How to Ask for Testimonials (Without Hassling your Customers)

As your business grows, you’ve probably already realized the vital importance of testimonials in your communication platform. After all, you can talk about your product until you’re blue in the face, but studies show that consumers trust the opinions of other consumers over any form of paid advertising.

You’ve also probably wondered how to ask for testimonials in a way that is unobtrusive and effective, without an overwhelming time commitment from your team. So how do you solicit reviews and testimonials in a tactful way? This week, we’re digging into three key tips on how to ask for testimonials without interrupting the customer experience.

How to ask for Testimonials in 3 Steps

1. Make it easy.

As consumers, we’re used to the internet streamlining and simplifying processes for us. So how do you streamline the process of leaving a testimonial? Here are a few starting points.

  • Shape the process of writing: Have you ever started writing a review, only to realize partway through the process that you aren’t sure how to frame or organize your ideas? It can be tough to fit the thoughts that you have as a customer into a tidy, concise piece of writing. As a company, then, it’s worth starting by asking pointed, specific questions. Break your testimonial request down into smaller sections that only require brief responses individually: How has your experience been using the product? Where have you found your biggest successes? Would you recommend the product to a friend? If the responses are negative or so-so here, your customer success team has a great opportunity to step up and address their concerns and win a more positive response to eventually use for a testimonial.
  • Don’t require the customer to leave your site: While third-party sites are generally the most trusted by consumers reading reviews, a popup within the user dashboard allows your users to give feedback quickly and easily without signing up for another site.  Remember: 70% of consumers trust the opinions of other consumers posted online. Even when reviews appear on your own site, they impact the view that potential customers have of your company and your brand. Check out this example from Segment:
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  • Send tactful reminders: In general, customers are happy to receive follow up requests, so long as they aren’t too close together or too consistent. As a rule of thumb, never send more than two follow-ups after an initial request. Customers want to feel that they are valued, unique individuals, so these messages should be personalized as much as possible. For a higher response rate, offer the option of giving their testimonial by simply replying to the email.

It will likely take time and some trial-and-error to find the right process for how to ask for testimonials from your particular users. Once you have a process in place, though, it’s vital to make sure that you’re catching customers when they are ready and willing to sing the praises of your product.

2. Ask at the right time.

For the best chance of getting a high-quality testimonial, you need to make the request at specific moments in the user journey where they feel especially positive about your company and product. In general, these will be times when you have gone above and beyond to improve the user experience. Some moments to watch include:

  • After solving a customer service request: Solving might be an understatement here. You want to ask for a testimonial when your CS team absolutely hits it out of the park. In moments like these, customers are far more receptive to leaving a glowing review. Make sure your CS team is trained on how to ask for testimonials in moments like this. Striking when the iron is hot is key here- you want to catch the customer as close as possible to the moment that their issue is solved.
  • At a secondary activation point: We’ve talked about this moment in the customer journey in more depth here, but in a nutshell, this is the point where your tool or service becomes a vital part of the customer’s workflow.
  • What this looks like varies from product-to-product (and from user-to-user as well), but you’ll likely have a sense of what constitutes “activation” in relation to your customers. They may start to use a specific tool-set within your product, or they might simply begin using your product multiple times over the course of the day. Regardless, this is a great time to put out feelers for a testimonial. Ask broadly how they are enjoying the service. If the response is positive, take the next step of asking a question or two. If those responses look good, you can reach out to the customer and ask to use their blurb as a testimonial.
  • After a referral: This is absolutely the easiest time to ask for a testimonial, since the customer has essentially just given you the best one possible- bringing a new customer onboard. Make sure to celebrate their referral and make them feel like a hero. It’s important that they feel valued before you make any kind of follow up request, and you may still want to sweeten the deal. You may or may not offer some form of reward for referrals, but consider incentivizing your rockstar customers even further to create a review. Speaking of incentives- to get customers to put time and energy into a testimonial, you’ll probably want to make them an offer of something in return.

3. Offer the right incentives.

Sometimes it takes a little prodding in the right direction to get a really good testimonial, but it’s absolutely worth the work. Rewarding customers for positive testimonials can be a great way to increase both the volume and quality of the reviews you receive. Your audience likely consumes a range of media, so it’s worth trying to catch them where they hang out. Consider offering specific rewards to customers who create short video testimonials about their experience using your product. Branded swag and free upgrades are both great ways to reward customers that champion your product, as is a free or discounted month of use.

How will you use your testimonials?

Figuring out how to ask for testimonials is the first step, next up is determining what to do with them.

Testimonials are a welcome addition to nearly any form of external communication. From landing pages to paid advertising to sales emails, a good testimonial can be exactly the bump your brand needs to make the sale.

As you develop your strategy, though, it’s worth spending some time considering what you hope to gain from your reviews and testimonials, and how you will use them in your overall communication strategy.

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Think broadly about the kinds of concerns that potential customers may have about paying for your service. If many potential customers believe that your product has a steep learning curve, for example, an actual customer describing your stellar onboarding process or helpful customer support is a great way to alleviate that fear.

On the other hand, you may choose to use your testimonials as a way to bring a human face to your brand. Accounting software, for example, may seem dry and uninviting, but testimonials from relatable figures can help set your marketing aside from your competitors.

Maybe your social media presence is lacking and you want to bring your existing customers to the forefront. Alternately, using testimonials in a case study can help you create engaging, relatable content.

You just need to take the first step and ask.