A great customer testimonial is one of the best ways to convince potential clients to do business with you or buy your products.
So how do you gather testimonials for your website? It’s easiest to put a questionnaire or a link to your Google My Business account on your website. Be sure to ask specific questions about their experience with your product or service. If you sell services, ask for feedback right away. For products, give them time to try it out first.
While adding a link or questionnaire on your website is the easiest thing to do, there are also other ways to gather testimonials. Read on for more ways to elicit testimonials, examples of questions to ask, and what to do if you don’t have any clients yet.
How and When to Gather Customer Testimonials
Use Google My Business
If you want to get reviews from your local area, the best way is through your Google My Business listing. You can add a link on your website directing customers to leave a review on GMB, and then you can embed those reviews on your website.
You could also make a QR code and put it on print materials like business cards or receipts. Most people have smart phones these days, so this is a handy way to direct customers to leave a review, which you can later use on your site.
Getting Testimonials by Phone or In Person
Always be ready to write down spontaneous testimonials. Sometimes clients will say something while working with you that would be perfect on your testimonials page. All you have to do is write down what they say and ask for their permission to use it on your site.
If you have a recurring service, you can make a habit of calling clients every so often to see how it’s going. It’s especially helpful to ask why they keep hiring you. You might be surprised by what they tell you, and that could make for a great testimonial – or give you a new business idea.
Use Customer Questionnaires
Google reviews are great for search results and getting open-ended feedback, but what if you want to narrow it down? For example, if you’re in an industry where people invite you into their homes to do repairs, then feedback about interacting with you is important.
How do you elicit this narrowed-down feedback? Customer questionnaires!
You can put the questionnaire on your website or send it via email. You could also mail questionnaires out. Just make sure it’s easy for clients to mail it back to you.
Here’s an example of a short email questionnaire for a fictional heating and cooling company. Since trust is important in this industry, the goal for this questionnaire is to get feedback about how clients felt about interacting with the company representative in their home.
Subject: Could you help me out?
I’m writing to ask a quick favor.
Could you take a couple minutes to answer a few questions for my testimonials page? Trust is extremely important in our industry, so it’s helpful for prospective clients to hear what you have to say.
All you have to do is reply to this email with your answers to the following questions. If you can reply in the next couple days while the experience is still fresh, that would be awesome.
- How did you first hear about us?
- How was your experience interacting with our repairman? (Was he friendly? Was he helpful? Did you feel comfortable having him in your home?)
- How likely would you be to refer family and friends to our company?
Thanks so much, FirstName!
Tips on Timing
If you have a service-based business, ask for their testimonial right after completing the project or service. This is the best time to ask because the experience is fresh.
If you sell products, it’s better to wait a bit until they’ve had a chance to try it out. That way they’ll be able to write an informed testimonial that will actually help you and potential customers.
What Questions Should You Ask?
So how do you know what to ask to get useful testimonials? It depends a lot on what kind of business you have – whether it’s service-based, product-based, or some type of nonprofit or charity.
Most online examples are customer feedback surveys – yes/no questions, multiple choice, or star reviews. These are helpful for better understanding customer experience and how to improve as a business, but they aren’t useful for your website’s testimonials page. You want to avoid yes/no questions. Try to ask open-ended questions where they have to use their own words.
Before you start asking questions, be sure to let your customers know why you’re asking them to answer questions in the first place. Tell them where you plan to use their testimonial and how it will help prospective customers decide whether they want to do business with you.
If you already know what your dream testimonial is like, you can just reverse engineer that. What questions would you ask to elicit that answer?
If that doesn’t help, we suggest starting out with these simple questions:
- Start with something easy, like “How did you hear about our business?” If someone referred them to you, that’s a great way to start a testimonial.
- Next, for service businesses, ask customers about their experience interacting with your business. What you ask will depend on your business and whatever factors your clients view as most important.
- For home repair businesses, most people might assume you can get the job done; the differentiating factor is friendliness, trustworthiness, and helpfulness. If you sell products, then you’d probably ask about their experience using it so far.
- End with asking what they would tell their friends or family members about your service or product; would they refer someone to you?
Specific Tips for Nonprofits and Charities
Fundraising and finding volunteers to help out are two of the biggest tasks for nonprofits. So you should focus on what value your work brings to the community and how rewarding it is to support your cause with time or money.
You can ask recurring donors and volunteers for testimonials.
Here are some example questions you could ask:
- How did you first hear about our organization?
- What made you decide to donate (or volunteer) with us?
- Could you describe your experience volunteering with us?
- What would you say to a prospective donor or volunteer who is on the fence?
- What impact is our charity having on those we are trying to help?
- Do you have any suggestions on how we can make a bigger impact in the community? Or make the volunteer experience more rewarding?
How to Get Testimonials When You Have a Brand-new Business
Don’t worry if you’re just starting out and don’t have any testimonials yet. If you sell services, you can try asking previous bosses, mentors, or co-workers to write you a short character reference. While your deliverables are important, your character and how well you work with others is just as important. It could be a deciding factor for a potential customer.
For products, you can send out free samples to online influencers or people who are knowledgeable in the industry. Ask them to review your product and let you know if there’s anything you could improve on.
- Decide what method you will use to get testimonials: Email? Google My Business? Post? In person? All of the above?
- Think of your dream testimonial. What questions would you ask to elicit that kind of answer?
- Write several open-ended questions focused on specific feedback goals