The customer experience (CX) has been a big marketing buzzword for a few years now. It has become the business benchmark of today. According to Forester’s research, companies that lead in customer experience can deliver far greater compound annual revenue than companies that lag behind in customer experience.

Customer Experience
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

If you want your business to thrive, you need to actively work on improving CX. And, one of the best ways to improve your CX is through testimonials.

Social Signals as a Tool for Improving CX

Just like it’s always been, the market is rife with blatant scams, con artists, and poor-quality products. But, the modern consumer is savvier than ever. Blatantly falsified “glowing” testimonials such as, “ My first Bitcoin rig mined $100,000 in the first months” or, “This site has helped me make $10,000 in less than a week” are everywhere, and people see right through them.

This may lead you to think that reviews and testimonials are a worthless marketing medium, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Consumers react really positively to real testimonials from real people, so they have become one of the most valuable marketing tools.

About 84% of internet users trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends, according to a Brightlocal consumer survey. Honest feedback from real customers and clients is a great trust signal to others.

The ubiquity of social media, customer feedback on Amazon, and reviews on Yelp are making companies rethink how they can gain and keep the trust of the consumer.

And trust must be earned, it’s not something a company can buy. So, in this regard, small family-run businesses are on a level playing field with huge multinationals. Today, social proof is everything. When you use reviews and testimonials correctly, not only will you reach more prospects, but you will reinforce the trust and experiences of your current customer base.

Types of Testimonials

There are several distinct types of customer testimonials, even though they are often similar in content. Here are some of the most common ones:

The Social Media Interaction

Thanks to its inherently natural and organic “feel,” many businesses use this type of testimonial as their primary format. When companies use testimonials from social media, they usually don’t edit or format the message.

The best social media testimonials are the ones that highlight how happy the customer is with their purchase while referencing a specific experience with a specific product. Such Facebook or Twitter testimonials are perfect as is. A simple comment from a Facebook user can go far, so offering exceptional customer service undoubtedly pays off.

The “Industry Insider” Testimonial

The “industry insider” testimonial format is great for both B2B and B2C companies. Such testimonials feature the opinions of thought and industry leaders. They can be given by companies or individuals.

For instance, the testimonials page of AskGamblers features testimonials from some of the biggest names in their industry. But, not to neglect the average site user, they also included testimonials from players who use their platform.

So, they took the opportunity to highlight the brands they have partnered up with as well as what they can do for their site users. The “industry insider” testimonials capitalize on the expertise and knowledge of the featured companies or individuals.

The “Satisfied Customer” Testimonial

Most people are familiar with this format and structure. The typical “satisfied customer” testimonial features the name of a person, their image, and their explanation of why the service or product is so excellent.

These testimonials usually focus on praise, and don’t elaborate on the subject too much so that the reader can digest them easily. Photos are a vital element of such reviews because they make it easy for the readers to form a connection with the individual who has written the testimonial.

The Video Testimonial

To highlight customer testimonials, more and more businesses are using video. Obviously, video testimonials are pricier, but the ROI is usually well worth it.

Video testimonials come with much more creative licenses, so they often deviate by a lot from typical formats. One of the biggest perks of video testimonials is that you can use them to show how clients are actually using your service, or how customers are interacting with your product.

Video testimonials give you a chance to connect both with satisfied customers and prospects on a completely different level.

Put the Customer First

Before you start working on getting excellent testimonials, approach your business from the perspective of a prospect. How did they stumble upon your website? Through an organic search result, social promotion, or PPC ad? Although the desired result should be the same, each would-be customer’s journey is different.

Consider the intent of your prospects. What problems are they trying to solve? You can start thinking about how you can use customer testimonials as trust signals only after you learn why people are turning to your business.

For instance, you can use testimonials to preemptively address common concerns and offset prospects if your services or products carry greater perceived risks. Or, your testimonials can emphasise your commitment to customer service if you are operating in a saturated market with many competitors.

Highlight Your Perfect Customers

Highlight your perfect customers in your testimonials in the same way marketers pursue the “perfect” prospects. You can attract the right customers, and make your current customers feel even more comfortable, by showing them someone who is very similar to them.

For instance, if your service or product is aimed at female entrepreneurs, the testimonials should come from someone that matches the criteria. If your prospects see that the testimonial is written by someone who is just like them, they will identify with your brand more strongly.

It will be easier for them to envision themselves happily using your product or service. It also tells them that you understand the needs of customers who are like them and that you are very familiar with your target market.

Provide Information in Your Testimonials

Use your testimonials to provide site visitors with valuable info about your organization. To develop trust with your customers, make sure to feature the most important information about your products or services.

Think about what would someone who has never used your products or services ask someone who has first-hand experience? Whatever it is, be sure to include it in an easy-to-view format.

You probably already have this information displayed elsewhere on your website, as you should. But don’t think that you will be repeating yourself if you make sure your testimonials include the same information. Customer testimonials can convey this info in a much friendlier and organic way than a sales pitch.

Think of it as the difference between a conversation with a friend and a paid advertisement. But, you need to make sure that the testimonials are genuine. Fake testimonials usually appear too salesy, and can really hurt your reputation.

Your testimonials should emphasise your unique selling proposition (USP). Pick out customer testimonials that mention why someone should choose your company over another.

Ideally, you won’t need to prompt your customers to do that. After all your USP is probably at least one reason why some of your customers opted for your company, and not the competition.

Each testimonial can focus on a different selling point. For instance, one testimonial can highlight a genuinely innovative feature of your product and another can focus on your exceptional customer service.

This way, you can bring forth several aspects of your business in your testimonials without being repetitive. By spreading out your selling points across different testimonials, you will add dimension to your brand.

Make Your Customers Feel Appreciated

Chances are, you feel valued when someone asks you about your opinion about something that is very important to them. Most of us do. This is why testimonials make customers feel appreciated.

You can show your customers how much they matter to you simply by asking them for their feedback. Not only will this demonstrate that you are willing to listen to them carefully, and that you value their opinion, but you will gain valuable insights and testimonials.

Drive Changes to Your Business

As mentioned, testimonials give you valuable customer insight—they are so much more than a selling tool. For instance, if you get a two-star review because the product took too long to ship, you know what you need to improve.

You can turn customer feedback into actionable items for your company. You won’t know how you can improve your customer experience if you don’t get this valuable feedback.

No matter how hard you try, it’s easy to overlook some issues. For instance, you may feel like it’s time to improve the services on your website, but the customer feedback tells you that your navigation bar isn’t really working properly.

So, to give your customers what they want, you will change direction. Use testimonials and reviews to improve your business decisions.

Being At the Right Place, At The Right Time

You need to have a strategy for how you will display your testimonials. You won’t accomplish much if you slap random testimonials all over your site. If your business offers a variety of services, you should include a relevant testimonial on each service page.

Let’s say you’re offering home cleaning services and interior design services. If someone is looking for a home cleaning service, a testimonial on your interior design skills won’t be of much interest to them.

Focus on Tangible Impact

The testimonials you plan to use on your front page should be very specific. The most effective testimonials are the ones that focus on tangible impact. Fluffy and vague testimonials won’t have much of an influence on your prospects.

If you want to get specific answers, make sure to ask specific questions when you are asking your customers for feedback. For instance, if you are a B2B company, ask your client what impact your services have had on their results. If it’s not too much to ask, ask them to tell it to you in numbers.

Takeaway

Customer testimonials are an excellent trust signal when they are framed in the right context. However, when it comes to testimonials, not every approach is right for every company. You should consider what you want your most-satisfied customers to tell your prospects.