Have you seen the holiday classic, Miracle on 34th Street? (If not, pause now to go watch it. I’ll wait.) Fast forward your brain to the part where the Macy’s Santa tells the mother to go to the competitor, Gimbels, to get the gift—skates—because theirs were of better quality.
Few think about this, but Santa was a trendsetter in brand building. That’s right. The loss of a sale of one item was actually an investment in promotional marketing. Macy’s got a huge ROI* because they received testimonials, increased customer counts and goodwill up the wazoo. Macy’s didn’t have to tell anyone how great they were; the customers were doing that for them.
And that is what every business wants: to showcase how good you are by having clients extolling your virtues, rather than you, bragging on yourself. So how do you get that to happen?
The true way to get testimonials is not to just meet but exceed expectations. Some people will just spontaneously sing your praises. But, in today’s world, clients are often too busy. Even when they’ve had a stellar experience, the memory of it is squeezed out by a million other things surging into their memory banks.
When you’ve done a great job and you know the customer is thrilled, a great standard practice is to send a follow up survey. It doesn’t need to be long, but should contain some thought provoking questions (avoid questions that yield a yes or no answer). The questions should prompt the customer to re-experience the satisfaction your business brought them. At the end of your survey, you should provide a checkbox asking their permission to use their comments, either with their name or anonymously, identifying the author with just a job title and generic company description.
Surveys also provide an opportunity to improve. You can learn areas where you can refine your product or service. Providing that chance shows your clients that you care and want to always be on top of your game. Your brand will look good because you are good. And, that is a real gift.
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