Now is the perfect time to collecting and organize testimonials. Especially if business has slowed during the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s a great excuse to redirect some time an energy to those basic business practices we often neglect.

If you take the time to strengthen your marketing foundations now, you’ll be all set to build bigger and better than ever before once the economy bounces back.

Asking for feedback can seem intimidating at first, but with the right strategy and a few simple tools, you’ll be nabbing some killer quotes in no time!

Timing your request for testimonials

When you ask for a quote, you’re asking someone to do you a favor. So when should you ask for your customers to give something to you? Immediately after you have given them something even better!

Providing a testimonial is a kind of transaction, so don’t worry about coming off as needy or nagging. If you time it right, your customer will be glad to help out!

You should already have a process in place to reach out to customers by phone or email automation to ask about their experience. How did it go? What could be improved?

If you catch them at that key moment right after you solved their problem, they will often be more than happy to talk about their experience. If you’ve just hit a home run for them, they should have no problem doing you a small favor in return, in fact, they might even feel like they’re part of the solution if their testimonial can help other people find similar satisfaction too.

Remember to always ask if you can record their name testimonial to use for your marketing.

Identify your brand “ambassadors”

Another way to mine those solid-gold reviews is by identifying your brand ambassadors. You know who they are… they’re the repeat customers who are always gushing your praise or sending other people to you. They are like your “ambassadors” out in the world talking you up, and you’re lucky to have them!

Give them a personal call to talk about their experience, both good and bad. If they’re invested in your products/services, they will likely have a good beat on how to improve them too. Their positive feedback will be some of the best testimonials you can get.

How do you ask?

Here’s the deal… a positive business experience is all about transformation. That’s what you want to capture in a testimonial. You need to find out what their life was like both before and after they encountered your product.

Ask about the

Finally, especially if you’re in a competitive industry with many options, make sure to dig for that secret something that sets you apart.

Here are a few questions we ask our customers. Feel free to keep these on hand as a script or incorporate them into your own campaigns and feedback forms!

BEFORE

  • What problem/challenge were you up against before you found us?
  • How did that problem affect your life/business?
  • How did that problem make you feel?

AFTER

  • What did we do to help solve your problem?
  • What is life like now that you have a solution to your problem?
  • How did you feel after we solved your problem?

WHAT MAKES YOU SPECIAL?

  • How was it different working with us?
  • What stood out about your experience with us?
  • Is there anything that we do particularly well?

Note that each of these questions ask how, why, or what. You want to prompt customers to consider a specific step in their journey, but in a way that let’s them express their own feelings in their own words.

Don’t just ask “how was your experience?” … that’s too broad, and probably won’t give you much to work with.

Don’t ask “did you have a great experience?” … that’s too narrow, and probably won’t get you much more than a yes or no answer.

The power of editing

Ok, now that you’ve had a good exchange with a satisfied customer, you’ve got the raw materials to create an excellent testimonial. Note that most feedback is not immediately ready to publish as-is.

Remember, you’ve got a few editing tools in your box to shape the testimonial…

              …           The ellipses is used to show that content has been omitted in the middle of your text

              [ ]          Brackets can be used to show that you, the editor, are clarifying a certain phrase

Your goal is, again, to showcase the transformation a customer experienced with you. You’re looking for something that looks like:

“problem… solution… result”

It’s the classic story arc! A good testimonial draws the reader in to experience the pain, the journey, and the satisfaction of the solution.

Yes, you’re looking for the literal details of the story, but don’t forget to sprinkle in the internal/emotional side of the experience too. Let’s take a look at a few hypothetical examples:

“Every year, I dreaded doing my taxes. I would procrastinate, I would stress … everything changed when I found Mark [with Easy Tax LLC]. It was a breeze. We filed on time, and I never looked back. Definitely working with them again next year.”

“We had a growing list of client emails, but we weren’t doing anything with it. I knew we were basically leaving money on the table! … We’ve been working with Forsythe Creative for over a year now, and we’ve been publishing monthly email campaigns with great content. Everything is tracked in detail, and it’s easy to see our efforts are already paying off tenfold.”

“I really, really love my car, and I hated driving around down with [a huge scratch] down the driver side door! … I’m so glad I found Super Auto Body … They were able to match my factory vintage paint color perfectly. It looks flawless.”

Pair with review campaign

Pro tip… testimonial collection works hand in hand! You can either:

  • Encourage customers to leave a review after you talk with them. Provide an easily-clickable link in their inbox and encourage them to rate you and jot down their story. Reviews are gold, and a testimonials are even more credible when they’re posted under someone else’s name.
  • Collect testimonials from your reviews. You may have great testimonials already listed on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or elsewhere. It’s as easy as copy/pasting them to your website! Plus, they’re already published next to your customer’s name, so permission is implied.

Keep it up

Now that you’ve got a few testimonials under your belt, don’t stop there! Routine feedback should be a regular part of any marketing strategy. If possible, find a way to automate thank-you emails or send out simple feedback forms. I’m a big believer in personal conversations too… You’ll get the best content by dropping an occasional line to your customers. Have a process for identifying promising testimonial leads, and set aside some time each week/month to chat with a few. You’ll be glad you did.

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