How to Wrangle Customer Testimonials

There are some common traps that small business owners fall into. Relegating testimonials to mere “nice to have” status is one of them.

As a form of social proof, testimonials are empirically persuasive. Econsultancy data shows that the showcasing of testimonials leads to an 18% increase in sales and an increase in the likelihood of purchase for 63% of site visitors. Brightlocal research found that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.

In fact, data shows that some 90% of online users who read positive reviews said their buying decisions were influenced toward a purchase. As such, testimonials are a tried and tested way of increasing conversions, and play a major — though understated — role in customer research and buying habits. So how do you go about collecting them?

The first option is to use an automated email. Gathering emails doesn’t need to be a time-consuming process. With the help of an automated email, preferably one set to send five to seven days after delivery, businesses can reach out to each and every customer and ask them to leave a review.

To encourage customers to pick up this call-to-action, you might offer a small discount off their next purchase, enter them into the drawing for a prize, or even just thank them on your social media accounts.

Your second option is to send a customer satisfaction survey. Customer satisfaction surveys are another great way to gather testimonials easily, and can also offer invaluable customer insights. Again, use email automation to achieve this step, asking questions like:

?        What doubts did you have before completing your purchase?

?        What questions remained unanswered prior to making your purchase?

?        Why did you buy this product?

?        How are you using this product?

Be sure to also include an open-ended question that gives participants an opportunity to share a testimonial or their general thoughts. This way, you’ll be able to gather social proof while learning how to improve overall customer experience.

When collecting testimonials, make sure you target customers who will give you high-quality social proof that you’ll actually be able to use. For obvious reasons, start with your best customers; they’re already your biggest fans and are the most likely to take the time to write something descriptive and authentic.

Finding your best customers isn’t rocket science: look for individuals who have repeatedly made purchases from your store, or shoppers who spent the most with you, or customers who have built a long-term relationship with your brand.

Another invaluable group is happy customers who have shared positive reviews about your product on their own social media platforms. These users have already acted as brand ambassadors for your business, so draw attention to these organic testimonials on your own channels, too.

Most e-commerce businesses have a lot to gain from investing some time into the testimonial collection process. However you do it, make sure you’re making use of positive sentiment from past customers; it might just hold the key to securing future ones.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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