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Customer Testimonials: Getting The Word Out About Your Business

10/6/2001

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You've tried several methods to get the word out about your business - brochures, fliers, etc., but have you ever thought of using your customers. "Word-of-mouth" marketing is an effective way to win new business. When included in your business brochures, newsletters, ads and Web sites, customer words of praise may give prospective clients the push they need to try your product or service.

The Better Business Bureau suggests that instead of waiting for a customer to say something nice about your business, why not make positive feedback a regular part of your customer service. If you know a customer is satisfied, send them a satisfaction form via regular mail (include a self-addressed, stamped envelope), e-mail or fax, and leave plenty of space for comments. If you use the telephone to contact customers to get testimonials, do so only during a time that is convenient for the customer. Otherwise, a glowing comment may quickly turn to unflattering criticism.

If possible, choose customers who are credible. Potential customers are most likely to believe testimonials from trustworthy clients. Your testimonials don't have to be from customers who hold Ph.D.s, but you may increase a prospect's interest if you quote those in authoritative positions. Just be sure to include enough room on your satisfaction form for the customer's full name, job title, address, background and other credentials.

When asking for testimonials, suggest specific areas that customers might address, such as, the quality of finished work, on-time delivery, or how easy your staff was to work with. Have at least one testimonial that covers each benefit described in your marketing materials.

To avoid legal trouble, get permission from the customer before using his or her name, image or words. If you plan to pay someone to tout your product or service, as is commonly done in infomercials, clearly state in your advertisement that it is a paid testimonial.

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