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.
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.
Determine if you want to use automation or send requests manually.
Give customers a reason to say yes.
Provide multiple options to make it easy for them.
Pose simple questions that yield nice customer quotes.
Give them a review first.
Ask if they'd be willing to refer someone in their network.
Customize your template.
1. Get the timing right.
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 or 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 multiple options to make it easy for them.
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. Pose simple questions that yield nice customer quotes.
What your customers say can impact the effectiveness of the testimonial on your prospects. By posing questions, you're challenging your customer to get closer to the heart of why they're satisfied with your service. In doing so, their testimonial is much more likely to resonate with prospects who may "see themselves" in the review.
Open-ended questions work best so that you can avoid one-word responses. Choose questions that not only reflect on their sentiments about working with you but also draw out their story: the pain that led them to search for a solution, what made them choose you as a provider, what they hoped to gain, and what their experience was like along the way. Click here for an example.
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.
8. 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.
To get you started with this process, check out some of our most effective email templates for getting a customer to submit a testimonial.
Request for Testimonial Email Templates to Use
1. The End-of-Year Request
As this year winds down, I wanted to say thank you for your partnership using [PRODUCT] this year. You've achieved fantastic results in the time we've been working together, so I wanted to reach out to see if you'd be interested in sharing a testimonial about your experience using [PRODUCT]. You can click this link to share some of your thoughts that we might feature on our website.
Thanks for your consideration of my request, and thanks for being a loyal [COMPANY] customer. I hope you have a warm and happy holiday season with family and friends, and I'm looking forward to chatting again in the new year!
2. The Formal Request
Thanks for being a loyal [COMPANY] customer
I wanted to reach out to thank you for being a loyal [COMPANY] customer. I noticed you achieved your goal of [MILESTONE] last month, and I wanted to reach out and congratulate you on your success! It's been great working with you on this project.
We want to share customer success stories with [PRODUCT/SERVICE] on our website, and I was wondering if you'd be interested in being featured in a testimonial. You can follow this link to submit a written or video testimonial now, and as a token of thanks, I'll send you a gift card for a cup of coffee, on [COMPANY].
Congratulations again on reaching your goal, and thanks for your partnership! Let me know if you have any questions about submitting a testimonial.
3. The Casual Reply
RE: May results
You crushed it this month! You worked hard on [PROJECT], and the numbers definitely reflect that.
Now that we've hit out goal, would you be interested in submitting a testimonial about your experience using [PRODUCT/SERVICE]? You can submit a short written or video testimonial here talking about how we helped you achieve your goals.
Let me know if you have any questions, and congrats again!
4. The Incentive Offer
Your Feedback Is Appreciated
As a gift this holiday season, [COMPANY] is offering a 50% discount on your January [PRODUCT/SERVICE] subscription.
All you have to do is submit a written or video testimonial about why you love using [PRODUCT] here.
It shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes, and your discount will be applied as soon as you submit your testimonial. Let me know if you have any questions about this promotion!
5. The Automated Send
Tell us what you think
We hope you're enjoying using [PRODUCT/SERVICE].
Now that you've had a few weeks to try the product, we'd love to know what you think. You can click this link to share some of your thoughts about using [PRODUCT] that we might feature on our website.
Your feedback means a lot to us! Thanks for being a loyal [COMPANY] customer.
6. The Quote Capture
Re: Share your experience?
It was a pleasure talking with you earlier today, and we're so glad that we're exceeding your expectations. As I mentioned earlier, you can share your thoughts about the experience here.
We get that leaving reviews can be difficult, so if you need to beat writer's block, here is some inspiration as you tell your story:
What was life like before [PRODUCT/SERVICE]? What pains were you experiencing?
What made you choose [COMPANY]?
How has this made a difference in your business/life?
What has surprised you most about the experience?
Your feedback means a lot to us!
Marketing can't do all the heavy lifting alone. Social proof in the form of testimonials and word of mouth referrals are invaluable to your company's growth. You have an opportunity to tap into your existing customer base and turn them into evangelists.
In the beginning, this comes down to knowing when to make the ask. However, as your brand grows, you'll want to consider building a customer referral strategy that fuels your flywheel.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Sep 9, 2020 8:32:00 AM, updated January 25 2021