There is nothing like checking the mail and instead of finding bills, insurance offers and credit card solicitations you get a nice letter from one of your customers. You open it and read about how a customer of yours had a great experience with the business you worked so hard to create. The feeling you get makes all those sleepless nights and long days worth it. It’s even better when it was an employee who obviously went the extra mile for your customer. They cared about that customer and are likely treating all your clients with great care. Usually these customers are not only telling you how great you are but also telling others and sending you referrals. A prequalified referral is the absolute best thing a business can get. That customer knows what to expect and there are usually very few surprises. It’s even better when you begin to see referred customers sending referrals to you.
In the past many businesses would put those letters into a frame and hang them on the wall in their entry way where other guests and potential customers can see them. Unfortunately those wonderful words said about your company only make it to the people who come to your business.
Framed testimonials in your entry way were about the only way we could show off these testimonials and it just wasn’t very effective. Inversely there was no good way to tell if a business had negative feedback unless their customers filed complaints at the BBB or with the Attorney General. People relied on word of mouth and recommendations from their friends and family to find out who provided quality goods and services.
Today we have a new tool that changed the way we see companies and how they treat their customers. The internet has revolutionized how well testimonials work for businesses. Instead of simply getting your friends and family’s feedback you can now see just about everyone’s feedback about a company. With advent of Google My Business, Yelp, Angie’s List, BBB, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and more, consumers are able to leave more feedback than ever before. The web has made it harder for poor product/service providers to get more customers while the business who focus on their client’s needs are getting all that positive feedback which in turn helps get more customers who then leave more feedback as the circle of happy customers continue.
In a study published by Dimensional Research 88% of customers have been influenced by an online customer service review. In the image below we searched for “garage door repair Minneapolis” and looked at the map results. Notice one company had 42 reviews with an average 4.8 of 5.0 stars. The other two companies Google chose to show had zero. In this example we highly doubt the companies without the reviews will even get a call. It’s simply too easy for the potential customer to see 42 positive experiences vs zero.
The businesses with quality reviews and a system to get more will be the leaders of their industry in the future.
Building up testimonials is one of the best things a small business can do. Most people have learned they can now search for the “BEST” product or service and get a decent list of results from search engines like Google or Yahoo. The searcher can read the reviews to determine who the best is based on what others are saying.
I want to get more testimonials, what can I do?
Now that you are seeing the importance of getting high quality testimonials you are probable wondering how can get more? Can I buy them or have my friends and family leave fake ones for me?
It’s our firm belief at Triton Commerce that we cannot buy or fake testimonials. It’s not good business practice, people can generally tell if a review is fake and the review sites typically have a way to spot the fake or paid testimonials. Just think of the time/money wasted getting fake reviews to only have them taken down by the site that had the review on it. It’s best to get testimonials from your customers or people who interact with your company and can speak about your level of service in a genuine way.
Here’s is what we tell our customers to do to get more testimonials:
- Use your testimonial page we built for you on your site.
- All of our clients get a page with links to the review sites they are registered with so the clients can choose their favorite spot and leave the testimonial.
- Tell your clients about the page, ask them to leave a review and tell them how to find it.
- Print it on your receipts and invoices as a reminder for the client. Circle it when you hand them the receipt and ask them to do it. If they are reluctant this a good opportunity to make sure they are happy with the service they received from you.
- Create a secondary business card or hand out to give to the customer after they have received your services that prompt them and show them how to do it.
- Send it as a mailer with a thank you card.
- Follow up calls are also a good time to mention how important testimonials are for you and then show them the places they can leave a review.
- Send a text message to their cell phone after the service was performed asking to leave a testimonial with a link to where they can do so.
These are just a few basic ways to get more reviews from your customers. The bottom line is ask, ask and ask again. It takes work but the results will pay dividends for you in the long run. Many of the larger companies are not doing this so this is a great way for small business get ahead of the marketing power a larger business has.
There are paid services now offering help soliciting reviews and then showing them in a feed on your website. These services are also an option but beware of high cost and fake reviews with these systems. We think the old fashioned way of asking the client for feedback is still the best and most genuine way to do it.
If you find yourself wanting to get a website marketing plan that compliments these ideas we can help. Many of our clients are leaders in soliciting reviews and for most it has greatly helped their business grow. When we see our clients grow it makes our day just like opening the mail and getting a handwritten thank you.