Testimonials Blueprint for Your Service Business

Written By PhilG

Bradford Marketing Hub contains articles and information that help small and medium service businesses.

Few people know how to write a useful testimonial. Customers are most likely to say they like you or that you’re a great person.

However, as with case studies, what prospective customers need from a testimonial is reassurance that if they give you their money, you’ll deliver the service, and therefore the results, they want.

The best testimonials include specific information and verifiable facts.

Example of a well-meaning but ineffective testimonial…

“Jim’s a great guy, we use him all the time”

– Harry B.

Here’s an example of a testimonial that will benefit prospective customers.

Jim brings in profitable customers.

We use Jim for all our SEO work. He helps us select attainable, money making keywords, ghost writes the articles, and thinks up effective call to action text. 

And, the Google Analytics he installed on our website enables us to track our most profitable webpages. 

When our analytics suggested we’d won our three biggest new clients via pages Jim wrote for us, I asked those clients in person. They said they found us via Google, liked what they read and so contacted us. The pages they found via Google were written by Jim.

If you need more customers, contact Jim, (unless you’re one of our competitors, in which case, please don’t 😉 

Testimonials headshot.

– Hellen Carter: CFO at Carter Construction.

What’s good about the second testimonial?

It starts with a big benefit that appeals to customers. “Jim brings in profitable customers.”

Then, it mentions a couple of specific tasks that Jim completed for this customer. So, if you need similar work doing, you know you’re in the right place.

Next, the testimonial provides evidence via their website analytics, and by asking customers in person, that Jim’s work yielded results.

Finally, they say “if you need more customers, contact Jim.” 

And to add credibility, the testimonial giver includes their photo, name, job title, and the business they work for.

Few customers write such effective testimonials.

Left to their own devices, many customers will write ineffective testimonials.

So, how do you get useful testimonials?

Help customers write good testimonials.

Prospective customers reading your testimonials are looking for information that will help them make an informed buying decision.

They want to know…

  • Is the testimonial written by someone like me?
  • Is the testimonial about the job I need doing?
  • Was the customer happy with how the work turned out?
  • Can the customer provide any facts and figures or statistics that verify the claims they make in this testimonial? Can they show evidence the business did a good job and delivered the results the customer wanted? We’re looking for money saved, extra profits made, or feel good factors.
  • Did the work have a positive impact on the customer’s personal, family, or business life? Did the work improve the customer’s quality of life in any way?
  • Does the customer recommend that others in their situation use this business? 
  • Who wrote this testimonial? Is there a photo, and what’s their name, job title, business name, industry, etc.

Provide a fill in the blanks template for your customers to use.

When you’ve finished a job and you think a customer might be willing to provide a testimonial, send them an email listing the information you’d like the testimonial to include.

Tell the customer not to worry about writing the full testimonial, say you’ll help them write it. Say, to begin with, we’ll simply gather a few key pieces of information that potential customers will find helpful. 

Below is an example of an email you could send.

You’d have to adapt this email for your specific business, include the bits you need and cut the bits you don’t need.

Dear [Customer’s Name],

I trust this email finds you well. It was truly a pleasure working with you on [specific project or service], and I hope that the results have exceeded your expectations. 

We’re constantly improving our services and your feedback can help us do that. We also love to tell the world that we have happy customers. Therefore, I’m reaching out to kindly request your thoughts on the work we’ve done together. 

Your feedback really helps us improve our services, and testimonials assist future customers in making informed decisions.

If you could take a moment to share your thoughts, I would highly appreciate it.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Please pick any item or items from the fill in the blanks template below to provide us with your feedback.

Let’s start by discussing what we got right or wrong.

These are the things we especially liked:
Put your answer here…

There were a few things we weren’t fond of:
Put your answer here…

Tell us a bit about you, the job you needed doing, and why you contacted us. 
Example: My boss tasked me with redesigning the company website, so I needed to find a web designer I could trust. Or, wanting a new kitchen, I reached out to XYZ company for a quote, as they came highly recommended.
Put your answer here…

The results you got.
Tell us about the end result. Did you get what you hoped for? Was there something that made you especially happy? Is your problem now solved? Are you glad you used our services?
Put your answer here…

Evidence of return on investment.
Can you, the customer, provide any facts and figures or statistics that verify the claims you make in this feedback or testimonial? Can you demonstrate that the work was done well and yielded your desired outcomes? Have you saved any money? Have you made extra profits as a result of the work we did? 

Example: The SEO work Jim did for us improved our Google ranking. Previously, Google listed us on page three. We’re now listed on page one of Google. And we’re delighted. 
Put your answer here…

Feel-good factors.
Did the work improve your quality of life in any way? Can you describe any feel good factors derived from the work we did? Has your personal, family, or business life improved as a result of our work? 

Example: We’ve always wanted to teach the kids to cook, and our new kitchen inspired them to learn. It has increased family time and meals together. Our old kitchen was a dreary place. It’s now a bright, jolly, happy place to be. And we love it.
Put your answer here…

Would you recommend us?
Do you recommend that others in your situation use our business? 

Example: I’m glad I recommended XYZ Business to my boss. The process was smooth and the results exceeded expectations. I’d use them again in a heartbeat, and have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone who needs their services.
Put your answer here…

Your photo and info?
If you agree to provide a testimonial, would you allow us to use any of your personal details, such as photo, name, job title, or business name? This is optional but useful.
Put your answer here…

Copy and paste the good bits.

If the customer gives you feedback and allows you to use that feedback as a testimonial, cherry pick their most useful comments. Then combine those comments into a testimonial that is useful but concise.

Keep the customers wording and voice but tighten up the text to just include the important stuff.

Then show your edited text to the customer and ask if they would be happy to let you use that as a testimonial.

Never pressure customers into providing testimonials.

If they’ll allow you to include their photo, name, job title, business, or industry, that will give their testimonial credibility. But respect their wishes and don’t push them into revealing more than they’re happy with.

Ways to collect testimonials.

You can ask for testimonials via an email such as the one I provided above. But you might also have a simple way of collecting them via some form of social media site.
For instance, if you have a Google My Business profile, a LinkedIn profile, or a Facebook page you can use those to gather recommendations or testimonials.

Testimonials build trust.

Customers have learned to take marketing copy with a pinch of salt. However, they’re much more ready to trust testimonials and recommendations from past customers. Start now to build a collection of recommendations and testimonials, they’ll serve you and your business well.

Read more useful articles like this in my blog...