The Importance of Customer Reviews & Client Testimonials
Thanks to Yelp, Angie’s List, Glassdoor and others, customer reviews and client testimonials are the new normal in both B2C and B2B marketing. Well before they contact you, buyers are doing their research, and according to one study, almost 70% of them are taking customer reviews into account.
Why you need them…
Here in the “Testimonial Economy,” advertising and marketing content are taken with a grain of salt. It’s what others say about you that sways opinion, closes sales and answers the question, “Does it work as promised?” Since it takes a lot more momentum to switch suppliers than it does to try a new restaurant, anything you can offer to reassure potential customers that switching vendors is the right choice will get you closer to a sale.
By adding another customer touchpoint, reviews and testimonials become part of a larger conversation between you and your clients. Reviews show potential customers—and search engine rankings—that you’re actively listening to your customers. Those reviews add value to your brand.
Customer feedback also provides valuable insight into understanding what drives customer loyalty and what product features are most valuable to users. Even not-so-positive comments on third-party review sites offer insight into how to improve your products or customer service. Although you may worry that a negative review sticks out like a sore thumb, studies have shown that buyers trust good reviews more if there are a few bad reviews sprinkled in.
…And how to get them
The first step is to follow and listen to feedback already being generated on outside sites. Keep track of who is talking about you, whether they’re brand ambassadors, satisfied customers, unhappy customers to be engaged as a learning opportunity, or trolls to be ignored.
Securing reviews and testimonials for your LinkedIn page (by far the most popular source for B2B recommendations) or website will take some work. More is better, but even a handful of reviews are enough to earn many buyers’ trust. Don’t overwhelm potential reviewers by asking for a fully-formed testimonial or case study right out of the gate, or you’ll end up with boilerplate praise that lacks substance and sounds stiff.
Instead, ask if they’re willing to provide feedback, then ask for specifics:
- What problems did they need your product to solve?
- What were their biggest hesitations before buying?
- What features were key to them choosing your product or service?
- What results—however small—have they seen since their purchase?
As much as marketing has changed over the past two decades, the tried-and-true marketing staples of referrals and word-of-mouth remain. They’ve simply been updated for the digital age as online reviews and user-generated content. The effectiveness of authenticity remains the same.