Social proof is, by far, the best strategy a business can employ to get customers. It’s the best because it gives a greater bang for the buck than any other concept in marketing. Mankind is socially very active, which is why social proof works so well. The most effective vehicle through which you can influence your target audience is powerful customer testimonials. What benefits can be gained with customer testimonials and what good customer testimonials look like is something that we’ve already dealt with in a previous post.
That post, however, was largely theoretical. Being aware of the anatomy of good customer testimonials and their benefits is a good start but it still leaves you hanging in terms of what you should do next. The next step is to get powerful testimonials from your customers and the obvious way is to ask for them. However, how do you go about asking them? When do you ask them? What should you ask for in the first place? These are some questions we want to explore here.
Why You Need the Answers to These Questions about Customer Testimonials
You can’t keep approaching your customers individually to get their testimonials. You need to put in place a system that will allow you to either automate the testimonials getting process or, at the very least, get testimonials at scale. Answering the questions we mentioned above as well as associated queries will help you formulate such a system.
Different businesses use different systems for getting customer testimonials. For example, some businesses avail third-party service providers while others create in-house systems. They both have their benefits. In-house systems will help you save money but you’ll have to make peace with less advanced procedures. In contrast, third-party systems will be expensive but also advanced.
As it is, it doesn’t matter in the earlier stages. In the earlier stages, you should just use basic systems to get customer testimonials. Here’s a simple strategy.
Contact Recent Customers
The least complicated way of getting testimonials is to get in touch with recent customers. When you contact recent customers, you’re taking advantage of the ‘recency’ effect. The ‘recency’ effect is the people’s psychological tendency to remember the most recent things in their life as well as be more positive towards them.
Therefore, contacting recent customers for testimonials is beneficial because they’ve recently engaged with your company and are hence, in a positive frame of mind. For example, these customers have recently made the decision to purchase from you which means that something convinced them of your quality and reliability.
So, when you contact them right after their purchase, they still have that opinion about you, unless something drastic went wrong in the purchase process. Even if something did ruin their experience, contacting recent customers for feedback is a good way to figure out gaps in your system and fix them.
Additionally, contacting recent customers for testimonials is beneficial because by doing this you’re essentially engaging with them. Customer engagement is one of the best ways of retaining existing customers.
Contacting recent buyers for customer testimonials can be automated as well. You can simply create email drip campaigns since you’ll already have your customers’ email IDs.
Follow Up Later With Customers As Well
While contacting recent customers is the best way to go, it isn’t a bad idea to get customer testimonials at various points in the journey of your customers. What this will do is resolve various questions in the eyes of potential buyers. Furthermore, a person may have different inputs and opinions at different points in his journey.
These varying inputs can help you improve your system as well as answer all the various types of queries potential buyers may have. Moreover, by getting in touch with the customers at regular intervals, you also ensure that they don’t forget you. By ensuring regular contact, you’ll be ensuring regular engagement with the customer.
This will invariably lead to repeat purchases and customer retention as you not only stay current in the customers’ minds but also show them that you care about them. You should follow up with your customers even if they’ve already given you a testimonial. They may want to give you another. Besides, engagement and retention are valuable enough principles for you to stay in touch with your customers.
Again, email drip campaigns are your best friend here. It will also be a good idea to have a module in the login section of your website or a banner in your physical outlet asking for testimonials for when the customer comes back for a repeat purchase.
Pick Out the Best Customers and Chase Them Down Individually
The 80-20 rule applies everywhere. In business and revenues, the rule would apply like this – 80 percent of the business’s revenues will be generated by 20 percent of its customers. While the numbers may not be exact, they will be similar in most cases.
What this means is that the aforementioned 20 percent of your customers are the most important for your business. These 20 percent should be targeted carefully and with commitment. These are your best customers and they deserve a personal touch.
While email drip campaigns may work with these customers as well, it may be better to get in touch with them individually and personally. The logic behind this is simple. They’re important so they deserve special attention.
Besides, if they’re repeat-customers or customers with bulk orders, then they’re fully sold on your product or service. This means that they’re very positive towards your business. Effectively, by contacting them individually and personally, you can get really good customer testimonials out of them.
Ask Strategic Questions to Get the Right Responses
Even with an immensely positive customer, how do you go about getting a powerful customer testimonial? The answer is by asking the right questions. If you don’t ask the right questions, you’ll get testimonials that are similar to:
- Loved it!
- It’s awesome!
- I loved it!
These, as you can tell, can’t cut it in the cutthroat industry that you operate in. You need customer testimonials that are more specific. You need customer testimonials that support your marketing message. You, basically, need customer testimonials that end up converting potential customers. So, you need depth. Here are some sample questions that you should be asking.
- What was the quality of the print like? (printer cartridges or paper)
- How much money did you save? (any product or service with a focus on savings)
- How much time did our service/product save you? (any product or service that is supposed to simplify complex tasks)
- What do you like about our company/product/service?
- What is the biggest benefit you’ve seen with our product/service?
Present Customer Testimonials in the Most Effective Way Possible
Getting customer testimonials is one thing. Presenting them in the right manner is quite another. Just putting the testimonials up with quotations will not work. You need to show potential customers that they’re authentic and very real. This means better presentation than just putting them up.
There are certain elements of authentic looking customer testimonials that you need to be mindful of. You begin with details of the customer, himself. You need his name, his company, and even his position. You also want his photograph because that is the single most effective element in a customer testimonial.
The authenticity of a customer testimonial lies in the person who has given them. Therefore, if you can prove to your audience that the testimonials were given by a real person, you’ll have won half the battle.