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Customer testimonials are a very familiar concept for most businesses, and with good reason. There is nothing that gives as much validation, mileage, and goodwill as the affirmation from a loyal customer. More often than not, we always have customer testimonials, and we pay to get customer reviews as well, but are we sure we extract the best possible value out of it? Do we make good use of these reviews and testimonials? How do we ensure we feed customer testimonials at every stage of the funnel?
While demos are the first thing that most customers look for before making a purchase, “review websites are the number two (second) source of collecting information for buyers while considering a product purchase,”says Russ Somers, VP marketing at TrustRadius.
So it makes absolute sense to incorporate reviews into every stage of the buying cycle. Somers takes us through a few steps that can help us nail this process.
Sales cycles and reviews
Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. You have narrowed it down to two solutions. Both of them are similar with regard to their features, but one is cheaper by $10,000.
If your product is the more expensive one, you have two choices in front of you:
- Drop your price (which Russ doesn’t recommend)
- Use the voice of the customer to prove why you’re better than your competitors.
That’s where reviews can make or break a deal. Having a review from a customer is very valuable, since your prospect will be able to relate to your customers, considering they are both looking for similar solutions. “You want a relatable customer story from somebody that is like your prospect. So, you need a library of quotes that are tagged, so you can find what you need,” says Somers.
Lack of trust
Russ then moves on to point out that today, more buyers are increasingly losing their trust in vendors. And who can blame them? They are bombarded by marketing messages, and not all the messages live up to their tall promises. So, what can you do that will convince them that you are not a part of the noise? The best option, is for the voice of your customers to do the talking. Here is where reviews and testimonials play a huge role.
Not only does that make you more viable and trustworthy as a brand, it also shows that you walk the talk when it comes to customer service since they are hearing it from the horse’s mouth!
A great way to incorporate this is on landing pages for paid campaigns. When a user lands on your website, testimonials and reviews can be a key driver in making them sign up. Having testimonials on sign up pages can help you increase conversion by 20-30%.
Another way to use customer testimonials is in retargeting. One can use customer quotes in retargeting prospects from a specific industry or geography. Show them quotes, reviews, and testimonials from users who are similar to them, especially in terms of what they need from the business, their target audience etc.
“Let the customer speak, use that in your sales cycle to overcome objections, and use it in your marketing to create credibility,” says Somers.
Reviews and product development
There are three ways to look at reviews.
- Passive – When your behaviour is closest to denial or indifference, and you are not using any information from the review websites
- Reactive – When you are solely focused on managing the reputation in review websites and nothing else
- Proactive – Feeding the information into sales, marketing, and product management, and taking it into consideration while making your business decisions
Being proactive with reviews helps you in being ‘customer obsessed’ and also helps you build better product roadmaps.
Do you use your customer reviews and testimonials differently? Tell us how in the comments section below!