How NOT to ask for testimonials
Testimonials build credibility.
Credibility creates trust.
Trust generates goodwill.
Goodwill produces loyalty.
Loyalty boosts conversions.
Therefore, to increase your website conversions, you need great customer testimonials.
We have written about the importance of testimonials and given you tips for the types of social proof testimonials that boost conversions. Yet many of you have asked us for advice about how to get these testimonials from your customers. From your horror stories, we have developed this list of how NOT to ask for testimonials:
Do not request testimonials only from long-time customers
In fact, you should ask your newest customers first. Studies show that those who have recently started working with you will produce testimonials with more passion and praise. After you attain the opinions of your newest customer, do not neglect your repeat customers as they will also provide valuable feedback.
Do not ask for testimonials at times that are convenient only for you
Whether you are updating your website or in the process of creating marketing materials for a tradeshow, asking your customers for testimonials at times that are random (from their point of view), is not the most effective timing. Instead, create a long-term strategy for customer testimonials and ask for customer feedback at opportunities like these:
- When you have solved their problem
- When they have concretely benefitted from your product
- When they initiate communication of thanks or praise
First, contacting them at times when they are engaged and satisfied with you will increase the response rate. Secondly, it will also increase the quality of the testimonials they provide.
Do not ask vaguely
When you ask your customers for testimonials, be clear and guide them toward the result you want. Be specific about the types of information they should include and how you intend to use their feedback.
Keep in mind that the best testimonials are not the ones who say “this is the best company ever,” but rather those that describe specific product benefits or quantifiable results. To guide your customers, you may want to provide some sample questions that their testimonials can answer, like these:
- What are the most significant improvements in your business from working with our product?
- What were the results of using our product?
- What business problem did our product solve for you?
Do not write testimonials on behalf of clients
While you should guide your customers about the kind of information you would like them to include, you should never write the testimonial on their behalf for their sign-off. Testimonials should always be genuine and should use the tone and style of the customer. Writing them yourself will create quotes that are overly self-promotional and will be discerned as fake by the potential clients you are trying to attract.
Do not accept anonymous testimonials
Always get written permission from your customers to use their quotes, along with their biographical information. The testimonials you feature on your website, landing pages, and other collateral should include first and last name, company name, job title, and geographic information.
Whenever possible, adding a profile photo increases the credibility immeasurably. Also, if you can link the customer to their social media accounts, their testimonial becomes validated and relatable.
Do not break the law
Always bear in mind the laws that govern the testimonials you showcase. Here are some tips:
- Use customer testimonials that disclose results that are typical and/or disclose that “individual results may vary” and include information about what kind of results are typical. This rule is governed by the FTC, which can levy fines of up to $11,000 per incident of non-compliance.
- Disclose any affiliations that may be viewed as skewing the testimonial such as testimonials from family members, testimonials you paid for, or gifts you provided in exchange for positive feedback.
How to ask for testimonials
Now that you know what not to do when asking for customer testimonials, here is a breakdown of what you should do:
- Request testimonials from your newest customers first; then request your repeat customers for theirs.
- Time your requests when customers are engaged and satisfied with you and your product.
- Make your request specific and guide your customers toward the type of response you want.
- Ensure testimonials are honest.
- Get permission to quote your customers and use their biographical information, image, and social media link.
- Comply with laws and regulations.
- Thank your customers for their feedback.
Want more information about customer testimonials? Contact us today.