Have you ever bought a book or product on Amazon and read the reviews before buying? How about downloaded an app for your iPhone? Did you ever read the reviews and decide it wasn’t worth it based on other people’s opinions?
Let’s face it; anyone can claim to offer a quality product or service. In today’s interconnected marketplace customers want proof. Think about your customer’s decision making process. Chances are they’ve done a Google search (or Bing or Yahoo) about your company. What did they find?
Harnessing the power of customer testimonials can be a great asset to your outdoor living area business. Here are a few strategies to implement a successful campaign to keep the testimonials flowing in.
Ask your clients questions relevant to their total satisfaction with the project you completed for them; why they selected you over your competitors, whether they would recommend your services to others, and if they would hire you for a future project.
Be sure to add a disclaimer to your testimonial survey. Inform your customers that you may be publishing their statements and names from their testimonial. This will help preserve the customer confidentiality and allow you the right to use their statements in promoting your business.
If your customer has provided you with a testimonial in person or through an alternate method, ask your customers permission if you can use their information as a testimonial.
Give a customer survey to your customers upon completion of a job. This approach is a great method if you communicate with your customers in person.
Suggest your customers complete the surveys and return them to you.
You can also have the survey designed into postcards with prepaid postage. This will allow customers to fill them out at their convenience before mailing them back to you.
Send the testimonial survey by mail. The survey can be sent to your customers after you’ve completed their project.
Allow a sufficient amount of time to pass in which customers can use your product before sending the testimonial. For example, if you completed an outdoor living area with a fire pit or outdoor kitchen before a holiday like the 4th of July and they’re planning a big party, send your customer the testimonial letter after the party so they can boast how much their friends and family enjoyed the backyard experience.
Put a stamp on the envelope so your customers can return the responses to you at no cost to them.
If you communicate with your customers via email, you can create a page on your website and send your customers a link to it, avoiding the hassle of using snail mail.
Gathering customer testimonials should be part of your marketing strategy as well as your customer satisfaction strategy. Coming up in the next article we’ll cover online strategies for using search directories like Google places, Yahoo local and Yelp.