How to make the most of customer testimonials

Consumers have become an increasingly powerful demographic group in recent years. There are literally hundreds of different ways that customers can voice their complaints, commendations or general comments about your product, business or industry. This is even more pertinent if your small business is an e-commerce company or has a significant online presence. The internet has provided many new avenues for two-way engagement between customers and companies. Consumers can head to company websites to submit feedback, or eschew the company altogether by taking to the relatively lawless landscape of social media, where almost everything goes in terms of what a person can say. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage to companies. On the one hand, a negative review can snowball that much more quickly, with more customers reading these complains and being turned off from your company. On the other hand, a positive review can be shared throughout the online community at rapid speed, quickly boosting your brand equity. One of the keys to managing your small business is making the most out of any customer review, positive or negative. Here are some tips on maximizing customer testimonials.

Select testimonials from like-minded customers
The reason for doing so is to increase feelings of identification and relevance, according to Direct Creative. Customers often have a herd mentality, whereby a group of people doing the same thing is likely to encourage more people to join them. This is even truer if the group in question is relatable and identifiable. For instance, teachers tend to trust other teachers, doctors rely on other doctors and so forth. Therefore, consider the primary demographic of your customer base and do your best to skew testimonials toward them. This can cover all manner of information, from the ages of your reviewers to the types of jobs they have and the tone with which they speak.

Don’t be afraid to answer questions, even if from a negative customer
Answering questions, even difficult or potentially negative ones, demonstrates several things about your company. First, it shows a certain level of expertise. After all, complete ignorance about the complaint or product in question is not a good look in terms of impressing your customers. Second, answering negative questions is akin to admitting that you were wrong, which can go a long way toward endearing yourself to customers. The average customer won’t expect all their favorite brands to be perfect at every turn. If you acknowledge that you are capable of error, you will likely appear a lot more relatable to your desired customers. Finally, if one person is asking a question, chances are your other customers will be similarly in the dark about that issue, according to The Wall Street Journal. Answering a question through an online review or testimonial is a great way to address a large group of customers at the same time.

Long testimonials can be powerful
Most testimonials or reviews are typically one-line blurbs or throwaway catch phrases. While these might be catchy and easily read, they also ultimately don’t say very much. Consider a commercial for a recently released movie, with short excerpted blurbs from critics flying at you. This is likely to produce an in-one-ear-and-out-the-other result. Instead, don’t be afraid to use long testimonials. A story, an emotional revelation or an authoritative remark can carry a significant amount of weight. A clever trick to distinguish longer reviews from briefer customer testimonials would be to separate the two, according to the news source.

Build trust by soliciting reviews
Asking for reviews indicates a certain level of confidence in your product. Additionally, it shows that you actually do care about what your customers think, instead of just being happy that they gave you money for your product or services. The news source notes that setting up a system that automatically solicits reviews from your customers shortly after they have purchased your product suggests an intimate level of engagement. This can go a long way toward building trust with your customer base, which is one of the cardinal rules of marketing.

Group testimonials together for greater impact
One rave review can be an asset, but a whole group of overwhelmingly positive testimonials can pack a really powerful wallop. One positive review is a lot more easily dismissed than a whole raft of them. Additionally, the news source notes that this can be a great asset in promoting what is known as the Bandwagon Effect, namely that lots of people doing something can encourage stragglers to participate as well.

How has your company worked with customer reviews?

 

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Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.