Best Practices for Collecting Customer Reviews and Testimonials

12 Keys To Reviews and Testimonials

Customer reviews and testimonials are precious for building trust and credibility with potential customers. Research shows over 90% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing. This article outlines best practices for systematically collecting genuine customer reviews and testimonials based on insights from Arttu Haho, Product Manager of review management software Trustmary.

Ask for Feedback First

Instead of immediately asking for a review, first ask customers for general feedback about their experience. This allows them to provide open-ended input before crafting it into a polished review. You're also more likely to get detailed responses since customers don't feel pressured to leave a formal review immediately.

Once customers provide initial feedback, ask if they will publish it as a review on your website or social media. This two-step approach results in higher quality reviews than a single-step request.

The Trustmary interface shows review moderation tools that allow businesses to manage which reviews are displayed publicly.
Trustmary's online reputation management software provides moderation tools to curate reviews and control what's shown publicly. Trustmary is a software platform that helps businesses collect, manage, and display customer reviews and testimonials on their website to build credibility and trust. Some best practices for collecting authentic customer reviews include asking for feedback immediately after a positive experience, personalizing review requests, being transparent about how reviews will be used, and avoiding unethical practices like fabricating testimonials.

Follow Up at the Right Time

Timing is critical when requesting reviews. According to Haho, the best time is right after a purchase or service completion, when the experience is still fresh in the customer's mind.

However, the optimal follow-up time can vary for different businesses. For example, asking a SaaS customer for feedback right after signup may be too soon since they haven't fully experienced the product yet. In this case, wait 2-4 weeks before requesting a review.

Set up automated email reminders at appropriate intervals to continuously collect customer reviews at different stages.

Personalize Review Requests

Personalized outreach often yields better results than mass emails. Consider reaching out to your best customers individually to request reviews, suggests Haho. The personal touch strengthens relationships while increasing the chances of securing positive testimonials.

When sending review requests, customize the messaging and highlight specific aspects of the customer's experience that you'd like them to focus on in their review.

Incentivize with Discounts

Providing incentives can motivate customers to leave reviews. For example, you could offer a coupon code or percentage discount that unlocks after submitting a review. However, you should disclose incentives clearly and ensure customers still provide authentic feedback.

Collect Both Text and Video

Both text and video reviews have unique benefits. Text reviews are more accessible to collect at scale, while video reviews convey authenticity through visual and vocal cues. Aim to gather a healthy mix of both text and video testimonials.

When requesting video reviews specifically, first collect text feedback, then follow up by asking if the customer can recreate it as a quick video testimonial.

Curate a Diverse Set of Reviews

A diverse mix of customer reviews and testimonials is more compelling than a homogeneous set. Pull together reviews from different demographics, geographies, company sizes, and roles.

This showcases how your product or service benefits many customers across use cases. It also makes it easier for prospects to relate to the reviews.

Respond to Negative Reviews

Don't ignore or delete negative reviews. Instead, publicly respond by apologizing, addressing the issue professionally, and outlining how you'll improve based on the feedback. This demonstrates responsiveness and strengthens trust in your brand.

Refresh Reviews Continuously

Refresh your collection of reviews regularly rather than relying on old testimonials. Haho recommends maintaining a balance of new and older reviews to convey longevity.

Set a goal for collecting a minimum number of new reviews each month. This will ensure that your customers' experiences are up-to-date.

Check Reviews for Authenticity

Scrutinize reviews before publishing them to guard against fake or paid reviews. Look for telltale signs, such as overly generic language or details unrelated to your products or services. If in doubt, verify the review directly with the customer.

Maintaining review authenticity is critical for establishing trust and credibility with your audience.

Show Reviews Prominently

Once you've gathered great reviews, prominently showcase them on your website, product pages, blog posts, and other marketing materials. Display a rotating mix of text, photo, video, and audio reviews.

Place testimonials strategically next to calls to action. Customer endorsements provide social proof and nudge prospects closer to converting.

Track Review Performance

Leverage analytics to track review performance. Monitor metrics like testimonial views, clicks, and CTR. Use A/B testing to experiment with review content, formats, and placement.

This data reveals how your testimonials resonate and guide you in optimizing their impact further.

Comply with Legal Guidelines

Follow FTC guidelines when using customer testimonials. Disclose any material connections, ensure reviews represent honest experiences, and obtain customer consent before publishing their feedback.

This protects your business legally while preserving the authenticity essential for reviews to boost conversions.

According to Neil Patel, "Reviews and testimonials work a lot like word of mouth. Slick visuals and sales materials may not entirely convince you. However, a positive comment or recommendation from someone you trust may be all you need to make a decision to buy."

Conclusion: The Power of Customer Reviews

Customer reviews and testimonials provide immense value for businesses looking to build credibility and trust with potential customers. As the article outlines, there are several best practices for systematically collecting genuine customer feedback:

  • Ask for general feedback before directly requesting a review. This two-step approach tends to yield higher-quality reviews than a single direct request.
  • Time your review requests appropriately. The optimal timing varies by business but is often right after a positive customer experience while it's still fresh in their mind.
  • Personalize outreach for the best customers instead of mass emails. The personal touch strengthens relationships and increases positive feedback.
  • Incentivize with discounts, but disclose them to maintain authenticity.
  • Collect both text and video reviews to convey authenticity in different formats.
  • Curate a diverse set of customer reviews and testimonials to showcase broad appeal.
  • Respond professionally to negative reviews to demonstrate responsiveness.
  • Continuously refresh your collection of reviews to keep experiences current.
  • Scrutinize reviews for authenticity before publishing to avoid fake reviews.

Maintaining genuine and current customer reviews is invaluable for establishing credibility and driving conversions. By implementing a systematic process, businesses can collect powerful customer testimonials to highlight on their website and marketing materials.

As review expert Arttu Haho emphasized, customer reviews are not a “nice to have” but a competitive necessity in today's marketplace. A thoughtful strategy for collecting and showcasing authentic customer feedback will become vital to your marketing and sales process.

View Featured Trustmary Podcast: Trustmary Product Manager Arttu Haho joins host Michael Bernzweig to discuss their customer review platform. Haho provides background on Trustmary and demonstrates key capabilities like collecting Google reviews, importing existing reviews, creating review widgets, and A/B testing review placement to boost conversions. He positions Trustmary as an easy, consolidated solution to systematically collect and leverage customer reviews for trust-building across industries.

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