I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.
Have you ever experienced wonderful customer service and thought, “I am going to write a letter to the manager and compliment that thoughtful waiter (flight attendant, salesperson, handyman, nurse, ___)?” And then…never did? You meant to, and you maybe even started to look up the number, address, website, and then…never did.
You have customers who would love to brag about you, too. And they never do. Life gets in the way. Yet testimonials are super powerful sales tools. When your customers say wonderful things about you, it means so much more to prospective clients than when you brag about yourself.
What if you make it irresistibly easy for your customers to give you a testimonial? Here’s how!
Set the Stage When You Make the Sale.
Kick off the project with a promise similar to this: “Mrs. Fernwicky, you’ve made a great choice to work with me. Here is what will happen next… (yadayada) Throughout the project, I will contact you (phone, email, video clips) about our progress.
“And, when we are finished, my intention is for you to be so thrilled with the outcome that you will be happy to give me a testimonial and let me take your picture. And, if you have a problem or a question about any aspect of our work together, let me know. I am the one who can make it all better.”
Make Good on the Promise.
Communicate throughout the project, “Here’s what will happen next. Does that line up with your expectations?” And if you get off track? Thank them when they let you know that they’re unhappy. Try to find out what happened. Ask how you can make it better. Review the scope of the work together and find the common ground. Don’t let a molehill become a mountain.
Ask for the Testimonial!
It is extraordinary for a service provider to deliver as promised. And, you exceed all expectations when you actually salvage a job – and a relationship – that has gone awry. That deserves a testimonial. Don’t wait for one. Get one.
“Mrs. Fernwicky, I am so happy that you are happy. The job is finished. Your ____________ is beautiful and working perfectly. Would you mind providing a testimonial? What was the best part about working together?”
Be sure to record what they say. Even the best-intentioned customer may just never get around to writing a letter or an email. And take a picture – a head and shoulders shot with a toothy grin! Or, take a snappy under-2-minutes video. Send the finished testimonial to them in an email and request their permission to use it for marketing purposes. And of course, ask them to pass the link/post/tweet to their friends.
Layer on the Love.
It’s all about the love. When your customers fall in love with you, they will brag about you…to their neighbors and family and friends. Use the testimonial to leverage those conversations. Suggest that prospective clients call happy clients. They will make the sale for you.
If you love your customers, and do right by them, th