Few people would say customer testimonials are bad. They show real-world satisfaction with a product, they humanize the buying experience and they convince others to shop with confidence.
Testimonials should be a little rough around the edges because they are genuine testimony rather than well-constructed pitches
Unfortunately, many shoppers don't trust the testimonials and reviews they see on sites, or on products.
Some evaluations have concluded that as many as 90 percent of shoppers believe marketing teams make up the testimonials on sites. So how do you show your testimonials are real? By keeping a few things in mind.
Truth or consequences
Shoppers want to trust you and believe in your products. But they know they need to shop with their heads and not their hearts. Often, shoppers trust every easily, provided products and sites look sound, reasonable, and competent.
But word-of-mouth reigns among shoppers. And that's where testimonials play a key part in gaining customer trust and converting shoppers into buyers.
But the testimonials must be trustworthy. They can't look suspicious or shoppers won't buy. If they confuse and press shoppers, that's bad news. If they outright deceive, you'll lose shoppers for sure. So how do you get believable, trustworthily testimonials? It's easy.
Don't look for 'perfect'
Keep it real. Don't aim for "perfect." Actually, you don't want that. Testimonials should be a little rough around the edges because they are genuine testimony rather than well-constructed pitches. When you ask your customers for testimony—and especially when they share it without your asking—you usually get the unfiltered truth.
Share that truth with your shoppers and they'll recognize the real thing when they see it. Keep in mind that:
Use a customer's public dissatisfaction as an opportunity to publicly provide resolution. That will be the greatest testimony
- Real people speak like real people. Testimonials that are meticulously crafted can look fake. Real testimony usually bears the casualness of conversation. So if you get testimony that isn't of A+ grammar status, that's OK; share it as is. It's believable.
- Real people have real names and faces. These days, practically everyone has a photo of themselves they use on social media. When you get testimony, ask for the shopper's name and photo to share. It adds verity to the testimonial.
Real testimony isn't always good
Look, not every product or shopping experience can be above some criticism. Surely, someone out there hasn't had a stellar experience.
When you show bad testimonials or reviews alongside glowing ones, shoppers decide the truth is somewhere in between.
A business that shares less enthusiastic reviews shows a willingness to serve all shoppers in an honest and truthful fashion. And when the business can publicly address points of dissatisfaction, that goes a long way to show shoppers they've found a business they can trust.
Don't waste time thinking that less-than-positive testimony will mar your public image. Usually, they say more about the person leaving them than about the business.
Again, use a customer's public dissatisfaction as an opportunity to publicly provide resolution. That will be the greatest testimony your business can ever receive.
Let's be clear: All the testimonial you'll share with customers should always be 100% real and unadulterated (mostly, using good taste and reason). But you might receive testimonials from customers who weren't really within your target audience.
These buyers may not have understood the purpose of what you sell or were simply the sort who wouldn't like what you offer no matter what. If you get that sort of testimonial, why post it?
If it doesn't come from your target demographic, then it's of little use to the shoppers you're trying to reach.
If it doesn't come from your target demographic, then it's of little use to the shoppers you're trying to reach
The diamond in the rough, though, would be the sort of testimony that comes from someone outside of your target audience and was amazed, or otherwise converted when they least expected to be. This sort of testimonial is gold—show it off if ever you get it.
Trust in the testimonials you receive
You'll have the greatest success when you let your customers be who they are and when you let them speak their minds.
If you're working hard to satisfy everyone, you'll surely get feedback that acknowledges your efforts. Then use that honest feedback to help other shoppers decide for themselves on whether or not they'll buy.
When they read the true reactions from others, they'll usually be inclined to buy from you, all because they trust the testimonials that they'll read.
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Dennis L. Prince has been analyzing and advocating the e-commerce sector since 1996. He has published more than 12 books on the subject, including How to Sell Anything on eBay…and Make a Fortune, second edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and How to Make Money with MySpace (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His insight is actively sought within online, magazine, television and radio venues.
Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.