It's no secret that customer testimonials are an essential and powerful force for building a high converting landing page. According to a 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey, 88% of consumers trust online reviews more than personal recommendations.
The social proof provided by gushing customer compliments can have serious jedi mind trick properties forcing the mouse of any prospective buyer inexorably towards the BUY NOW button.
It's the hassle of collecting and publishing them which has most people looking for the next item on their "to do" list.
The most common approach involves blindly emailing your customer database with polite requests to write love letters to your brand that you can publish online. Unsurprisingly, this tact brings more crickets than accolades and it's a serious time suck.
In this post, I'll show you how we get a 68% success rate requesting testimonials and the steps we use to automate the process.
Anatomy of the Perfect Testimonial
For compliments that drive conversions, there are some guiding principles that you need to keep in mind.
Current - A two year old compliment isn't going to cut it. If you can show recent feedback, it shows your brand is popular now, not back in 2012.
Photos - Words work better when you put a face to the feedback. Add an photo for extra credibility.
Genuine - As much as we'd like to believe your SaaS brand "changed my life", a comment written by your PR guy smells bad from a mile away. Authenticity is key and hard to fake.
Specific - Vague comments like "great service" are good for you to hear but not helpful to your prospects.
Lots of 'em - Most companies can dig up two or three nice comments. Consider the testimonials page from Zappos which boasts how Zappos has almost 10,000 raving fans! That's some social proof that you can't argue with.
Automating the Process
So - how do you go about identifying and showcasing your biggest fans? Here's how we do it for AskNicely and our customers.
1. COLLECT REGULAR FEEDBACK USING NET PROMOTER SCORE
Implementing a Net Promoter Score (NPS) program in your business brings a host of benefits that help you make your customers happier. For the purposes of this post, we're interested in it's ability to gather large amounts of customer feedback.
This helps you sidestep the poor response rate you'd normally get by sending cold-emails requesting a testimonial. An NPS survey can can achieve response rates over 50% which you can can triage to identify your biggest fans.
The basic Net Promoter Score process starts with emailing your customers a single-question survey "How likely are you to recommend [BRAND X] to a friend or colleague?" which they answer on a scale of 0-10.
And leave a free text comment explaining why they gave that score
This will get customer feedback rolling in and you can cherry pick the best one's for publishing.
PRO-TIP #1 Rather than doing this as a one-off or quarterly process, setup a schedule to get feedback on a daily basis. This will guarantee a regular flow of fresh comments
PRO-TIP #2 Better still, trigger NPS surveys off a customer purchase or support to capture sentiment when the thought is fresh in their mind
2. GET APPROVAL TO PUBLISH
Now that you have a torrent of positive comments coming in each day, you just need to select the best one's and email your customer for permission to publish them.
From your customer's perspective, this is far easier than having to think up a something nice to say about your service - they've already written the comment and you're asking for a simple "yay" or "nay".
Here's the exact wording we use that gets a 68% approval rate.
PRO-TIP #3 To give approval, customers can reply to you but creating a link they can just tap makes it easier PRO-TIP #4 Create a workflow to create request a photo (the publish process in AskNicely optionally pulls the user's Facebook profile picture)
3. PUT 'EM ON DISPLAY
Now you should have a regular feed of great customer compliments - let's get them on your site.
The format we use includes the customer's comment, name, photo and a timestamp showing how recently it was left.
Your homepage is a great place for 3-4 comments. Snapper displays the four latest compliments.
It's also a great idea to create a dedicated testimonials page like Zappos so customers get the full effect of the wisdom of the crowd. Here are two examples built using AskNicely.