The other day I was taking a moment to write a review of my stylist on Yelp. And I really took time, thought about why I love my stylist (besides the fact that she makes my hair look super good). I must say, the review is excellent, and not only does it say Carmen is a good stylist, it says WHY Carmen is a good stylist: she is personal, gives a haircut that is tailored for me, no one cuts my hair as expertly as her, I can trust her, she makes sure I’m satisfied and on and on.
I mean, it’s the “perfect testimonial”, giving all the reasons why you would want to go to a hair stylist when there are thousands of them out there.
Testimonials can be utterly priceless for a business, and many times these testimonials and the word of mouth that businesses can inspire with outstanding service are the mainstay of a businesses promotion. Sometimes, an advertisement just can’t give the impact that a well-written testimonial or WOM can, simply because the words are unsolicited. It comes from the customers themselves.
I have had a frustrated kind of love historically with testimonials. At a company that sold enterprise software to Fortune 500 companies (Diskeeper Corporation), I would get excellent testimonials all the time. Yet, I would be unable to use them, because of the “no-endorsement” policies most of these companies would have. Use to really cheese me off–you can’t tell the public that we have a great product and it works really well for you?? Yes. But you use and love our product. Yes. What? I would end up using the testimonials without any name or company attribution, which did help, but did not have the power of having the Fortune 500 company name attached.
When I moved on to another company who gave business consultation to auto repair shop owners (Management Success!), I was in complete heaven. Not only did the auto shop owners LOVE us and how we were able to boost their businesses, but they would literally do anything for me; say anything I wanted in a testimonial (although what came out of their own mouths was always the best), get good pictures taken of themselves, send me tons of pictures of their garages and their staff, let me visit their garages, talk about us in trade magazine articles, pose for odd/funny/silly pictures I needed and more.
So I’ve been in both sides of the spectrum and learned a lot about getting and using testimonials. With the internet, now more than ever, being a user-driven content playing field, I know for sure that you need people talking about you and talking about you positively. Because those users read and listen to it all. And boy, do they love to talk!