As you may (or may not) already know, customer acquisition is getting harder than ever.
In an age where competitors are popping up everywhere and customer acquisition costs are rising, it simply isn't sustainable to expect that closing new customers will fuel your business' growth. The key lies in your existing customers.
The hard truth is, potential new customers don't trust your marketing content and your sales reps as much as they trust recommendations from real people. While word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends are important, customer reviews and testimonials play an even bigger role in a customer's research process to determine which company to give their business.
Testimonials can be a particularly powerful deciding factor. Whether they're written, visualized, or recorded as a video, the glowing testimonial of a happy, successful customer can generate qualified leads. It's all about how they tell the story, and these questions can draw out a story that will be the most convincing sales pitch your customers have ever read.
Testimonial Questions to Ask Your Customers
1. What was it like before you had our product or service?
This question will prompt your customer to paint a picture of how bad they had it before buying your product or service. You can use their response to demonstrate how your business can solve other customers' needs.
2. What problem(s) were you trying to solve with our product or service?
Your customer probably isn't alone in the problem your product helped them to solve. Hopefully, a reader with a similar obstacle will see this and identify with their story. If you're segmenting your customer base into buyer personas, then it's likely that other customers will be experiencing the same problem. By including their story in your testimonial, leads will see a proven track record of customer success.
3. Where did you start your search?
By explaining how they started searching for a solution and where, they'll subconsciously guide someone to do what they did. This gives customers a clear path to purchasing your product, making buying decisions much easier. If leads can relate to your customer's starting point, they'll see your business as a shortcut to long-term success.
4. What made our product or service stand out from other options?
Leads often compare products between competitors, and this question will make it extremely clear to prospects what the X factor of your product or service is.
And, since it's a testimonial, leads will be more likely to trust these claims over traditional advertising. It's one thing if your business says it's better than your competitors, but it's a completely different game if it's your customers saying it. Customer advocacy plays a major role in lead acquisition and customer retention.
5. What was the obstacle that almost prevented you from buying our product or service?
It's hard for any person to pull the trigger and make a big purchase. And, it's likely that your customers will share similar concerns when undergoing difficult buying decisions. Detailing their objections — and how they overcame them — will empower other prospective customers to do the same.
Additionally, your marketing and customer service team can use this feedback to improve the customer's journey. By understanding the biggest roadblocks affecting your leads, you can remove these distractions and increase lead conversion.
6. What sold you on buying this product or service?
What was the bottom line that contributed to your customer's decision to buy? Was it a product feature? Your customer service team? The price? This will help prospective customers reading or listening to the testimonial to consider their priorities. This will also let your marketing team know which aspects of your business are most desirable to customers.
7. What made you happiest about working with our company?
Whether your product is easy to use, or you provide great customer service, or you offer flexible payment options, this question will highlight the best part of working with you. By highlighting this factor, leads will understand how your business aligns itself with customer goals.
8. What have you been able to achieve since using our product or service?
Whether your product or service helped the customer generate more leads, increase revenue, save time, achieve goals, or hire more personnel, they're all good things. Prospective customers will want to get those results, too. Including this question demonstrates how your business will foster long-term customer success.
9. What has exceeded your expectations since working with us?
Sometimes, business is cut and dry, but it's always a smart idea to surprise and delight your customers so they'll keep talking about it in their recommendations. Customers will remember the times that your business provided above-and-beyond customer service, and leads will want to hear about these stories, too. It's a lot easier to show how great your service is when highlighting individual moments of excellence.
10. What's the main reason you recommend our product or service?
What's the bottom line when it comes to deciding to purchase from you or not? This answer will lay it all out. After all, leads are looking for honesty, and this question encourages customers to provide a candid recommendation for your business.
11. What about our business surprised you the most?
This question provides insight into the customer's perception of your brand. When they first purchased your product, they had a goal they were hoping to accomplish.
However, some customers will find that your business offers other benefits — like rewards and loyalty programs — that help them achieve more than they initially thought. By collecting these stories, you can show leads that your company is focused on the entire customer experience, not just on selling a product.
12. What would you tell someone who's considering our business?
When leads are considering your business, customer testimonials are perfect for convincing them to buy your product. In fact, 87% of leads look at customer reviews before making a purchase.
Having your customers give advice to leads during their buying decision will help your sales and marketing teams capitalize on timely opportunities to convert leads. They'll know when leads are likely to hit roadblocks and what they'll need to say to overcome them.
13. Was there anything we could have done differently?
This question is geared towards your marketing and customer service teams. Unless the customer doesn't have anything to add, these responses should be saved as useful pieces of customer feedback. Keep in mind, customers providing testimonials should be your happiest customers.
So, getting their feedback is a crucial part of maintaining customer satisfaction and improving the customer experience. This question also makes the testimonial seem less staged and more realistic.
14. If there’s one word you could use to describe your experience with us, what would it be and why?
By asking customers to sum up their thoughts and feelings about your business in one word, you can understand what most stands out to your customers about you. Is it that you’re efficient? Helpful? Personable? It’s important that this question focuses on you as a business and not necessarily your product. That way, potential customers can get a sense of who you are and what it’s like to work with you.
15. How has your business been impacted since starting to use our product or service?
Results can be exceedingly persuasive. With this question, you prompt your customers to think about their experience with your product in terms of the impact you’ve created. Maybe their revenue increased by $30,000 or they won 15% more customers than they did last year. These quantifiable, tangible wins sell your product for you.
16. What was one unexpected benefit you experienced from using our product or service?
The great thing about this question is that it’s completely up for interpretation. Your customer can share a financial, personal, or team-related benefit.
For instance, your customer might be averse to carrying out report meetings, because they don’t feel public speaking is their strong suit. Your marketing software made it much easier to compile performance data for stakeholders, negating a need for a meeting. These sorts of anecdotes communicate the strength of your product in small but impactful ways.
17. How was your experience working with us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic was tough for most businesses; many suffered financial losses. How easy did you make it to work with you during this tough time? By prompting your customers to share, you’ll show prospects how you care for your customers in times of duress.
It’s especially telling because your business, too, likely went through hardships. That you made it easy to work with you throughout the pandemic shows that you put your customers’ needs above your own. If you went out of your way to help customers during this time, you definitely want to prompt your customer to share that.
18. How has your team handled [specific workflow or task] in a remote environment since starting to use our product or service?
If COVID-19 was tough on businesses as a whole, going remote was tough on teams at both a group and individual capacity. Continuing to work efficiently was a challenge that many of us found insurmountable at first.
If your product or service made it easier for teams to work remotely, be sure to ask your customer how they handled certain tasks before and after adopting your solution. You’ll show that your product is indispensable for teams’ success during times of transition and change.
19. If you had to choose one, what would be your favorite feature of our product or service? How has it made your life easier?
It’s not just enough to ask about the customer’s favorite feature. Ask them how it has helped them specifically so that your future customers can imagine themselves benefiting in a similar way.
This question may have some crossover with question #10 in this list. If your customers didn’t touch upon product features in their answer to that question, then feel free to use this one to get a more product-specific answer.
20. On a scale of one to ten, how likely are you to recommend our product or service to others?
This NPS® survey question is a winner because it’s easy to answer and provides a quantifiable measurement of your customers’ happiness with you. It’s a great option for a written testimonial survey. The best part is that you can use the answer to calculate your NPS survey score.
Video Testimonial Questions to Ask Your Customers
While all of the questions above could be used in a video testimonial, there are a few that are particularly fit for videos. Video testimonial questions typically prompt customers to share a story — as opposed to giving a dry-and-cut answer that could be written in an online or paper questionnaire.
21. Is your team remote? How would you describe your day-to-day workflow since starting to use our product or service?
This question is similar to #17 above, but offers the benefit of being more open-ended, allowing your customer to launch into a story. It also doesn’t focus on a specific task and instead prompts your customer to share their daily work in more general terms.
22. Did you face unexpected curveballs when implementing our product? If so, how did our team help you surmount those challenges?
This question is a great option for video testimonials because it can possibly uncover a negative aspect of your product. Written testimonials can seem cut and dry, but your customer’s body language, tone, and facial expression will show that the challenge was temporary and that they emerged successfully on the other side.
The truth is that every product implementation phase will come with its curveballs. How do you help your customers surmount those curveballs to ensure a successful adoption? This question will allow prospects to hear it straight from a customer and envision what it’ll be like to adopt your solution.
Be sure to ask this question if you have a strong onboarding and product training team.
23. How was your business impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you feel our product or service played a role in your success during that time? If so, how?
The best part about this question is that it brings the focus back to the customer by asking about their experience through the pandemic. They can go into detail about the challenges they faced, giving your future customers a chance to relate.
Most importantly, it gives your customer a chance to share how your product got them through those challenges.
24. What’s one story of success that wouldn’t have been possible without our product?
Hone in on just one success story and give your customer the flexibility to choose the one that they’d prefer. The best part is that they can share a financial, personal, and team-wide anecdote. They could even say that your product has empowered them to spend more time at home with their family. Whatever it is, it shows that your product is instrumental to your customers’ success.
25. Is there anything else that you would like to comment on or say about our product or business?
This last question opens the floor and lets the customer say what's on their mind. This is important because your questions may not have addressed every experience they've had with your brand. By letting the customer speak freely, you'll obtain some unique feedback that you may not have considered about your products or services.
Use Testimonial Questions to Get the Right Answers
Testimonials can persuade potential customers to make a purchase when your marketing copy and sales collateral does not. By using the above questions, you can ensure you get answers that highlight the effectiveness of your product, lowering customer churn and helping you and your business grow better.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in May, 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.