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, 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.
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.
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.
Examples of Great Customer Testimonial Videos
Testimonial videos sound great in theory, but what does the final product look like once executed on? Here are some examples to inspire you:
This testimonial video from Briotix Health is a great example of a longer form testimonial video.
The first speaker in the video starts off with her pain points. While there's a lot of jargon that could be used to talk about OSHA, workers' comp claims, and health safety, the dialogue presents the problem in a way that's easy to understand.
The video then discusses why they chose Briotix, and it balances out the storytelling aspect with quantitative data to provide concrete proof in addition to the social proof.
What's particularly interesting in this video is that it brings in perspectives from multiple key stakeholders, making it appealing to any one of their buyer personas who may be watching the video.
This testimonial video emphasizes the human element at the beginning. The customer (student) is relatable as she tells her story, and the details she shares are similar to a lot of students' as they navigate higher education. For this reason, her concerns are similar too, which leads into her reason for choosing Coppin State University and the impact that it has. With this in mind, students who see themselves in her story can then visualize the impact for themselves.
The fact that this video is shot in the customer's environment with work being done in the background lends an element of authenticity to the video that other, more scripted testimonials don't have. The customer tells his story and the results Yokel Local was able to achieve, including hard metrics as well as anecdotal information on what those metrics mean for his business.
The customer goes on to provide information to other business owners in his situation, a subtle nod to the audience watching. Perhaps the best touch is how this then leads into the call to action.
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.
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, 59.9% indicated that a video being too long would strongly deter them from watching. 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.
Tips for Getting Customers to Shoot Their Own Testimonial Videos
In the age of remote work and distributed teams, your customers may not be easily accessible enough for you to perform the above steps. Without the formality of a scheduled video shoot and a team to take care of the technical stuff, how do you get customers excited enough to film a testimonial themselves? These tips can help:
1. Check if they have the right equipment.
Not everyone has the right video and audio equipment ready and accessible in their home office. Consider scheduling a video conference meeting to see first-hand what their technical situation is like. If they are unable to meet across video, or if the quality is poor, you can ask them in person what other options they might have access to. This will be a much easier conversation face-to-face than over email.
If they don't have the right equipment, you can either choose another customer or, if it's within your means, provide the equipment for them.
2. Assure them that it's easy.
There's a common adage that goes, "A confused mind says no." If they've never provided a video testimonial before, there's a lot of questions they may have:
What do I say?
How do I set up the camera?
Is the quality okay?
How do I avoid messing this up?
Will it be good enough?
(And on and on...)
The more questions they have in their minds, the less likely they'll follow through without you there to guide them in person. It's up to you to manage their expectations and eliminate any friction that comes up.
3. Back that assurance up with easy-to-follow instructions.
How you manage those expectations is by providing instructions that clarify the process and eliminate any doubt. These instructions should be uncomplicated, even for a digital layperson.
4. Offer to help them through it step-by-step.
If the customer you're asking is still showing doubt, work with them. Start by going through the questions with them over the phone and letting them formulate their answers, essentially getting practice for what they'll be saying on camera. If they have any reservations, you'll be there to help them through it. Then, offer to help them with audio and video setup.
The further along they get in the process, the more likely they'll complete the testimonial, so having a guiding hand increases the likelihood of a successful video testimonial when all is said and done.
5. Encourage them to just tell their story.
They may be overanalyzing exactly what they'll say in the video. Let them know that it's not about saying the right words but telling their story: What problem led them to you, what they were feeling before, what happened when they used your product/service, and what they are feeling now.
6. Follow up.
It's easy for people to agree to something and then let it fall to the wayside as higher priority tasks come up.
7. Explain why their testimonial is important.
In theory, the customer you've chosen is one who is ecstatic with your services. This creates goodwill between you, making them more likely to comply with your ask. However, a nudge in the right direction can't hurt.
Explain exactly why a video testimonial would be important with your business, what you would do with it, and why their voice is absolutely essential in the process.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Oct 22, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated June 15 2021