Ways to Collect Testimonials & References
- Reviews - for businesses with a local customer base, ask your customers to review your business so others that are searching for it immediately see good information. For example there is a review feature that is part of Google Maps. There are numerous sites that offer reviews. Collect them and share them with your customers.
- Spontaneous - customers will often call or send a quick email thanking you for your good work. Make sure to save the email and ask the client for permission. If the customer calls, write down your customer's feedback and ask them if you may include them in your promotional materials.
- Request - it never hurts to ask.
- Email request - start by email your customer exactly what you need from them.
- State Benefit - In the email, point out the benefit of doing this (free exposure, help others, etc).
- Deadline - give them a deadline to respond.
- Interview form - create a list of interview questions so that you don't forget something crucial. Don't wing it.
- Call - follow up with a call and refer to the email. Either do the interview right away or try to arrange a future date.
- Audio Record - try to record the interview so that you don't miss anything or misquote. Make sure to tell the customer that you are recording them
- Transcribe- transcribe your audio tape while it's still fresh in your mind.
- Approval- send it to your customer for approval. With your email, ask the person for consent. Make sure they reply back with "Yes, I consent to have this testimonial/case study used."
Checklist for Assembling
- Release form - have the customer sign a release form, which allows you to use their testimonial as you see fit.
- Letterhead - to add credibility, ask the customer to provide their testimonial on their corporate letterhead.
- Customer Profile - in the final version include a customer profile. This gives them additional exposure and makes the testimonial more credible for the reader.
- Telephone - try to get a telephone contact just in case a prospect wants to talk to a current customer.
- Videos -see if you can get a video recording of their testimonial. This way you can use in on your website, presentation, webinar, or TV commerical.
- Gratitude - say that you to all your customers who give you testimonials. It can be as simple as a letter or a small gift.
- Set Realistic Expectations - be straight forward with customers on how often and where you would like to use their references and how much of a time commitment it would be for them in regards to phone references.
- Avoid Reference Burnout - know how much is "enough" by asking them in advance how much time they are willing to contribute to acting as a reference. Check back with them regularly to ensure that they are still open to acting as a reference for you.
- Stay in Contact - it's important to keep it personal. Most of the time, a customers' willingness to be a reference is based on a relationship with either you or someone within your organization.
- Appreciate - your customers are not getting paid to go out of their way and help you earn further sales. So be sure to let them know you appreciate them helping you out.
Using E-Mail to Collect Testimonials - ClickZ.com
"The Pragmatic Marketer", Volume 5, Issue 5