Why gather Testimonials?

References are a powerful selling tool for most businesses. Testimonials provide social proof that others like your organization’s products or services. They increase the ‘trust’ factor of your business. It makes selling more effective and less costly.

What is a Testimonial?

A testimonial can be a customer story  and how they used your products or services and the benefits  they derived. The story can be told by a third party in the customer’s own words.

How to publicize a testimonial?

Customer stories can be documented in a company brochure, a publication put out by your business or your industry organization, in the media (print, radio, or tv), in the news, on  your website,  or on other ‘review’ sites on the web. They can even be posted on the wall of your business.

How to gather testimonials?

Some organizations lack processes for gathering references. Here are few suggestions.

1. If your customers visit your location, have forms there for them to fill in. Make them prominent. Display them on the wall. I knew a restaurant in Montreal who showed pictures of movie stars, and public figures who had dined at their restaurant. The pictures were autographed with the owner’s name or business mentioned.

2. Ask for testimonials on documents you mail to customers such as invoices, notices, thank you cards, seasonal greeting cards, etc

3. Put your request for references at the end of every email as part of your and your staff’s signature.

4. Provide incentives to your staff to ask customers for references. Reward those who gather the most references. You can even make it a  monthly contest.

5. If you want customers to rate you on the internet review sites, provide them with instructions on how to do that. The instructions can be written, audio or video. Have a video running in your bar or restaurant, silently with instructions on how to leave a positive review. Since references can cut both ways, ensure the instructions include a way for customers to complain directly to management without the need to post publicly.

6. Create a Twitter Wall in your establishment, so patrons can post comments that others in attendance can read.

Best Practices:

1. Ask for testimonials

2. Post them in prominent places, or publish them in the media, using newsletters and the web

3. Thank customers who provide you with positive reviews.

4. Encourage customers who are dissatisfied to seek help before publishing anything.

5. And most of all, keep your referenced customers  happy down the road.

6. Check with your referenced satisfied customers regularly to ensure they will still tell a positive story, when asked.

 

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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