We’re brilliant! So says us…
We’re bound to say that, aren’t we? Our opinion of the work we deliver is always going to be biased.
Therefore, social proof and third-party testimonies should be your focus, because these will give your customers a much better idea of the quality of work you deliver. It’s common sense and the reason why, as consumers, we rush to sites such as TripAdvisor and Trustpilot for real people’s feedback on a business.
Research shows that 97% of people feel content that recommends a company (or not) is more convincing when it’s user-generated.
Lots of smaller companies, however, overlook or forget the power of customer case studies, reviews and recommendations. They spend a lot of time and money on advertisements and promotional activity, then forget that their greatest asset is already sitting there. That’s not to say you should only focus on gathering the thoughts of your present and past customers, with no thought to reaching new audiences, but there should definitely be a healthy mix of the two.
Despite best intentions, some companies in technical sectors, for example, try to describe the work they do and the services they offer, but they do this in their language and through their eyes. In fairness, it’s sometimes difficult to see any business through the eyes of someone who has no idea what it does if they work within that same business 40+ hours each week. Case studies and customers’ first-hand accounts of their interaction with your business are unlikely to contain industry jargon or terms that are unfamiliar with the wider public; they will simply describe the problem the customer had and how the company in question eradicated it.
There is the consideration, though, that not every ‘independent review’ is unbiased; some people giving feedback could have ulterior motives. For example, there have been times when competitors of a business have presented themselves as customers of their rivals and given unjustified poor reviews to try and inflict reputational damage. It happens.
All that said, if you’ve met your customers’ expectations—particularly so if you’ve exceeded them—there’s no reason why they wouldn’t recommend you to others and give you a good ‘report’. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for feedback because you fear getting a negative response. Even if there were aspects of their experience they weren’t overly keen on, wouldn’t you rather know about these things so that you can rectify them for future clients? Typically, customers, if they’ve agreed to be interviewed, will be complimentary about you.
You can gather clients’ case studies via a questionnaire or by video interview. With the latter, try and give your client the freedom to describe their experience. If it’s obvious that you’re steering the conversation with loaded and leading questions, this will reduce the credibility of your clients’ responses.
How the feedback is presented is important. For instance, a case study is typically linear in nature and should be like a mini-story; it needs to first outline the problem the customer had that made them approach your business. Then it needs to describe the solution, and why this approach was thought to be the best course of action to help the client in question. It’s important to show the value/impact this help had, and if you have any evidence or statistics that back up your claims, this will strengthen the case study.
Testimonials are typically shorter in stature and they may centre only on what the customer thinks of your business rather than all the detail surrounding their particular order/experience. Video feedback is very powerful, as people can easily gauge whether the participant is being honest through their body language; however, not all your clients will like the idea of being filmed!
If including quotes from longer-form feedback that your clients have left you, resist the temptation to paraphrase what they said or to reword it in any way. Not only do you risk upsetting the person who gave you the testimonial, if the original quote can be found/viewed in your marketing collateral, you could demolish your credibility and be accused of putting words in their mouth.
In summary, we could tell you of all the fantastic things we do, but it doesn’t mean much coming from us; it needs to come straight from the horse’s mouth. See what our clients think of us…scroll down to the bottom of this page.