3 [Awesome] Ways to Identify Your Biggest Fans & Collect Customer Testimonials

happy customers biggest fans
Remember: Your biggest fans can attract new leads (Image source)

Too often, when marketers think of attracting new leads to their product or service, they forget one of their most powerful tools: happy customers. There is nothing more attractive to leads than seeing happy customers who already use your service or product.

76% of consumers regularly or occasionally use online reviews to determine which businesses to use according to data from Search Engine Land. Even if positive testimonials never make it to the website, they can be invaluable internally to your sales, product marketing and public relations teams. Here’s exactly how to solicit and gather even more testimonials.

1. Identify Happy Customers

Before you send a blanket request to your customer base for reviews on your website, make sure they’re happy first. The last thing you want to do is pass the microphone to customers who aren’t currently delighted with your product or service so they can broadcast their displeasure on your website. That doesn’t mean you want to ignore unhappy customers’ concerns (more on them in a bit), but the goal here is to solicit positive testimonials from people who are genuinely happy with your product or service.

But how can you segment the cheerleaders from the naysayers in your email database? Easy—just follow these steps.

Use a NPS Survey to Segment Customer Satisfaction

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) index measures customer satisfaction on a scale from 0-10 by asking how likely they are to recommend a product or service. That’s it. These scores segment customers into Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8) and Detractors (0-6). Here’s a snippet from an infographic by referral software company Ambassador to visualize NPS.

net promoter score
Click for full-size image

There are countless uses for NPS data, but the goal here is to identify your happiest customers or Promoters.

Ask Around Internally

Another great place to find Promoters outside of an NPS survey is to talk to customer-facing employees within your company (think sales or customer service team members). See if they have any particularly delighted customers who have recently or consistently expressed their pleasure—most tend to have a few bookmarked. Those customers are ripe for testimonials and might be more willing to contribute one if someone they already know from within the company asks them. Make it especially easy for those employees to reach out by writing out an email template to use when they encounter happy customers.

Look to Social Media

Do you have customers who are always engaging online with your content? Retweeting your blog posts and sending you love on Facebook? Or just someone who gave you a one-time shout-out for your product or service? These are the perfect people to solicit for testimonials. After all, they’re already comfortable expressing their delight online. Add these customers to your list of potential Promoters and confirm your instinct with a NPS.

2. Solicit Reviews

Now that you’ve found out who your delighted customers are, it’s time to ask them for testimonials. Here are the best practices for the solicitation phase:

Stagger Your Timing

Know what looks super suspicious? A website with a block of happy customer reviews that are all posted in the same week. From a user-perspective, it just looks fishy to have too many reviews within the same time window. Avoid this bumper crop of positive reviews and stagger the timing of your solicitation emails. Not only does this system look more organic to your users, but it encourages customer delight to be a continued part of your marketing strategy instead of a one-off effort.

Focus Your Campaign

It’s awesome when you have a customer organically tell you how happy they are in general on an online review platform. Thank them immediately! But the most effective testimonials are usually used in tandem with a specific business goal. This goal can be anything from recommending a specific product functionality, hearing from a certain marketing persona, or promoting long-time customer relationships.

That’s why it’s so important in testimonial campaigns to get specific about what you want from the customer. For example, you may have a product review page, a Google+ page and Yahoo! Review page (in fact, we’ve come up with 12 places you should be soliciting reviews). So, where should the customer focus their attention? Recommend one platform per campaign and clarify what that platform is in your email. Decide which on products or services you’re specifically requesting feedback on and single them out in your questions. If you’re looking for a specific type of testimonial, for example statistics, guide the customer with questions that would have those answers. In this case, you might ask what measurable results they have seen with your product or service.

Make It Easy

The last thing you want to do is tap into a delighted customer base, get them excited to leave reviews, then leave them frustrated about not knowing how you want them to do it. Make the review process as easy as possible for your customers by including explicit instructions on exactly how to submit the review. If you want to be extra loveable, see if you can embed the review process within the email itself with Google Forms so they don’t even have to leave the screen.

3. Follow Up

At this point, you’ve spent some blood sweat and tears getting those customer testimonials. But you’ve got them now! All done, right? Before you jet off to your next marketing project, make sure to follow up with all the people you reached out to.

Thank Reviewers

Here are some customers that are already delighted with your product or service and took the extra time out of their busy schedule to write to you about why they are so darn happy. Don’t they deserve a little love? At the very minimum, you should send a thank you email with the appropriate customizations. But don’t stop there! Use this as an opportunity to make marketing people love. Why not thank them by name or handle or feature their stories on your social media channels? Or send them a little company swag? Or offer free tickets to your next event? Remember, the companies that put the customers first are the ones people actually want to be customers of. Remind these customers exactly why they were so delighted with you in the first place and give them a reason to brag about you to all their friends.

Woo Passives

When people ask your customers what they think of your company, do you want them to say “meh”? Didn’t think so. Passives, or people who answered 7-8 on the NPS aren’t actively hating on your company, but they aren’t exactly singing your praises either. Since Passives are on the fence, it’s not too late to convert them to delighted customers. Enlist your customer services team for help in creating a nurturing campaign for Passives to bring them to the light. This campaign can start with a simple question: what could my company do to raise your NPS? You could use tactics you might use for lead nurturing, or the process of wooing qualified leads when they aren’t ready to buy yet. Since Passives are customers who aren’t ready to promote your services yet, the principles are pretty similar. For example, one lead nurturing tactic that translates is sending targeted content about the areas the customer might be having the most trouble in.

Win Over Detractors

Remember how I said not to ignore those people who answered 0-6 on the NPS survey? I meant it! These are customers who would not recommend your product or service if they were asked. Ouch. Good thing you segmented them—these guys are obviously in need of some TLC. Enlist your customer service team to strategize the best way to reach these people. If you don’t have a customer service team, strategize with some of your customer-facing employees–winning over detractors will probably involve direct outreach. If the customer complains publically, here are some tips to de-escalate social media complaints.


Sharing great customer stories should be just as important to your marketing strategy as generating new content. If you’re still hungry for more information on testimonials, here’s a post on accumulating positive online reviews for inspiration.

– Lindsey Kirchoff


About The Author

Photo of Lindsey Kirchoff

Lindsey Kirchoff is a writer at marketing software company HubSpot with an emphasis on external content. When she's not at her dream job writing about inbound marketing, she also discusses millennial/GenY marketing and job hunting on her personal website. Find her on Twitter LindseyKirchoff.
» More blog posts by

Comments

  1. Andy Kuiper says:

    Thanks Lindsey :-)

  2. […] 3 [Awesome] Ways to Identify Your Biggest Fans & Collect Customer Testimonials […]

  3. Suzy Bureau says:

    Loved the article. It’s great that you have mapped out the entire process. Asking for customer testimonials can be a delicate situation.

  4. Thanks for the tip Lindsey.

    Got few things from this article:
    1. Thank someone who’s already gave you testimonial
    2. Ask testimonials from people who already active in our social media
    3. Create a special page on your website, explaining how to create review.
    4. Create a support team for people who got low NPS score.

    Thanks
    Daniel

  5. Joris says:

    Happy customers indeed are the best customers to ask for a testimonial or review. For (e-commerce) websites, reviews & testimonials can increase conversion rate but also inbound traffic! A text based testimonial won’t be able to go viral, but videos are made to share so there’s your chance of spreading the word through video testimonials!

    Our video recording tools can measure if someone viewed a testimonial on Facebook or another site, and eventually ended up at your site. This way you can see the impact of testimonials on your traffic & conversions. So you see if a user viewed a video and comes to your website later to buy something.

  6. […] 3 [Awesome] Ways to Identify Your Biggest Fans & Collect Customer … […]

  7. […] I am a big believer that social media sites are just a set of tools that facilitate word of mouth marketing. Much of this happens away from our pages. Our page likers, our followers etc may recommend our products and services by sharing our content or by becoming more familiar with us and what we do. Of course we can amplify this by collecting good, believable testimonials from our happiest customers.  This post from unbounce looks at how we can approach getting testimonials both on and offline. […]

  8. OK…we all know today’s businesses need reviews.
    However, the customer knows; “We have already paid our “monies”, and this place now wants more???”
    So, in this light, how does a business *legitimately* get reviews?
    In our business we have exhilarated customers, and everyone on-the-day “promises” reviews, but after follow-ups, only about 20% actually post one!
    We are small, [honest], so don’t bribe for reviews, but thus, get left in-the-dust from larger co-orps who…(???)
    …How do you get more reviews?

  9. […] 3 [Awesome] Ways to Identify Your Biggest Fans & Collect Customer Testimonials | Unbounce […]

  10. Craig Moore says:

    Hi Lindsey, really enjoyed the article. At Popdeem we’ve taken the core concept of your article and are empowering businesses to target their best and most influential customers through deep analytical tracking of their customers who use the Popdeem app to share their brand stories. Businesses now have a powerful tool to reward these customers and turn them into brand advocates which benefits both the consumer and the business. Check out the website http://www.popdeem.com to find out more about what we do here. We’re currently in private beta testing so any feedback on we’ve put together is highly valuable to us. Thanks

  11. Nick Steeves says:

    Great post Lindsey!

    I’d like to add one extra way to collect customer testimonials: Facebook Essay Contests.

    Run an essay contest on Facebook that asks people to write a review of your business or products to enter to win a prize. This incentive will drive a ton of new testimonials, spread the testimonials to entrants friends on Facebook, and make your customers feel like they’re listened to.

    Check out my recent article – How to Run a Facebook Contest – for more information on how to engage your community using contests on Facebook: http://wshe.es/115UJti

  12. Ryan says:

    I’ve been looking for some good articles and advice for collecting testimonials. Great suggestion about staggering your review / testimonial time. I also think providing a little incentive to your customers for taking the time is a good strategy. Even something simple like giving away a small gift card here and there.

    I’ve actually been working on a product to help improve my video testimonial collection process. http://www.postkudos.com – idea is to have them submit via video or a web form. We’ll see how it goes, but video testimonials have helped me a ton in getting more business over the years. I’m a huge fan versus just text which sometimes appear fishy or possibly fake.

  13. […] Bron: http://unbounce.com/online-marketing/collect-customer-testimonials/?utm_source=feedly […]

  14. Mindy Chan says:

    My wife’s company always encourages employees to be the customers. Collecting testimionials from internal customers is more straightforward. Speaking of making it easy, we have been working on a mobile web application that allows customers to upload photo, video, audio, as well as text. The multimedia testimonial is authentic, easy to capture, fun, and prone to sharing on social media. Check out the video on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UAKeFP03Zg