Testimonials that are only text on your own website may have the perception of being less credible than those found on other websites like business directories. If you are going to use testimonials on your own website try to have corroborating evidence such as a photo, video, name and suburb.

Fake testimonials could cost you thousands

You SHOULD NOT EVER, under any circumstances, no matter how clever the method or wording, use fake testimonials or reviews. Not only is it unethical but you could be fined thousands of dollars by the ACCC if you are a business in Australia.

The Federal Court ordered two solar energy companies to pay

…penalties of $125,000, for publishing fake testimonials and making false or misleading representations about the country of origin of the solar panels they supply.

There were compounding issues besides the testimonials such as the way that the companies were misleading the consumers about the country of origin of products. Ref:  accc.gov.au/…penalty-for-fake-testimonials

Writing testimonials on behalf of your clients

If you have a client who doesn’t feel like they can pen the words of a testimonial or would be happy to say something verbally to you but are busy and not fond of writing then with their agreement you could write the testimonial and get them to approve it. Similarly if a client sends you a nice thankful email you could ask them if they would mind you publishing it as a testimonial.

Get testimonials from businesses and prominent people

If you provide services to well known businesses or personalities they can make fabulous testimonial sources because they are trusted and recognised by others. If the testimonial is coming from a business you could offer to include their logo and a link to their website when the testimonial is published on your website.

Make customers happy, get real testimonials

Getting your happy customers to give you testimonials is much better and easier than paying huge fines and having your business and reputation demolished by the courts, so let’s focus on doing it right and not being sneaky.

You need to ask for a testimonial

It would be great if happy customers and clients always provided a positive review without being asked. It does happen sometimes but rarely in my experience. It’s not that people don’t want to give you a testimonial, they just get busy with life and move on to the next thing.

If you are going to ask for a testimonial try to pick a time when they are glowing with delight, such as when:

  • you’ve solved their problem
  • they’ve achieved success as a result of your help
  • they tell you that they’re happy with your work
  • they thank you with intention
  • you successfully complete a project
  • they have paid their final invoice
  • they’ve given you a referral to a new client

At these times you could ask if they would be willing to share their story with your potential clients. If they agree then thank them and email a testimonial request. If you want to get really into if then ask if they will do an audio or video interview.

Pick a question to include in a testimonial request

Writing something from scratch, in the moment, with the distractions and stress of life can be difficult. Make it easier by providing some questions as a stimulus. The following are questions that you can pick a couple from when you email someone asking for a testimonial.

Questions you could ask if you provided a service

  • What situation or problem did you have that required our services to solve?
  • Why did you select us to work with?
  • How did you benefit from working with us?
  • What are the two most significant improvements that have resulted from your work with us?
  • What did we do to contribute to the outcome you wanted?
  • Why you think that working with us was a good experience?
  • In the future, what type of businesses would most benefit from working with us?
  • If a potential client was on the fence about whether to work with us or not, what would you say to them?

Questions you could ask if your customer bought a product

  • Would you refer us to a friend?
  • In your own words, how would you describe our [Strongest attribute]?
  • What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying our product?
  • What did you find as a result of buying the product?
  • What feature did you like most about the product?

If your questions can encourage your client to open up and provide honest feedback, the testimonial will be convincing and less effort for them to think about. It’s much easier to answer questions than to extract thoughts and sentences about a broad topic. It’s best to ask open ended questions so that the respondent uses the helpful part of their mind.

Use a survey to get testimonials with statistical feedback

Another option is to provide clients with a survey at the end of a project, or when your transaction is complete. Not everyone will fill out the survey, but those who are particularly happy with the result (or particularly unhappy) are very likely to do so.

People are usually happy to give a testimonial if you ask

Although most of us understand the importance of testimonials, I still meet many clients who are uncomfortable asking for them. They feel that testimonials should just happen naturally—that happy customers and clients should want to provide a positive review without being prompted. While this does happen sometimes, the fact is that most clients need a little nudge.

Make people smile for a day, give them a testimonial

So if you want to really make someones day write a testimonial or record a video testimonial for them. Since testimonials are so rarely received without prompting for you to give a testimonial unsolicited lend powerfully to the authenticity and intention.

You in turn can have the delightful experience of receiving gracious thank you and appreciation from the person or business that you did the testimonial for. It’s like giving a compliment, providing it is truthful, specific and timely then the recipient cannot help but be walking on a cloud for the day.

Further reading on acquiring testimonials