Putting Your Customer Testimonials to Work
When a customer is interested in your business for the first time, a review site is often their first stop. In fact, Forbes predicts that 90% of customers will consult a review site before making the purchase of a good or visiting a restaurant in 2014. For this reason, businesses should have a system in place that makes it easy for customers to share their opinions through customer testimonials.
When spreading the word about a product or service, companies often turn to their social media channels to get the word out. Yet, as companies invest time and money into social media, consumers are consistently conducting Google searches or visiting websites thanks to “word of mouth.” This goes to show that the recommendations of fellow consumers, positive or negative, are often more powerful than fine-tuned, professional reviews or self-funded promotion.
As stated by the U.S. Small Business Administration, “The power of referrals and quotes from customers can mean the difference between success and failure.” This statement will be especially applicable in 2014 as customer testimonials are expected to have the greatest effect on content marketing. According to a poll conducted by Webdamsolutions.com, customer testimonials will continue to have the highest effectiveness rating (89%) when influencing buyers. So, if your company isn’t using testimonials in their marketing and advertising efforts, 2014 is the year to start doing so.
While most companies have a system in place to collect customer feedback, there are several different ways your company can encourage quality reviews from your customers. In discussing the growing relevance of customer reviews in 2014, Vertical Measures offers some tips for generating great reviews:
- Make it easy to leave a review either online after trying your product or service.
- Educate people on your social networks about where they can review your company.
- If you see that someone left a negative review, try to reach out to that person, resolve the issue, and have them write another review.
- Put example reviews and testimonials on your website so people will want to participate.
Keep in mind that a few negative reviews for your company doesn’t hurt. The accelerated adoption of customer reviews is proof that the occasional negative review does not significantly impact sales. In fact, constructive criticism can induce change for the better and provides an opportunity for companies to respond to these reviews with authentic and engaging comments.
Despite the high value placed on customer testimonials, consumers have their doubts regarding the integrity of review content from strangers, regardless of where they are displayed. In November 2013, a Bazaarvoice survey of over 3,000 adult consumers across the U.S. and U.K. found that 71% of U.S. and 70% of U.K. respondents said that they read customer reviews before making a purchase decision. However, 40% and 50% of respondents in the U.S. and U.K. believe one or more of the reviews they read online is fake and indicated that they would be more trusting of reviews if they knew specific actions were taken to protect reviews against fraudulent and inauthentic practices.
In response to this dilemma, we suggest the self-recorded, customer-testimonial. Through self-recorded videos, consumers are easily able to identify the testimonials that are honest and authentic. With services provided by companies like VideoGenie, businesses allow consumers to record customer testimonials directly from their website, then strategically place those testimonials to further market their brand. When you combine all of these advantages, they lead to more conversions and conversations about your business and improve your brand’s credibility.