In an earlier blog, I discussed how important it is for insurance agents to showcase only their best testimonials (and specifically what makes a powerful testimonial). This discussion inevitably raises the following question: what can companies do to collect good testimonials considering they do not write them themselves. Let me preface this discussion by saying never to write them yourself! There are steps you can take to improve the quality of the testimonials you receive from your happy customers. By implementing the following strategy you will see an increase in not only the number of testimonials you bring in but in the quality as well. After all, you cannot control exactly what your customers say about you, but you can influence the direction and tone of your testimonials. Here’s how.
Pinpoint customers that will give strong testimonials
Common sense tells us that your best testimonials will come from your happiest customers. Do you know who these people are? The first step is to identify them. Every company should have an idea of at least some of their most vocal customers. Start here. Create a list of satisfied customers that you believe will speak on your behalf.
The next step is to expand the list. There are undoubtedly many customers willing to give you a powerful testimonial that you are missing. Identify these customers that would otherwise fall through the cracks by sending out a brief survey to your contacts. We recommend the NPS survey. This short 0-10 metric promotes a high response rate and allows you to quickly identify your promoters (those scoring you 9-10). In addition, you are able to instantly ask your promoters for a testimonial after they answer the survey. There is no better time to gather feedback; your promoters have just rated you highly, now you just ask them why they did so.
Ask the right question
For those customers, you have identified as your happiest customers send an email asking for a testimonial. First, thank them for being a loyal customer and tell them you appreciate their business. Tell them that their feedback is valued and you would very much appreciate a testimonial. Now for the important part. Do not simply ask your customer to provide a testimonial on your behalf. Ask for a specific example in which you have helped them. Your goal is to have your customer write a brief story about your service that highlights your strengths. This is what will resonate with prospects. Consider asking “Will you please provide a brief example in which we have helped you? We love stories!”
For your promoters on the NPS survey ask via a follow-up question. Tell them that you appreciate their feedback and would like to know what you have been doing well. Again, ask for specifics. “We are thrilled that you rated us highly! Will you please tell us an experience you have had with us that made you happy?”
Sure, these are leading questions, but that is the point! You have already identified these customers as your promoters so they will be willing to talk highly of you. You just need to guide them to give you explicit accounts for powerful testimonials.
Finally, provide examples of strong testimonials for your customers to see before they write their own. The best way to get your customers to write powerful and meaningful statements is to give them a pattern to follow. Display a couple of testimonials that you have gathered before that highlight what you are looking for. They are likely to follow the format and give you something much more valuable. For those lacking good examples don’t worry. They will come if you follow the steps above, and as soon as they do, include them in future requests.