just ask.
1. Find the right time
Okay, so there is a bit more to successfully getting testimonials than just asking. You do need to develop the right relationship with your client and plan a strategy of approach.
Think of it like asking your boss for a raise; you wouldn’t walk in and start bothering them when they’re in the middle of a meeting, or start pestering them with a million messages right after you’ve just discussed your future with the business.
Timing is crucial.
To find the perfect time to reach out to your client, start by doing an analysis of your customer base, and the journey they take with your service. Ideally, you’ll ask for a review just after your customer has achieved success with your service.
For instance, if you’re a business selling washing machines, your customer might not have had a chance to plug in their device and test it out only 2 hours after delivery. Give your customers enough time to put their purchase to the test.
Figure out how long it usually takes for your customer to really discover all the benefits of your solution. It might be 30 days after the purchase. It may be 15 days from the first time your client uses their platform. Some solutions will require a few months before your customer is ready to deliver an insightful testimonial.
Don’t rush it.
Use your CRM to keep track of your customers, and how long they’ve been in the post-sale part of your buying journey. You could even set up triggers that remind you to send a follow up email so many days from your last contact.
2. Make it simple
We’re all looking for convenience in life.
When we have a good experience with a company, we don’t always remember to thank them for that interaction. After all, when a client buys your service, they generally assume that their payment is more than enough to show you that they’re pleased.
Leaving a testimonial on your website or product page requires extra effort. That’s something that most customers won’t be willing to give. They’ve already done their part by paying you – why should they spend an extra five minutes writing a review too?
One way you can fight back against this train of thought is to challenge the idea that providing a testimonial is hard work. Convince your customers that giving their feedback is quick and simple, and it will seem like less of a burden to them.
For instance, you could:
- Send a Google form with pre-set questions: That way, your client doesn’t have to spend time thinking about what they’re going to say.
- Use a Survey tool: Create and distribute a survey with a few basic questions that don’t ask your clients to go into too much detail about their experience.
Write the testimonial for them: If your client mentioned something about your service that you’d like to put on your website, convert it into review format. Send the message that you want to display to your customer and ask if you have their permission to use it.
3. Focus on the value for them
Testimonials are excellent for your company. They can increase conversions on your sales pages by 34%. Plus, they’re a great chance to show potential clients what they can accomplish with your service. However, It’s often hard for a customer to see where they benefit from writing a review.
What’s in it for your customer if they spend their lunch break filling out your survey rather than playing games on their phone?
Sometimes, convincing your clients to give you what you need means offering them something in return. For instance, if you’re an email marketing platform, you could offer your customers some free analytics on their latest campaign in exchange for a testimonial.
Perhaps you could enter everyone who leaves a testimonial with your brand into a prize draw like Woodpecker does here:
Figuring out how to ask for testimonials successfully, means understanding your audience and knowing what’s going to drive them into action.
For instance, if your clients are members of the Fortune 500, then a $5 voucher for Amazon won’t mean much to them.
When you’re first getting started in building your social proof, it might even be worth asking your customers what they want in return for their feedback.
Add a question to the bottom of your survey that allows them to opt for a discount, a prize draw, or a free month of service, for instance.
4. Personalize the ask
Tone of voice means a lot when you’re asking for a favor.
Ultimately, even if you’re giving your clients something in return for their testimonials, they’re still doing you a service.
After all, every testimonial you earn has the power to deliver a compounding return back to your business. Just one great review could send countless curious customers to your doorstep.
That means that you have to build the right rapport with your audience.
We’re not saying that you need to suck up to your customers though. An email that’s too sickly sweet could be distasteful. You still need to present yourself as a professional. However, there’s nothing wrong with being courteous and kind too.
Tell your customers how wonderful it was working with them and their team. Let them know how much you valued working with them, and what it would mean to your business if they’d be willing to leave a bit of feedback.
Compliments can go a long way, particularly for service companies.
There’s a good chance that you’ve already built the foundations of a relationship with your client during the time you spent working together.
That means that you can personalize your message, by referencing experiences that you had together and challenges that you overcame.
Remind your client of how great it was to work for you, and how you went above and beyond to deliver the results that they expected. This will spark an emotional response in your customers that will make them feel more inclined to provide a testimonial.
Something like, “We’re so thrilled that you achieved great things with our service, and we were happy to go the extra mile for you on that project,” could spark a need for reciprocation in your customer.
It’s not about guilting your customers into doing what you want but reminding them of why they might like to help you out a bit more.
You can use Copper to go through your past conversations and notes for clients before you reach out to ask for a testimonial. That way you can refresh yourself on the context of the relationship and make your request personalized.
5. Try giving them a review
Finally, if you want to take your chances of earning a testimonial to the next level, why not consider exchanging reviews?
Many service companies work with other brands. If you’re a designer, then you probably work with numerous businesses looking to get their company off the ground. If you’re a developer, then you might have offered your services working on an app.
Consider offering your client the option for you to leave them a review if you give them the same courtesy in return.
You’ll need to be cautious with this strategy though.
Saying you’re only going to leave a review if they do can make the relationship weird.
Instead, mention how much you enjoyed working with the client, and ask whether they could give you a free demo of their product or service so you could leave them a review. This should be enough to convince most companies to offer the same in return.
Even if you don’t get the review that you hoped for, you’ll end up with a much happier customer, in exchange for just a few seconds of your time—that’s a pretty good tradeoff.
6. Follow up
Finally, when a customer does take the time to give you feedback, don’t leave them feeling like they offered their time and effort in exchange for nothing.
Above, we mentioned how you can use a CRM like Copper to determine when you should send requests for testimonials. You can also use Copper for other parts of the post-purchase journey too.
For instance, you could create a custom field to denote which clients are most likely to leave testimonials, based on their experience with your brand.
You could also have a custom field that shows you which clients have left a testimonial and whether you’ve sent them a message after they provided their review.
If you want to take it a step further, you can even setup a “pipeline” in Copper specifically to manage the testimonial process. It might look something like this:
A simple thank you can go a long way to making your clients feel appreciated. What’s more, it can also spark a long-term relationship where your customers continue to advocate for your business and refer new customers your way.
If your clients feel like they’re going to get recognition for their efforts, they’ll be much more likely to go above and beyond to support your brand.
Unlock the power of customer testimonials
Your customers are your most valuable sales reps.
Make the most of them!
Testimonials are one of the most valuable tools that your company can access.
Positive feedback from your customers allows you to discover more about the unique selling points of your business, so you can make your sales strategies truly stand out. Additionally, the right testimonials can also form the foundations of long-term relationships with critical brand advocates.
If that wasn’t enough, new customers will rely on your reviews to drive their purchasing decisions too. Clients are willing to spend up to 31% more on a business with excellent reviews.
Of course, you can only begin to tap into the value of testimonials if you know how to ask for them first.
Hopefully, the steps above will help you to get your social proof strategy started, and you can always turn to Copper for some bonus help too!