Testimonials from Customers: Three Ways to Get Great Ones

We would all like raves from our customers that we can post online or in print, but generally happy customers are silent customers. Thank you notes are wonderful but often vague and inaccurate–the client is grateful for what we did but not exactly sure what that was. Here are three ways to solicit testimonials that do you and your business credit:

(a) Let customers know upfront, before the project starts, that you’ll be asking for their feedback after the project because you are always looking to solidify and improve upon the great relationship you have with your customers. If you send out a post-project survey, make sure that the survey is short (5-10 questions at most), that you briefly ask for whatever customer data is most important to you (title of responder, location of company, contact email, years in business), that the majority of questions are multiple choice and that you include one spot where customers can write whatever they want.

(b) Ask for a testimonial (phoning is better than emailing). Remind the client what you did. Let them know you intend to quote the testimonial in your marketing material. Offer anonymity if that’s essential; however, try to at least associate the testimonial with the person’s position and industry and/or location (for example, “vice-president of marketing for a New Hampshire nonprofit” or “owner of a construction company in Portsmouth”). The more specific, the better. If you don’t receive a response to your request in two weeks, offer to draft a testimonial that the customer can edit in any way they please. Make the testimonial short–three or four sentences–and avoid generalities like “superior customer service.” Give details.

(c) Hire someone outside the company to interview your customers about their experiences. An outsider is more likely to obtain honest answers to questions such as, “Now that you’ve finished this project, what would you do differently next time?” or “Were you surprised by anything the company did?” Often, the difficult questions produce the most complimentary answers.

You may find that your testimonials can be worked into a strong success story. In fact, the reverse is also true: success stories are an excellent way to generate quotes in addition to those included in the story.

If you dread asking customers for testimonials or if you find you aren’t receiving any feedback more substantial than “great job,” contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. We work with companies just like yours throughout the Monadnock Region and far beyond.