There's no way around it, customer testimonials are simply essential to the sales and marketing process.
Who else is more believable in talking to your prospects about the benefits of your service or product more than the actual people using them?
There's a lot that goes into the creation of a successful customer testimonial video. But a lot of people don't think about what happens before the cameras start rolling.
You have to secure the cooperation of some of your happy customers in order to get the ball rolling and create a stellar testimonial portfolio.
But asking a customer for a testimonial can be a nerve-wracking process.
After all, these are your customers, the lifeblood of your entire business.
Retaining these existing buyers is one of the backbones of profitability. It is up to seven times more expensive to bring in new customers than to hold onto existing ones.
That's why you don't want to push too hard or pester your customers.
They've paid their money and deserve the ability to enjoy the services that they've purchased.
However, there are a number of tips and tricks that you can employ in order to delicately approach the customer testimonial video process. In a way that is neither demanding or irritating.
Here are some of the top ways to ask your customers for a testimonial video.
Make it Easy for Them to Say Yes
Above all, make it easy for your customer to say "yes". This means pre-addressing any of the potential questions they might have even in your initial ask.
Two questions a customer will always have is 1) What's the time commitment required of me? and 2) Will I see the questions ahead of time? and 3) Will I have a chance for me/my team to review and approve this before it's published?
If you can address both of theses questions in your initial ask, it's much easier for customers to agree. So what does this look like in practice?
Here's an example email you might send to a customer:
So glad to hear about the success you and the team have been having to date. I'm glad you're pleased with the implementation thus far! Your product feedback has also been invaluable.
In fact, I wanted to ask you—would you be open to sharing your experience in a quick video testimonial? We're very interested to highlight your use case as an example of best practices.
All it would require from you is a 30 minute virtual meeting where we'd capture the video, we'd send all the questions ahead of time to OK with you, and we'd review everything with you prior to publishing.
No big deal either way, but is that something you'd be open to? Again, the time commitment on your end would be no more than 30 minutes.
If you're open to that, I'd greatly appreciate it. And either way, please let me know!
The above email is just a starting point—feel free to modify as needed. Also keep in mind, you may need to follow up 2-3 times to get a response, and that is fine. Since you're effectively keeping it very casual, keep the follow ups casual as well.
Example Follow Up:
Wanted to circle back about this. Would you be open to sharing a quick video testimonial? We're talking about 30 minutes of your time tops, and you could review everything prior.
No big deal either way, but please let me know!
The Principles at Play
However you ask the customer, make sure to:
- Keep it casual
- Be clear on their time commitment
- Assuage any concerns, let them know they will be able to review and approve it.
Additional questions will likely come up from them, but the goal of this first email is simply to get that first response that will start the conversation. Once you get them receptive to the idea and pre-address their main questions, you should have no problem ironing out the finer details.
Ask For Customer Testimonials At Various Stages
In order to give a detailed testimonial, the customer has to be happy with the service you've provided.
This seems like a silly thing to point out. But when asking for customer testimonial videos, you have to remember that the customer's willingness to give such a review is determined by the value they've seen from your service.
Before asking a customer for a testimonial, take a look at their track record.
Are they getting what you promised?
If they are, then your job is much easier. If they're not, go back to the drawing board, help the customer achieve success, and then ask them.
One tactic for obtaining a testimonial is to ask your customers immediately following the rendering of services.
Just know that these testimonials will be more general in nature. They'll feature a lot more discussion on what it's like to work with the company and how responsive you are.
A better approach to requesting a testimonial would be to wait until they've started to see the value or a return on their investment.
When positive results occur, the customer is excited at the progress they are seeing. This makes for a great testimonial interview packed with energy and passion.
When seeking testimonials, you will want to include voices from all throughout the customer journey.
The customer journey is the path that your customers take. From mere prospects who have just gained an awareness of your service, to full-fledged buyers who renew.
That's why it's important to have touchpoints in place which dictate when you reach out to customers to ask for testimonials.
Asking at key milestones help you to breach the subject. For example, you could ask:
- At the end of the first month
- Around six months
- At one year
- When they renew
Gather customers at various stages of business with you and from different segments of your audience. Then you'll have a truly diverse and complete testimonial portfolio.
Incentivize Customer Testimonials
When you think about asking customers to film a testimonial video, it can seem daunting. Filming a video is more of a time commitment and some customers might be camera shy.
It's far easier to get customers to write a testimonial than it is to get them to film a video.
But don't chicken out. Video is far more effective than text-based testimonials.
In fact, prospects who get information from a video typically retain up to 95% of what they hear. Whereas gathering information from text leads to a retention rate of only 10%.
When it comes to B2B prospects, more than 59% of corporate executives prefer video content as it fits better in their busy schedules.
It is also much easier for prospects to connect with the testifying customer if they can see their face and hear their story.
Not only does it establish more trust and an emotional connection with the customer, but it ensures that you didn't just make the whole thing up as a sales tactic.
Remember, customers don't trust companies as easily anymore.
That's all thanks to the constant ad overload that we experience on a day to day basis. In order for a testimonial to be at its most effective, prospects need to be able to see the customer's face and hear their voice.
Many customers will agree to write customer testimonials for you. But if you want them to go the extra mile to create a video, it helps to incentivize the process.
Offer your customer a free service upgrade or something similar with monetary value in exchange for the video.
Customers are more willing to give up their time and overcome their personal fears when they're getting something out of the deal.
When strategizing, try to aim for incentives that have no marginal cost. This way you're not losing money on the creation of your testimonials.
Get Feedback, Make Improvements
As we mentioned before, a customer should only give a testimonial if they are happy with your service.
So when a customer refuses, there might be a reason behind it. If a customer does not agree to give a testimonial, ask them for feedback on the service.
All too often you'll find out that there is some unreported issue that the customer is having. Once you're aware of the customer's issue, work diligently on resolving it.
After all has been made right, ask them if they are happy with the results. If they are, avoid immediately seizing the opportunity to ask them for a testimonial again.
This would seem disingenuous and as though the only reason you even addressed the issue was to secure their cooperation.
Two weeks to a month later it should be safe to ask if they'd like to provide a testimonial. If they say yes, you're in an even better situation than you would have been in had they agreed in the first place.
Now there's a new level added to the testimonial in question.
This customer can now provide feedback on your responsiveness to issues and the company's ability to solve problems quickly.
They can point out how you went above and beyond for them in their hour of need. This would speak volumes to prospects, given the weight put on customer service interactions throughout the business world.
Build Up to Asking For Customer Testimonials
If you're worried about asking some of your larger clients for a testimonial video, you aren't alone.
And thankfully, you don't have to be direct and ask up front to receive a testimonial video. Sometimes that's not the right way to go, given the temperament of your specific customers.
Asking them for a video can put customers on the spot and make them uncomfortable. Ideally, the acquisition process should be a no pressure situation and you can ask for a testimonial without having to bombard them.
First, ask the customer how things have been going for them since the last time you've spoken. Review any results with them and take careful note of what they are saying.
When they're done, summarize with them what you were just told. Go over all of the ways that they just told you they are happy with your service and make sure that you've got the whole story right.
Then, ask them casually if they'd be willing to talk about this on camera.
Sometimes it's easier to make the request after the customer has already preached your praises in private. It's a far easier transition than coming right out and asking for a testimonial with no warm-up conversation.
This tactic also makes it easier for you to determine if there's some kind of a problem with your service.
It's better to find out up front and work to resolve it immediately before asking an unhappy customer to praise you on camera.
Remember, your customers are incredibly important and above all else, you want to maintain their business. To that end, don't irritate or annoy your customers in pursuit of a customer testimonials.
A good rule of thumb is to never even slightly jeopardize their continued patronage. If you received a "maybe" from them, make sure you always follow up politely. A nice gentle touch conversation via email would be ideal.
If you don't receive an answer to that email, give up and don't bring it up again without some kind of triggering event. If in the future the customer has some kind of great success in working with you, feel free to ask again one more time.
Write Effective Emails
One of the easiest ways to ask for a customer testimonial video is via email. But you still have to make sure that you're asking in the right way.
First off, always be professional in your email correspondence. This is true whether you're asking for a video testimonial or touching base about anything at all.
This is especially important when you're dealing with B2B clients, as they expect a certain level of professionalism from the companies that they do business with.
If your relationship with the customer is more casual in nature, make that the tone, but only if you're sure that it won't negatively impact your standing.
It might also help to send the request in the form of an email from a supervisor, manager, or CEO.
These requests are super effective and can even come from a form email that you just add some personalized details into. Working professionals receive a ton of emails every day, so in order to make sure they're clicking on your correspondence, you have to add that personal touch.
These requests are always best undertaken after a customer has already given you a compliment.
Hearing about how happy your customer is can be a tremendous opportunity to secure a commitment for a testimonial.
If you're reaching out via email following new customer onboarding, make sure that you tell them how great it was working with them and how excited you are for your future business relationship.
Take this opportunity to ask for any feedback the customer might have.
When they give good feedback, ask for a testimonial in a follow up "thank you" email.
If you're incentivizing your testimonials, create a form email that can be shared with your existing customers. But the trick is not to send it out like a form email.
Add personalization elements so that the customer won't instantly toss it away as just one of the many promotional emails they receive on a daily basis. If you have a large customer base, an automated AI system can do this for you.
Building an impressive stack of customer testimonials can be a huge feather in the cap of any marketing team. But to get them, you first have to ask for them.
Utilize these tips and ensure that you'll be able to get your customers to agree to a testimonial in a way that does not threaten their continued business.