Last week I keynoted a 1,000 person conference in Chicago. During one of my ensuing breakout sessions, an attendee raised her hand and made an argument for collecting testimonials by email instead of by phone, as I teach. Some of you have seen me have this conversation, but it went approximately like this:
Audience Member: We email our testimonial questions for our customers to fill out.
Me: Well, that’s better than not asking at all, but using the phone is significantly better still.
AM: But we email.
Me: I’m glad you do that instead of nothing.
AM: But isn’t that better because we get their testimonials in writing?
Me: No. The telephone is better.
AM: But I think emailing is better because then they know we will use what they actually write.
Me: Well, I was good while you were talking about what you do. But now that you’re saying your way is better, and since we are in a room full of people learning how to do this right way, I have to correct you. Email is not better.
What percent of your customers actually reply to your email request to answer a long series of questions? (Answer: silence.)
And then, how many follow-up questions do you get to ask when the email testimonials do come back? (Again silence.)
I can hear people’s tone of voice on my testimonial calls, and follow up accordingly.
I can allow for silence during a call, during which people bring up items to give positive feedback on. I don’t even know to ask about most of the topics that customers bring up in these situations. This, of course, does not happen by email.
Worse: The emailed testimonial request is a chore, an assignment you’re giving to a very busy person. Conversely, the call is a pleasant conversation where you pour cement on your relationship with the customer, and vice versa.
The audience member preferred emails instead of calls to her customers because she (not the customer) was uncomfortable with the telephone. She didn’t want to impose. She didn’t want to take the customer’s time, which, ironically, is exactly what the email does.
Use the phone when asking for testimonials. Your customers will be honored and grateful that you included them (my client’s customers tell me this constantly), and you will have an enjoyable chat with a friend that results in glowing testimonials you can sell and market with.
Or, you can email an impersonal, annoying homework assignment to customers.
If you don’t want to make these calls yourself, ask me to help. I’ve done thousands of them. You’ll get at least a dozen testimonials from every 15 minute call that I do on your behalf. To discuss, call me at 847-459-6322 or reply to this email.
Buy my award-winning book, The Revenue Growth Habit, here.
I'm a market strategist, consultant, coach and speaker for product and services companies that are looking for dramatic growth and increased revenues.
My clients include Fortune 500 firms like Amazon and Sprint - as well as publicly traded companies like Logitech, TiVo, Virgin Mobile and Yelp.