Unless you are selling items on Amazon, eBay, your website, or you work in the hospitality industry, it is extremely difficult to get reviews, recommendations or testimonials. It is not natural to give a written testimonial for a b2b service unless you are prompted to do so.
My nan once said to me “If you don't ask you don't get, and you don't get if you don't want”.
It's all about the process
What process do you have in place to request a testimonial or recommendation? It will be different for each business, but the outcome should be the same.
The first thing to think about is where would you like your review? Should you ask people to put a review on Facebook? Recommend you on LinkedIn? Add a Google Review? Your website? Trip Advisor? What is the best place for you? The answer is “it depends” on two aspects:-
a) Remember it is all about the customer, so figure out what works best for them. If a client of yours never uses LinkedIn and you have requested a LinkedIn recommendation, they are unlikely to get around to writing it because they are not comfortable with the platform. If, however, they are a Facebook user, then they will know exactly where to go and what to write. Google is probably the most difficult place to request a testimonial as you need a Gmail account to leave a review (at the moment, but this may change).
b) What is your main objective for gaining reviews? Are you collecting the information to transfer it to a website? Do you want exposure? Is it a numbers game for you, ie: the more reviews the higher the sale of your product or service? Perhaps you like to collect testimonials to use in tenders or other marketing activities in the future.
Three ideas on how to ask for a review or testimonial
Once you know why and where you are collecting testimonials then the next step is the “how”.
I have listed these scenarios in order of effectiveness (in my experience).
Idea #1 – Ask in person, right there and then!
The best time to ask a client or customer to give you a testimonial is at the time when everything is fresh in their mind and they can easily relate their experience in a written format. This is why training companies ask for an evaluation of the workshop at the end of the session. If you have an opportunity to request a testimonial in person, immediately after you have delivered the service or product then this has the best conversion rate. Easy ways to ask in person:-
- Have a pre-printed feedback form ready to give to the client.
- Email the client a form to complete before they leave
- Ask them to complete a “Survey Monkey Questionnaire” that you just so happen to have on an iPad right here.
Idea #2 – The Tip Trick
I have seen this process used when a company delivered a sofa to my house a few weeks ago, and I thought “that is a genius idea”. The guys delivering the sofa were not allowed to accept a tip from customers as it was perceived as bribery, so instead, they said: “if you can leave us a review, and add our names to the review then we go into a prize draw and we can win a holiday”. My marketing mind instantly gave credit to the company for being so innovative. The sofa was particularly difficult to get into the living room and they had to disassemble a door and take the sofa to bits in order to get it looking great. It had all sorts of mechanical parts as the three seater was a recliner (and they are really heavy!). I had made them both a cup of tea, but I felt that they had gone beyond their duties and at this point, I wanted to reward them.
This is when they produced a tablet with a pre-built in customer survey for me to complete. It was only three questions and didn't take a minute to do and I had the feel-good feeling that these two young lads had the opportunity of winning a holiday that month.
With my marketing hat on, I quizzed the guys. They had been told to only bring out the tablet if the customer offered to give them a tip. When I checked the reviews online they were all long, detailed and extremely credible – genius!
Idea #3 – Asking via email or messenger (LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram)
If you rarely have face to face contact with a customer then asking for a testimonial is often a bit tougher and email or messenger may be your only option.
If you’re going to ask for reviews via direct message, then here are some tips for you:
- If you are using email then please do not send the request from someone they don't know (such as an administrator) or an info@ address. If you want to convert the request then it is best to send the email from the person that has been dealing with them.
- Make the email personal and not generic. Rather than saying “our services”, go into specifics to ask how they felt about A,B or C. The more personal the request the more the “warm fuzzy feeling” appears which means you will receive an awesome call to action!
- Remove the crap. For example, when asking for any type of review then this should be the only thing that you are asking. Do not ask them to follow you on social media, or check out your latest deal or offer.
- The best results come from a direct plain text email. It is as if you are going out of your way to ask JUST them. The minute you introduce a snazzy branded email that is obviously part of a process then this dilutes the authenticity of the email you are sending.
- Try out different subject lines – if you don't test these things then you will never know what works best.
- If you are communicating on messenger then speak the language of the platform. For example, if you are requesting a review via direct message on Instagram or Facebook then a GIF or an emoji would certainly help with conversions. In my opinion, I would avoid using such tactics on LinkedIn, although I know some clients that have had great results from doing this.
Email or direct messaging will almost never be as good as asking in person, but it can still be very effective at scale.
Reviews rarely happen unless prompted. Have a process in mind in a similar way to the sofa company mentioned above. What is the hook that you need to implement within your business so that your staff know that this is the point at which you request a review?
By the way, if you have used Green Umbrella services then feel free to leave us a review here
Alternatively, we value your feedback in the form of a comment below #CheekyRequest