Your best sales rep doesn't work for your company anymore.

In fact, your company's most convincing sales pitch might be thanks to your loyal customers.

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Customers trust traditional business communication -- like marketing, advertising, and sales -- less than ever before. Today, you need word-of-mouth recommendations and reviews from your customers to convince someone new to win you the sale.

To do that, you need lots of glowing reviews and testimonials to do the work for you. More than half of the customers we surveyed said they trust word-of-mouth recommendations and customer reviews the post when purchasing business software, so suffice it to say, these are important initiatives to ask your customers to help you with. To get you started, read our best practices for asking for a customer testimonial below -- along with some tried-and-true email templates you can use no matter what relationship you have with your customers.

1. Choose the right timing.

First, do an analysis of your customer base and the journey they take with your product or service to determine when might be the optimal time to ask for a testimonial. Ideally, you ask for testimonials after the customer experiences success with your product or service -- so they're happy with their results and with your working relationship when they sit down to write or film a testimonial.

If you work at a marketing agency, the ideal moment might be after you help your client exceed their goals one month. If you work at a SaaS company, the ideal moment might be after the customer has been using your product for 30 days. Do some investigating with your team and your customer health data to determine what moments signal that a customer is experiencing success before you send your first request.

The end of the quarter or year might be another good opportunity to ask for a testimonial, depending on the types of projects you work on. We've included an end of the year template below that you can use before your customers' holiday out-of-office messages are turned on.

2. Determine if you want to use automation of send requests manually.

Depending on when you determine the best time to send the testimonial request to your customers is, you might find email automation to be a better fit for requesting testimonials from your customers.

For example, if customers are using a free software tool and aren't interacting much with customer support, it might be a better fit to deploy an automated email send when they reach that moment of success with a product.

However, if you're a customer success manager or account manager working with customers closely on a regular basis, it might be better for you to determine when is the optimal time to send the request based on your conversations.

3. Give customers a reason to say yes.

No matter who you are, if you're a human being with an email address, your inbox is probably inundated with messages on any given day. So if you want your valued customers to actually read your email -- let alone submit a testimonial -- you need to give them a reason to say yes.

An easy way to do this is by providing an incentive for submitting a testimonial -- like a gift card of their choosing, or company swag. If that isn't possible for you or your company to do, write out a compelling request email (hint: use one of the templates below) to explain how you will both benefit from their submitting a testimonial to convince them.

4. Provide multimedia options

Give your customers the option to write or film their testimonial for your website.

Personal preference or accessibility might make different methods of submission easier for different customers, so make sure you're enabling customers to give you a glowing testimonial, no matter what the format. 

5. Customize your template.

The templates below can get you started, but make sure you're taking the time to customize them for each customer relationship before pressing 'send.' You've taken the time to build up rapport with them, so make sure the email makes sense within the context of your relationship by customizing it.

Now that you know the best practices, let's dive into different templates you can use to pop the question.

6. Give them a review first.

You might be able to get a review or testimonial form your customer simply by giving them one first. Whether you're reviewing their product on Amazon, their company on Glassdoor, or your point-of-contact on LinkedIn, if you make the first move, your customer might be inclined to give you a reciprocal review in return. If not, they might reach out to say thank you, when you can then ask for one from them, in turn.

7. Ask if they'd be willing to refer someone in their network.

This strategy can lead to a few different results. It might feel more natural in a conversation via phone with your customer to ask if they know any other professionals in their network who might benefit from the work you've done with them. (Ideally, this conversation takes place after helping your customer achieve great results -- use this tips for asking for a referral.)

If your customer says "yes," use the steps in the article above to secure a new customer referral.

If your customer says "no," they don't have a referral they can introduce you to, you can pivot to the testimonial request. "Well, I'd love for more people to learn about the great work we've been doing together. If you don't have anyone to connect me with, would you mind leaving us a review so other people can read about our partnership?"

Whichever outcome, you'll get a positive result that will (hopefully) generate new customers.

To get you started with this process, check out some of our most effective email templates for getting a customer to submit a testimonial.

5 Request for Testimonial Email Templates to Use

1. The End-of-Year Request

2. The Formal Request

3. The Casual Reply

4. The Incentive Offer

5. The Automated Send

To learn more about customer testimonials, read about testimonial questions to ask next.

Customer Service Metrics

 Customer Service Metrics

Originally published Jan 22, 2019 3:55:50 PM, updated January 22 2019

Topics:

Customer Reviews and Testimonials