How to ask clients for testimonials and get their honest feedback

Approaching your clients to get their testimonials is easier than most businesses realise. When it feels hard, usually it’s because you need to create a simple process or system to ask for feedback. So, how do you get clients to give honest reviews? 

We have three tips for you to start:

  1. Be proactive. Make it really easy for your team to request feedback by setting up your preferred tools and platforms to collect reviews.
  2. Ask questions. Use prompts which help them revisit the emotions around solving their problem; remind them why they bought from you in the first place.
  3. Act upon it. Be clear what you’re going to do with their feedback; if you’re creating content, give them the opportunity to help share it. And if you want feedback to improve your services, show them the outcomes by reporting back on the changes you make.

Visibly act on clients feedback

Starting with the third tip first. Clients are genuinely happy to give feedback when they realise you want and need their help. The challenge comes when they don’t feel you’ve taken any action based on the feedback given in the past. We’ve all filled out surveys and thought afterwards, what was the point of that? – because there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve wasted time. 

So let clients know what you’re doing to make changes, by staying in touch and referring to their direct feedback. Sometimes businesses offer an incentive programme or a prize draw for clients who respond. But with high-value clients, a £50 voucher or an iPad is not really going to motivate them. They are more likely to prefer getting greater value out of you, once you understand their needs better and make positive changes to your services – but this is important – you’ll need to make that obvious to them.

Ask open questions to get honest feedback

Guess what: you’ve got to ask the right questions to get clients to give their honest opinions. Years of market research expertise shows that Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys will give you a benchmark of how highly they think of you. Yet the gold dust comes from the open question which follows the rating: What reasons would you give for that score? 

Another of our favourite open questions is, “What convinced you that they were the right partner to work with you to solve this challenge?”

And you may have to ask several more, to get them talking even more openly. That is why we co-design a case study interview questionnaire with our clients. Having a third party or someone from another area of your business to make the calls enables your client to give frank feedback about the people who served them.

Choosing the tools to seek feedback

Creating a process for getting client feedback is simple: design your system for asking and choose your platforms for sharing them. You can write an email giving clients a link to your Google Reviews, which is free for every business. Do this as an absolute minimum effort – because it’ll help your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) Once you’re signed up for Google My Business, you can even customise your reviews request link by editing your business profile and adding a short name.

Building an internal customer satisfaction survey

Building a survey within your IT systems, such as your customer relationship management (CRM) or helpdesk software, gives you complete control to manage client feedback. You can create custom fields to capture the data via phone calls or from an online form.

For a ‘lite’ option, you can design a simple online survey as a page on your website with a plugin, sending it out via your email marketing. Or you can create an online form using SurveyMonkey, Typeform or GoogleForms.

Third-party tools to seek client feedback

Some businesses decide to collect reviews via a third party – using services like TrustPilot Ask Nicely or Power Reviews to encourage people and enable them to write their reviews. 

One advantage is perceived independence: consumers can post reviews without being asked for them. However, the disadvantage for you as a business is you lose some of the control; anyone can post a review without your carefully-constructed invitation to do so! 

Building reviews from your within your community

When you’re building a community, engagement is key to building trust. So, if people talk about your services in social networking groups, always respond positively to their feedback and encourage the dialogue by prompting them with open questions. 

Don’t become a bore! Include your requests for feedback within your marketing either quarterly or at random times with links out to: 

  • Google reviews
  • Facebook reviews
  • LinkedIn recommendations

Finally. Treat clients and your community like VIP insiders, offer them ways to comment on your plans for new services or ideas for content ahead of going live. Often the group discussion will reveal more than a cold survey questionnaire ever will. Join our community if you’d like more tips to share your case studies 

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