No one likes going into something blind; shoppers now use social media, mobile web, and any other source at their fingertips in order to inform their choices before they make a commitment. Using testimonials is a smart way for current, satisfied customers to convince potential customers to try your business’s products or services.

  • Happy customers will tell 4 to 6 people about their positive experience (source).
  • Customers who have a positive experience are 58% more likely to recommend a company to their friends (Monetate).

According to The Kinesis Blog, testimonials work because they are a form of social proof. “The premise is simple: we look to others to guide our decisions…. Social proof is an important and ongoing part of our decision-making process. People typically rely on the opinions of others to make a decision, and social proof becomes more powerful when we are uncertain or making a large and important decision.”

Whether you have to change processes to obtain them, or redesign your site to include them, the effort is worth the output.

Sourcing Testimonials

There are several ways that you can source thorough, thoughtful testimonials from your customers – but it takes the participation of several different departments, including sales, customer service, and your social media gurus. In order to find direct quotes that you can turn into a testimonial, look into:

  • Your emails. If you have received positive emails from customers providing you with praise, first, thank them sincerely. Then ask if you can use their comments in a testimonial. You can also request testimonials in your email campaigns.
  • Social media. Use search or specialized tools to find instances where your brand is mentioned positively in social media or online review sites.
  • Customer service and sales. Make sure that your team members know when to ask a customer for a testimonial. If a client mentions a result that your company helped them achieve, your reps should, again, thank them first. They should then ask the client if they would be willing to write a formal testimonial on behalf of your company.

Keeping it Legit

While “You’re awesome!” is always great to hear, short pieces of pure praise aren’t enough to convince potential customers to make a purchase. They may not even believe that the testimonial is real. The best testimonials contain details that describe how your company helped the customer or in some way provided a positive experience. Ask customers to tell their story, including:

  • What their problem or issue was before working with your company.
  • What results occurred due to using your company’s product or services.
  • What the status of the issue is now (resolved, mitigated, etc).

Ask customers to include their full name, company, and location in order to cement the fact that this is a real person making a real testimonial. “JS from NY” could be anyone or no one. “Joe Smith, designer at Albany Web Design, Albany, NY” is a real person.

Using Them Effectively

Much like reviews, testimonials provide potential customers with real-life information about your business. Business.com suggests, “… Using positive testimonials on your website can be a powerful tool for gaining new customers and increasing sales.” Having real customer testimonials on your website, social media, and advertising materials is a no brainer.

  • You can include the text of your testimonials on your direct mail, email marketing, and other advertising messages to add value to your product.
  • Use the text of the testimonial to make a graphic that you can share on your social media pages. Facebook in particular is becoming more and more visual-centric. Get permission from your customer to use their photo or an image of them using your product or service.

Customer testimonials can help extend the influence of your satisfied customers. Rather than telling 4 to 6 friends, they can now tell hundreds or thousands about the positive experience they had with your company.

Bio: Megan Webb-Morgan is a business blogger and editor for www.resourcenation.com – a B2B lead generation resource for businesses of all industries.