The positive side to negative testimonials

When it comes to customer testimonials, there will come a time when you receive a negative testimonial.  Now if you are new in business or even a veteran, the way you respond will determine whether it can turn positive.  The worst thing for a business to do is to post only customer testimonials that are positive.  Nothing in this world is perfect, so portraying perfection will turn potential customers away.

There are three simple steps to remember when dealing with negative customer testimonials.  Remember, how you handle these negative customer testimonials will speak volumes about your business character and integrity.

1.  Never Over-React

By you posting this negative customer testimonial, it gives the opportunity to build a loyal customer base.  By responding rationally as well as offering some kind of “peace offering,” this shows your business cares and takes care of all customers.

2.  Timing is Everything

Before responding to any type of customer testimonial, you want to think it through first.  If there is a problem, investigate all angles of the complaint.  The worst thing to do is assume the customer is over-reacting or claiming something false.  Like I mentioned before, no business is perfect and by investigating, you are identifying fault or no fault.  By taking the time and thinking through the response, it could turn a negative into a positive.

3.  Respond With Care

Prior to this step, you have investigated as well as thought through the appropriate response.  Now, choose your words carefully and make sure your tone is portrayed as positive not negative, hostile, angry, or even defensive.  If there was a mistake made, admit to it and have a solution ready to implement.  And ALWAYS make it right!  If they want to return your product and are really unhappy, give them their money back, it’s not worth it having that negative energy around.  If you were wrong or someone from your business  did something that upset them— Always do what’s right—apologize, tell them you made a mistake, and even overdo it with the apologies and they will be incredibly grateful to you.

Overall, remember that there will be times where a customer is displeased or angry with your product or business.  The key is turning a negative customer
testimonial into a positive experience, which will in turn bring more potential customers your way.

Creativity + Testimonials = Results

In a fast pace world of marketing, one of the best ways to stay ahead of your competition revolves around one word: CREATIVITY.  So today I am going to show you how combining a little bit of creativity with your testimonials yields great results.

No matter where you are using your customer testimonials, you want to present them in a way that pops out to the reader.  Be honest – how many of you have visited a website selling a product and you find at the bottom of the page a BUNCH of writing and small pictures?  Now be honest again – because it is in a format that seems like “a lot to read”, you skip over it, right?

You do not want your potential customers to skip over a wealth of information that sings your praises.  To help you out, I have created a list of creative ways to use your testimonials:

1. Put a Name with a Face
• By putting a picture beside a testimonial, it allows the potential customer to be able to relate especially if they are the same gender, race, age, etc.

2. Hearing is Believing
• Adding an audio clip or video gives the testimonial an additional level of believability.  It allows the potential client to hear or see the exact emotion from the testimonial.  Think about it – when you read something, it is hard to see how excited or disappointed a person is.  This takes out all the guesswork and delivers a message with real emotion.

3. Visually Creative
• The best way to set up testimonials on a page is by putting them in a gray or yellow box.   By taking the time to create a page that is visually appealing will bring in more clients and ultimately better results.

The most important thing to remember is to put your testimonials in a positive and appealing position on the website.  You want to make sure the potential client is not just scrolling past them.  Instead, they pop out and draw the potential client in to wanting to read what others have to say about you.
Tune in next week to discover how potential clients respond to testimonials.

The four types of testimonials that get results…

In my previous blog, I gave you a simple overview of testimonials. Today we’re going to dig a little deeper.  In fact, I am going to let you in on a secret that most people don’t know:  There are four types of testimonials and each are used to overcome different objections that potential customers may have.

1.  Benefits:

  • Apprehension to trying a new product/service is a normal reaction, especially in this tight economy.  Many people have to watch how and what they spend their money on, so often they stick with what they know.  With this type of testimonial though, people are not only seeing others buying your product/service but also their opinion.
  1. Objections:
  • When it comes to trying a new product/service, people are not only looking for benefits.  They are also looking for flaws or problems current customers may have experienced.  Nothing is perfect in this world – this includes your product/service.

Example: “I was hesitant on hiring Shannon because she was new to being a Virtual Assistant.  Shannon put my mind at ease by suggesting doing marketing strategy report as a test.  This impressed me because she knew there was hesitation in hiring a new person.  I am so glad she was willing to put herself out there because hiring her was the best thing I did.”

  1.  Personality:
  • This type of testimonial takes the focus away from the product/service and puts it on YOU.  It is important for a potential client to see
    the personality behind the product/service.  It’s like an instant referral for a potential client to see why other clients chose you.
  1. Case Studies:
  • The previous testimonials are so important for potential clients but this one adds the icing to the cake.  Not only are you giving them testimonials but also solid facts about your product/service.  Potential clients want to see upfront exactly how your product/service will further their business. 

I want to share a story with you.  A manager of a very successful restaurant knew the importance of a positive testimonial.  Before every shift, this particular restaurant manager would share these words with his entire wait and hosting staff.  There was not one shift meeting where he did not end with these
words:

“All it takes is ONE negative dining experience to effect daily business in the restaurant industry.  We have ONE chance to show them why we are their top choice when it comes to dining out.  Think about how many people ONE dining guest knows.  For every person this dining guest knows, will equal a negative opinion about our restaurant. It will not stop there because the people told will then tell another person.  Any time after that, if someone mentions our Restaurant that one negative experience will come to mind.”

The Best Way To Get New Clients —

Testimonials are THE best way you can sell yourself and sell your business AND ultimately get new clients.  And the beauty is you are not the one doing the selling, your customers are. And believe me there is no better way than to have other people sell you. Why?

Having testimonials will build your credibility and your believability.  They create support for you and your business. And if you have a great product or a service you totally deserve these kudos from having testimonials.

What are testimonials going to do for you?  Let’s say you have a prospect that is hesitant to buy or they’re nervous about giving you their hard-earned money. A great testimonial is going to overcome both of those issues.  It’s going to reduce their anxiety and create excitement for them to buy from you when they actually can see what you’ve done has helped others.

Is there a difference between feedback and testimonials? Yes. They do overlap and both are great for your business. However, feedback is a more informal way to obtain information on your product or services. Maybe you have a comment section on your web site or encourage your customers to send you comments via email. This information is always helpful to you with plans for new products or services and goals for the future.

Testimonials are more structured. There are certain elements crucial to a terrific testimonial.  Obviously they have to be believable, so you don’t want them to be too outrageous and too out there. They can address an objection. They can address the benefits of your products or services. They can be case studies. They can talk about your character or your personality. They have a specific outcome.

And about a specific outcome, I want you to be aware of the FTC guidelines that came out last year.  There are specific guidelines on how you can write your testimonials, especially if your testimonial is based on specific outcomes people have received by using your product or service.  I would totally recommend getting the report written by Peter Hoppenfeld about FTC testimonials. Read it and get to know it so you know better how to use testimonials in your business.

An obvious way to get testimonials for your business is to do a quick survey. Always ask for their full name.  My rule is ask for as much information as you can.  Their full name, their city, their state.  Ask for their website, their business name, if they have an occupation or their job title. The more information you have about your testimonials, the more believable they will be for you and for the people who read them.

Tune in next week to read about the different kinds of testimonials.