By: Heather Larson
Nielsen research reveals that 92 percent of people trust a recommendation from a family or friend and 70 percent trust an endorsement from a stranger. That’s a good enough reason to have customer testimonials on your website. Although the word “testimonials” is used synonymously with online reviews, they aren’t the same. Testimonials, by definition, are always positive. Merriam-Webster defines a testimonial as “a statement testifying to benefits received.” Reviews can either be positive or negative.
So, how do you get these treasures that will turn potential customers into clients?
You simply ask for them. At the end of a tour, when everything that’s happened is still fresh in your guests’ minds, give them a short form to fill out asking a few key questions designed to get the best response. Don’t wait until sometime in the future when they’ve forgotten half of the adventures they had and are busy at home with other tasks.
Questions might include:
- Why would you recommend our tours to someone else?
- If you recommended our company to someone, what would you say?
- What surprised you the most about our service?
- What was your favorite part of this trip, and why?
Most people love to give their opinions. To get even more responses, you can offer an incentive. For example, a discount on their next trip, a $5 gift card, or send them a handwritten thank-you note. To do that, you need to capture their name, address, and email address on the form.
Make sure the testimonial writers know you may use their words on your site or in other marketing materials. You may want to contact your legal adviser to find out the best way to get these permissions.
When you’ve collected these testimonials, you only need to post the best ones to your site. Including the writer’s full name and location, such as “John Appleseed, Mirror Lake, Oregon,” boosts the credibility more than using only initials.
Take the shining approvals you’ve chosen and showcase them boldly on your website. Never bury them at the bottom in a tiny font. This is someone else—not you—bragging about your company and its service, so shout it confidently.
Heather Larson writes about a variety of business issues from her office in Tacoma, Wash.