Testimonials can make or break a business. According to a 2012 survey by Nielson, Consumer opinions posted online are second only to personal recommendations when it comes to trust. We place far more weight on what other people are saying about a product or service than what that company says. This shows by looking at how many people look for reviews of products before making a purchase, and it also shows in how many people make a living by reviewing products and services. There are countless movie reviews, game reviews, car reviews, and more. People also look to see what others have to say about your product or service.
Benefits of a Testimonial
Testimonials can help sell your product or service. Placing testimonials on your website gives potential customers easy access to what others think about your product or service. Reviews on 3rd party sites provide potential customers with, what they consider to be, reliable opinions about your business. If the reviews and testimonials are positive, it can help swing a potential customer into a paying one. Many times a review will highlight a particular feature that was enjoyed, or answer a possible question that a potential customer might have (“I wonder if it does X, well according to the review, it does). Depending on the source, some research shows that testimonials and reviews can double your conversion rates, though more conservative numbers have the increase closer to 12%. Either way it is an improvement. Indirectly, placing a testimonial on your website with the reviewers location can help increase your local presence, albeit a little.
Ask for the Testimonial
When marketing your business, and building your website, it is important to leverage any and all testimonials you can. Asking customers to leave reviews on review sites such as your Google places profile, Yelp!, Angieslist, BBB, among others, is a good way to start. We always recommend following up with your customers anyways, in order to find out how they are enjoying their product/service, answer any post sale questions, ask for leads, and, if they have had a positive experience, this also makes a great time to invite them to leave a review on one of the above mentioned sites. You can also ask them for a testimonial that you can place on your website.
Testimonials on your Website
If a review is too long, not relevant, or by someone that your target audience can’t identify or sympathize with, than that testimonial might be doing more harm than good. The best testimonials to use your website, are short, relevant, and will resonate with your target market. Ideally they should also highlight a pain point that your business, product or service solved for them. If you can get a testimonial from a celebratory of some sort, or a person who is well established and known in a relevant industry it will work even better, as people recognize the person, and can put a face to a name.
Dealing with Negative Reviews
As good as reviews and testimonials are, there is nothing worse than a negative review. A negative review can have a far greater impact than a positive review, and is far more noticeable. The most important thing when dealing with a negative review, is not to reply to it in a rude, aggressive, or confrontational manner.
The first step is to find out more about the incident in question. If you feel that the review was posted unfairly, or by a competitor, you can usually raise your concerns with the review company where it is posted, and ask that they examine the issue.
Another thing to consider is who posted the review. If it was posted by someone who leaves almost exclusively negative reviews, or is clearly irrational, than it might not be worth replying at all.
If it is worth replying, contact the customer in private first to learn more about the incident, their point of view, and apologize that they didn’t have a good experience. Make sure that you thank them for their feed back, and outline what you understand their issues to be. If you can address those issues, and make the customer happy, than do it. If it costs, consider it as a marketing expense.
Once the customer has been placated, post a public reply. Acknowledge the issue, and outline how it was dealt with so that others know that you followed up, and that you take complaints seriously.