You love your company. You stand by the products or services you sell. You think your employees (including yours truly) are hardworking, compassionate, and intelligent. Truly, you can't see why someone wouldn't want to whip out their credit card immediately upon interacting with your company.

But the problem is customers don't trust customer service reps. It's tough to say, but customers trust other customers much more than they trust the word of a company. According to BrightLocal, 73% of customers trust a business more after reading positive reviews.

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Well, according to a Forrester study by James L. McQuivey, a video is worth 1.8 million words per minute. So, it makes sense that companies are changing lanes from written customer testimonials to customer testimonial videos.

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Why Customer Testimonial Videos?

You might be wondering, "Okay, so video is effective. But, should I really be investing resources into some customer testimonial videos?" It can seem like a daunting task. It's not as simple as a quickly-typed review.

However, videos make a huge difference. Think about it. How many times have you read through Yelp reviews on a company before going? And how many of those reviews were slightly vague, unhelpful, or were written by people who were either anonymous or didn't seem reliable?

Customer testimonial videos are more in-depth than written reviews. They include real-life customers that other consumers can actually see, hear, and trust. Videos are high-quality, scripted, and edited versus a written review that may be misspelled or completely out of your control. While customer testimonial videos are still the honest feedback of your customers, you can filter out the customers who have had negative experiences and ask for volunteers from the (hopefully larger) pool of customers who want to share their genuinely positive experiences.

It can be nerve-wracking asking a customer to volunteer for a testimonial video. Just follow the steps below, and you'll crush the ask.

How to Ask Your Customers for a Testimonial

1. Don't ask too early.

The last thing you want is to ask a brand-new customer and scare them off. Your candidates for the testimonial should have stuck around with your business for at least a few months, preferably longer. The longer they've been working with your company, the more loyal they'll feel and the more they'll have to speak about.

2. Wait until they've given you positive feedback.

When asking for customer testimonials, you shouldn't be sending a mass email to your entire customer base. This is your opportunity to reach out to the customers who specifically love your company. These are customers who have previously given you positive feedback on multiple occasions and seem like they'd be interested in delving deeper into their testimonials.

3. Ask over email.

When you've finally narrowed down to your best options, craft them an email. It's tempting to call so you can grab their attention directly. However, speaking to them on the phone will put them on the spot and make them feel nervous to say no. As much as you want to hear back immediately, your number one priority is to make them feel comfortable and respect their wishes. Give them the time they need to consider your offer and get back to you via email.

4. Offer all the details.

Start off by thanking them for their feedback in the past, and give a brief explanation of how you have begun implementing their feedback. Then, lead to the ask. Let them know you're interested in hearing more from them via an in-person customer testimonial. They should be made aware that the video will be released for other prospects and customers to watch and that there's no pressure either way. No matter what, their role as a customer is more important than their participation in the video.

5. Don't offer an incentive in return.

Offering an incentive in exchange for a testimonial is a big no. That is considered bribery and will influence their testimonial. You don't want their feedback to be biased. Although you are reaching out to loyal, happy customers, in particular, you still want to respect their past experiences -- the good and the bad -- and the experiences of interested prospects.

What Questions to Ask

Often, your customers have glowing things to say about your company but are stuck thinking about it in the same cut-and-dry way. So, when asking questions, you want to probe your customers in the right direction. It's not making them biased; instead, it's helping them consider your company from several angles.

6. What problems were you trying to solve with our product or service?

This will outline the many functions of your product or service, as well as perk the attention of other prospects with similar problems.

7. What made our product or service stand out from other options?

This will show prospects what makes your product or service special and why they should choose yours over those of competitors.

8. What has made you the happiest about working with our company?

If the customer has stuck around for this long, then something(s) must be making them happy! Use this question to get them excitedly talking about what they love about your company, which will show off your awesome culture to prospects.

For more options to make the most of your interviews, read this post on testimonial questions.

How to Shoot the Best Testimonial Video

9. Create and send questions in advance.

You shouldn't be making up questions on the spot. That will make the video seem messy, and it can put interviewees in an awkward position if they can't immediately come up with a response.

As soon as you've chosen your interviewee, craft some quality questions -- like the ones listed above -- and email them over. You should be giving your interviewees at least a few days notice with the questions. It will benefit your testimonial video more if your customer has had the opportunity to prepare and practice before facing the camera.

10. Choose the perfect scene and angle.

In the days or weeks leading up to the recording, you should be considering the many options you have for the setting. Do you want it indoors or outdoors? At the office or at another location in your city? Or even in their home? And what time of day seems best?

As with any video, lighting is key. If possible, you should test out each setting you're considering in advance to see how it would appear on camera. Their face should be clearly visible, and their voice should carry well -- that means, maybe don't choose a playground or noisy bar for your setting. Again, once you've decided on the time and location, email the interviewee the details immediately.

11. Make the interviewee feel as comfortable as possible.

Your customer is doing you a huge favor by agreeing to be in a testimonial video. In return, you should be doing everything you can to calm their nerves. Bring them some water and snacks in case the filming takes longer than expected. Try to meet them before heading out, so they don't get lost, or film somewhere convenient for them.

Make it clear to them that they can look natural. They don't need to wear a formal outfit or have intense hair and makeup. All that matters is that they show up, and you should always be thanking them for that.

12. Let the camera roll.

You never know what the camera might catch unexpectedly that turns out to be some great footage for your video. Let the camera roll for the duration of the interview. This will help ease the customer, as they'll start to forget the camera is on them. In addition, they'll feel comfortable knowing that anytime they slip up or make a mistake, it can be easily edited out.

Some of the best moments in a testimonial video are those tidbits and laughs between questions. This brings out the humanity in your interview and reiterates that the interviewee is a real, honest customer. For more ways to master the video, check this post on tips to enhance video production quality.

13. Edit, edit, edit.

As good as the content of your video may be, it can get lost if the quality is poor. So, you'll want to do a good amount of post-production editing. If you let the camera roll throughout the interview, you will have to go in and do a lot of content editing. Edit out any parts of the video that are repetitive, unnecessary, incorrect, or bloopers. While a testimonial video can be a bit humorous at times, the goal is for it to be a clean-cut customer interview and not a hit comedy film.

In the end, you want to have a video that is high-quality, straightforward, genuine, and as short as possible. According to Animoto, 73.8% of survey respondents said the ideal customer testimonial video is under 60 seconds. Yikes. That means, ask your customers all the questions you prepared, but limit the final cut to the two to four best responses they gave. Quality over quantity really matters in this case.

14. Market the video on several platforms.

As soon as your video is ready for posting, send it out to the customer for a final review. They should be comfortable with their testimonial before it gets sent out. This will garner their trust, once again. The best free marketing you can get from this testimonial is from the interviewee's own personal sharing.

Publish it on your social media pages, as videos are common and popular on these channels nowadays. You can post the entire video on Facebook and a shorter clip of it on Instagram and Twitter with a link to view the full version. Consider sending it out in your email newsletter to subscribers, and uploading it to your company's website, as done in these testimonial page examples. The more opportunities there are for prospects to view the video, the better it is for your business.

For more information, check out this post on using testimonials for lead generation.

customer reviews

 customer reviews

Originally published Jul 31, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated July 31 2018


Customer Reviews and Testimonials