How to Source and Use Customer Testimonials
There’s no question about it: customer testimonials help brands build trust, win over new customers, and earn more revenue.
In one survey from Bright Local, 94% of consumers said positive reviews make them more likely to shop with a business.
From startups to mom-and-pop shops to multibillion-dollar international brands, customer testimonials play a big role in how we evaluate brands and choose which ones to give our hard-earned money to.
So what’s the deal with customer testimonials, how do you collect them, and how do you use them?
That’s what we’ll look at in this article.
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Why customer testimonials work
If you look up research around customer testimonials and reviews, you’ll find pages and pages of data that confirm their value. This is because of a powerful concept called social proof.
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where we see others behaving a certain way and we follow suit. As humans, we do this to fit in, and because we’re making an assumption that others are making the right choice. Customer testimonials are a direct form of social proof.
Looking back at the Bright Local research, we see that:
92% of consumers are less likely to shop with a business after finding negative reviews
79% said they trust online reviews and testimonials as much as they trust personal recommendations from people they know
So, what are customers actually paying attention to?
According to eMarketer, 68% of internet users look at star ratings when they’re deciding whether or not to make a purchase from a brand. And 61% look at the number of reviews and testimonials that retailer has received. In this process, nearly half are looking at how recently the reviews and testimonials were posted.
How to get customer testimonials: 4 best ways
Looking to score your own customer testimonials? Let’s look at a few effective ways to make it happen.
1. Send an email asking for a testimonial
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. Directly emailing customers after they’ve made a purchase with you is a great way to catch them while the experience is still fresh in their minds.
Try to send the email within one to three days after the purchase, or after the order was delivered if it’s a physical item. You might also consider adding an incentive, like a freebie or a discount on their next purchase.
If you’re running a small business, you can send these out manually for a personal touch. Or you can automate them using an email marketing app or platform. If your website is on Shopify, you’ll be able to find plenty of options in the app store.
Here’s a quick template you can repurpose for yourself:
Hey [customer’s first name],
I see that you bought [item] last week. I wanted to personally thank you for being a customer!
I have a small favor to ask. If you have a few minutes, it would be amazing if you could leave us a review here: [link to review site or questionnaire].
And to sweeten the deal, we’ll give you a 20% discount on your next order. You’ll get the discount code after you finish the review.
2. Use a customer satisfaction survey
You’ve surely gotten at least a few customer satisfaction surveys by now. They’re an incredibly popular tool for product and service-based businesses to learn about their customers’ experience.
I recently received a common type of customer satisfaction survey from CVS Pharmacy. It was a brief email sent a few hours after my visit. It thanked me for shopping, then asked for one minute of my time.
The survey started with a 1–10 rating scale, then directed me to a brief survey page that asked a couple more questions. The survey page also suggested that I record a quick video testimonial and upload the file—a growing trend in customer testimonials that can be even more powerful than written ones.
3. Use apps to collect feedback
Depending on the website platform you use, you likely have access to tons of apps or plug-ins that can help you get positive customer testimonials up on your site. If you’re on Shopify, visit the Shopify App Store to see what’s available.
You’ll find apps with all sorts of capabilities, features, and functions. For example, you can install a post-purchase survey app that helps you automate reviews and push them onto your website.
You can display them virtually any way you like. Try a section on your homepage, on certain pages across the site, or as their own dedicated page.
4. Source from social media
Do you have positive reviews around the web? Gather and cross-post them to other channels, like your website and social channels like Yelp, Google, and Facebook. You can do this manually or use a Shopify app like Social Testimonial Slider.
If you choose to do this manually, start with a Google search or a flip through your public-facing pages on websites where reviews are available. See what people have been saying about you and put them onto your website.
Using an app is a great way to save yourself some time. Instead of going through manually, many apps will automatically search the web and update your website with your most recent customer testimonials.
Who to ask for positive testimonials
Although you could ask anyone in your customer base to give you a testimonial, it makes sense to start with your best customers. After all, they’re already your biggest fans and likely know your brand better than most other people.
If you’re not sure how to find this customer segment, consider sorting everyone based on conditions like:
Length of customer relationship: Look for customers who have been with you for a long time
Number of purchases: Look for customers who repeatedly buy products from your store
Total money spent: Look for those who’ve spent the most
Essentially, these are your VIP customers. And because they prefer your brand over others, you can reach out to them and ask for testimonials that explain why they’ve developed such fondness for your business.
How to use customer testimonials
Once you have your customer testimonials, what do you do? Here are a few ways to showcase them.
1. Integrate into product pages
Customer reviews and testimonials on your product pages can be a huge boost for your conversions. Many brands use apps to place a star rating near the top of the page. Then, when users scroll down to learn more, they find more robust testimonials from customers.
For example, footwear brand Helm shows a star rating and the number of reviews directly under the product’s name. Under its Zind Teak boots, you’ll see 4.98 stars based on 144 reviews.
As you scroll lower, you see a highlighted quote from one happy customer, Christopher A.: “Perfect. The boots are excellent quality, and the look is awesome.”
When you scroll down further, you’re able to skim through more reviews and read what more customers had to say.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to buy a pair of Zind Teaks just looking at this.
2. Create a dedicated testimonials page
In addition to sprinkling them across your website, try aggregating your customer testimonials onto a single page and creating a dedicated page link in your website’s navigation.
This way, visitors know exactly where to find the reviews, and can look for specific information they’ve been wanting to confirm or clarify.
Online food ordering system ChowNow has an engaging and highly effective page of video testimonials by customers.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to spend tons of money on professional-quality videos: you can simply ask customers to make a video on their computer or smartphone, like CVS did in my earlier example. These “home videos” can be just as powerful in your social proof efforts.
3. Use for case studies
You can think of a case study as an extended customer testimonial or review. You can create and publish them in different forms, like as a separate web page or a downloadable PDF that visitors can keep after they leave your site.
The best case studies paint a vivid picture for readers. They cover points like:
The company and the leader(s) who run it
The problems the customer was facing before they started using your brand
The nature of the customer’s working relationship with your brand—which services did they use? What was the timeline of the engagement?
The results the customer saw as a direct result of working with your brand
How the company is better than before
Case studies are a popular social proof technique for companies that sell high-value products or services, like tech or software. These brands typically have a longer sales process, and case studies are a great way to prove that they’re worth it.
Boost your business with customer testimonials
A strategic, well-placed customer testimonial can be the deciding factor for one of your store visitors to convert into a paying customer. Sometimes, all they need is to hear an encouraging word from their peers.
It might seem daunting to collect and post customer testimonials, but it can be as easy as sending a quick email to people who have recently made a purchase. You’ll also be able to find plenty of apps and platforms to help with the process.
Once you’re done, use them on your website, on social media, in emails—anywhere and everywhere! When you tap into the power of social proof through customer testimonials, you’ll find the results are absolutely worth the effort.