Collecting and Using Customer Testimonials

Touting the good word from satisfied clients can boost sales

Because people like to rely on the experiences of others, word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to prove value to potential customers. A look at any home shopping network's viewer call-ins proves how effective others' words can be. With testimonials, you can choose the best time and place to use accolades.

Three simple steps will let you show potential customers see what your current customers already know:

  1. Always be on the lookout for testimonials
  2. Make sure you have permission to use them in your marketing efforts
  3. Decide on the best way to highlight this praise to impress and encourage new customers.

Walk the talk

To garner glowing comments, first you have to provide a stellar product or service. Find out what you're doing right and wrong.

Collect compliments everywhere

Unsolicited testimonials are great – but you'll have more luck if you ask for what you want. Put an easy-to-find Feedback button on your Web site. Or send brief snail-mail (return postage-paid) or e-mail surveys shortly after a product has been delivered, making sure to leave space for write-in testimonials. Another possibility: An e-mail with a link that leads customers to an online survey.

Solicit expert and celebrity help

Celebrities and experts in the field lend credibility to your wares. Offer a deal or discount to celebrity or expert customers in exchange for a testimonial.

Make your testimonials trustworthy

Get permission to use kudos, using full name, city, state and business name whenever possible.

Communicate your success

Use testimonials in Web pages, direct-mail solicitations, on-hold telephone messaging programs, catalogs, newsletters or advertisements. For ultimate effectiveness, display testimonials next to the product or service they tout.
  • Be picky. A poorly worded or overly gushing testimonial won't make you look good. Save them for your file, not for your customers.
  • Focus on details. Avoid vague "great job" raves. Potential customers respond better to specific remarks about variety, quality, service, etc. Those take more time to write.
  • Aim for variety. Choose some that praise your product, others that compliment customer service; some from professional customers, others from laymen buyers.
  • Highlight testimonials that solved problems. Businesses that provide solutions are invaluable. Tout testimonials that say your company shined where others have failed.