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The 30 Essential Testimonial Questions to Ask Your Clients

If you see an advert on the side of a bus for a product you may be interested in, and a friend of yours recommends a similar product from a different company that they used, and were really pleased with, which would be more persuasive? Personal recommendations are worth so much more than almost any other kind of advertising, which is why having testimonials clearly visible on your website or social media profile is critical.

In fact, a recent survey carried out by BrightLocal discovered that 88% of consumers trust testimonials found online, and see them as being as influential as a personal recommendation from somebody they trust.

But how do you go about getting those testimonials? Not only that, how can you make sure that the testimonials say the sort of things you need? How can you get those fantastic quotes you can display in a large box, or a call to action voiced by a delighted customer, urging future customers to go ahead and place their orders?

In this article, we’ll look at what makes a great testimonial, how to avoid some of the common mistakes and assumptions many people make and provide you with our top 30 essential questions you should always make sure you use when seeking new clients testimonials to help drive your business forward.

The Purpose Of A Testimonial

Personal recommendations are worth their weight in gold. As consumers, we are frequently bombarded from every side by claims from businesses that their product or service is the only one you’ll ever need, that you’ll be utterly delighted from start to finish and that it’s far superior to any other alternative.

But the trouble is we struggle to believe them. Marketing and advertising has become so widespread, from adverts squished into your social media feed first thing in the morning, all the way through the day to the enthusiastic shopping channel presenters as your eyelids submit to the weight of another long day. We’re bombarded by claims and assurances, and it’s made us all rather cynical.

We don’t know who to believe.

testimonial purpose

If three different companies advertise their toilet paper as being the softest, the most comfortable, and the most popular, which one can we really believe will suit us best?

Testimonials are a way of coping with this confusion. If we see independently written statements from previous, happy customers, assuring us that it was certainly the best choice for them, we can feel much more reassured, and more convinced it will be the right choice for us too.

This is particularly the case if the customers writing about their positive experiences are just like you.

If you’re a business entrepreneur struggling with spending hours every week juggling your financial statements, and you see three written testimonials from business entrepreneurs who explain how stressful it was for them to juggle their financial statements every week, you’ll feel a kinship. You relate to them in such a way that you feel you are on the same team. It’s you against the marketing babble, and they’re the voice you can trust. Your credit card is being whipped out before you’ve even realized that ‘testimonial’ is an anagram of ‘it’s not email’.

Publishing glowing testimonials on your website, or in your social media feed, broadcasts the messages about your business that you want to get out there, but in a way that positively glows with honesty, independence, and credibility. If the people writing the testimonials look and sound similar to your potential customers, they’ll feel a connection, and relate to the words much more fully.

In short, if you want your business to succeed, to sell its products or services, and grow significantly, testimonials are essential. If you’re not using them, then your competitors will be absolutely delighted. So let’s disappoint them and find out how to do it even better.

The Difference Between Testimonials And Reviews

If you ask most people what the difference is between a testimonial and a review, they’ll most likely stare at you blankly, perhaps silently mouthing something before admitting that they’re stumped, and aren’t they just the same thing anyway?

They’re not the same thing.

testimonial vs review

So what’s the difference? In fact, there are several key differences. For example, a review is usually collected by a third-party site, such as Google or TrustPilot, whereas testimonials are either given directly to you, the business owner, or maybe solicited by you directly.

Another difference between them is that testimonials are always recommendations or endorsements of a product, service, or company, whereas reviews are simply a critical account of a person’s experience, and may be either positive or negative (or both).

Reviews also tend to be almost always text-based, but testimonials can be published in a wide variety of formats, from text to video, graphics, or even audio. They’re more versatile and can be placed in a wider variety of locations.

In short, reviews are basic, text-based statements that may be positive or negative, and are completely beyond your control.

Testimonials, on the other hand, are fully under your control, are always positive and recommending of your company, and can be used in a variety of ways and in a range of places.

In other words, testimonials are the way to go. So, how do you go about getting them?

How To Ask For A Testimonial

Many people feel a little awkward about asking for a testimonial. More awkward in fact than asking for a review. With asking for a review there’s no implied expectation that it will be glowingly positive. With a testimonial, you’re asking them to publicly acknowledge how awesome you are!

The best time to ask for a testimonial is at the conclusion of a project in most cases, before they’ve gone off, got used to how great your product or service is, and forgotten the impact. But having said that, this may not always be the case.

For example, you may have a moment during which the client realizes how amazing your product or service is, perhaps telling you what a difference it makes, how surprised they are at how well something works, or that there’s a feature or benefit they weren’t expecting. If a conversation like this happens, whether digitally, over the phone, or in person, then that is the time to mention the idea of a testimonial. Even if they don’t write it immediately, they’ll connect the feeling they had at that moment with the idea of writing a testimonial.

Of course, it may be that you’ve sold a product or service, and it will be a little while before the client sees the benefit. Perhaps it’s an SEO service you’ve sold, in which case the results may be weeks away from being at their best. So in this case it’s important to wait until the client has really seen the very best possible results, and then ask for the testimonial.

So how do you actually do the asking? The following is an example template you can adapt and use:

Hello {Client}, I’ve really enjoyed working with you, and I’ve been very pleased to see how well our {product/service} has been working for you. Something that can really help us to move forward and develop new products and services is by gaining new clients. And gaining new clients is really helped by having recommendations from current, happy clients – just like you! It would mean a great deal if you would feel able to let us have a short testimonial about what we do, and how it has helped you. If you prefer, this can be entirely anonymous, or we can provide a link to your business if you’re happy to be associated with the testimonial. If you’re willing to help us then I’ll send over a few quick questions for you. Thank you so much in advance!

How To Use A Testimonial Effectively

So now you have your glowing testimonial – what do you do with it? The most obvious thing is of course to have a testimonials page on your website. Many people will head there and have a look, but that really should only be the start of it.

Having a carousel or slider that showcases a selection of testimonials embedded into multiple pages across your site, including the home page, sales pages, product pages and such like will make a big difference. 

In some cases, a testimonial might include a killer quotation or sound bite, which you can use to your advantage. Simply pull that phrase from the testimonial, and include it in a nicely formatted quotation block on your website, with a really (really!) large font size. Or even have it turned into a graphic to make it look beautiful. These can be placed around the website, and even embedded within pages of text.

But look beyond your website. Think about your social media profiles, and how having the occasional testimonial or quotation published there will help. If you have a YouTube channel, you could include video testimonials there too. There’s no reason why every testimonial has to be text-based. A few clients might be happy to do a piece to camera, which is a great way to showcase how great your business is.

So once you have your testimonials, think of as many places as you can for where you can embed them, and as many ways of doing so, to really get the message out there that people rate your business highly.

The 30 Best Testimonial Questions To Ask Clients

testimonial questions

Earlier we gave you a sample template of the sort of thing you can say when approaching clients about providing you with a testimonial. In that template, we told the client that if they were happy to give us a testimonial we would send over “a few quick questions” for them.

So why have we given you a list of 30 killer questions to ask clients?

Because not all of them will be suitable for every business, every client, or every situation. Pick the ones you think will work best.

Bookmark this article, and come back to it each time you have a client you think could give you a great testimonial, scan through this list, and pick 4 or 5 you think would be perfect.

Let’s get started then! Here are our 30 best testimonial questions to ask clients!

1. What is your name, job title, and are you happy for us to use your name/job title in any publication of your testimonial?

This is a basic, stock question you should always include, that’s additional to the 4 or 5 you’ll choose. If the person is happy to have their name associated with the testimonial this is great, as it lends much more credence and weight to their recommendation. Of course, if they decide to be anonymous, that’s fine too, just make sure you honor their wish.

2. What is your business/company, and what does it do?

Having this information is useful because it may be that you can encourage future clients who are considering placing an order by showing them testimonials from companies very similar to theirs. If you were a client who owned a printing business, and you saw a website selling a product or service, with a clear testimonial from another printing business, it would help you to feel that the product or service is more likely a good match for you. Providing something that makes the client feel that they are in good company with like-minded people can help make a difference. Of course, if all you sell is printing materials, then this might become less relevant.

3. How was your business running before you began using our product/service?

This is important because it helps the client think back to before they placed the order before they started using your product or service, and the sort of problems they were encountering. Because any future client looking at your website might very well be encountering those same problems themselves, and so again this familiarity and understanding makes the product much more relevant.

4. What were the problems you were trying to address before you began using our service?

This is another opportunity to understand the problems businesses like theirs may be facing. If potential clients see testimonials from people who experienced exactly the same type of problem as they are, and that your product or service helped solve that problem, they are clearly much more likely to consider purchasing.

5. What was it that made our product/service stand out from the alternatives?

This can be more interesting for you, helping you to understand what clients see as your unique selling point. Sometimes it may not always be what you think, or what you market as your USP, and it may be that they identify benefits, advantages or selling points which you can draw more attention to in your future marketing.

6. What was it that sold you on purchasing our product/service?

Again, this is more for your own benefit, because knowing how your satisfied client was converted will give you a greater insight into how to convert future clients who may be undecided. Sometimes the answers to a testimonial request can be used as standalone quotations, and sometimes they can help provide you with insights about your own business you would otherwise never receive.

7. What was the primary concern that may have held you back from buying this, and what put your fears to rest?

This has two benefits. Just as with the previous two questions, you may well learn something about how clients see your business, gaining a great understanding of what was successful in convincing a client to place an order. The second benefit is that if you have a testimonial that addresses this issue, and you place it on a page that prospective clients will visit before they go ahead and click ‘Buy’, then they may well be convinced to go ahead if they see someone else who had the same concern as them, but who went ahead and ended up a very happy customer.

8. What was it that made our company/product/service the best fit for your business?

Understanding how the client sees your business fitting with their needs will help provide you with an insight into potential future marketing opportunities. Testimonials that include these observations will help to encourage future potential clients to recognize similarities and see your brand as even more relevant.

9. How easy was the process of placing your order?

This is more for your own benefit, rather than something to include in a published testimonial. Receiving feedback from a client on how easy the ordering process was can help you to identify potential bottlenecks or issues which could hold future customers back. Perhaps there was a step in the process that could be more streamlined in the future?

10. What has your experience been like using our service/product?

This is a very open-ended question, which can be useful in gaining insights from the client and giving them the opportunity to focus on any aspect of their experience which is positive. 

11. What one thing has made you feel especially happy about choosing our product/service?

It’s not always what you expect! You may assume, as a business, what your key benefits are, and what one thing would make you stand out to clients and make them feel especially happy. But in many cases, this isn’t the case, and clients have their own viewpoint. This allows them to highlight something which could be a real selling point for future clients, and which you may never have considered.

12. Since starting to use our product/service what is it that you have been able to achieve as a result?

This is one of several questions which will potentially provide you with a great quotation to publish prominently on your website or social media. Showing future clients how past clients have seen their business change for the better after ordering from you will be a powerful tool.

13. How has your business’s situation changed having been using our product/service?

This is similar to the previous question but instead prompts them to think about the transition from the negative to the positive.

14. What one thing has gone beyond your expectations while using our product/service?

Meeting expectations is a given, but exceeding them is golden. If you can include testimonials that show that your business doesn’t just deliver, but that it goes above and beyond clients’ expectations, this can provide a powerful testimonial.

15. What is the one main reason you would recommend our product/service to others with a similar need/problem?

This helps to keep it simple. Some testimonial questions can result in long answers (which can be great of course), but asking them to focus on just one thing helps to keep it tight. And you may even find that the one thing you’d expect them to pick isn’t what they end up focusing on, which can be very revealing.

16. In what ways has your business been affected since you started using our product/service? 

This is another open-ended question that helps to focus on the core difference or change that your business has had on the client’s business. These testimonials can provide key opportunities to show potential customers in what ways their business could be similarly affected.

17. Since you began using the service/product, are you still getting the same results now?

Receiving a quick, short-lived boost may impress in the short term, but if you can show potential clients that existing clients are still seeing benefits long after the initial decision to purchase, this can be a compelling reason to go ahead and place an order.

18. What one unexpected benefit did you come across while using our product/service?

No matter how much you focus on getting across your key selling points, and no matter how you perceive the benefits of your business, sometimes you’ll find that customers are pleasantly surprised by an additional benefit that comes with your product or service. Perhaps that might be something you were aware of but didn’t consider a major factor, or it may even be something you had never considered before. Either way, this gives you a great opportunity to adapt your future marketing to make more of these additional benefits you’re already offering.

19. Which single feature of our product/service would you say is your absolute favorite? 

Sometimes testimonials can lose their focus, trying to encompass a range of different benefits and experiences. Questions like this help to narrow it down to one single benefit which stands out. If this isn’t something you’re expecting, then you know your future marketing can be altered to make more of this. If it is something you’d expect, then it makes a great testimonial for using in social media or block quotes.

20. What one aspect of our product/service do you feel your company has benefitted from the most?

Whether a particular feature is a favorite of theirs is certainly interesting, but what about the one aspect of your business that has had the greatest impact? This is the sort of headline testimonial that can help to really highlight the bottom-line benefit you’re able to offer.

21. Do you feel that our product/service has turned out to be worth the initial cost? If yes, what makes you feel that?

Obviously one of the major doubts potential clients will have is about getting out their credit card and placing an order. The price is going to almost certainly be a factor in their decision-making process. So if you can showcase a few testimonials from previous, happy clients who acknowledge the full value of the product or service, this can be a huge benefit. Rather than shying away from talking about the cost, having previous clients acknowledge that the price represents great value, and is fully worth it, will help to convince many new clients.

22. Can you describe a success story that would not have been possible had you not been using our product/service? 

These success stories can be great content. It may be that rather than having a small testimonial box with a paragraph of writing, which is good, you may end up with a bit more than this. You may even have enough for your own blog post or page, which can really demonstrate how enthusiastically supportive your clients are.

23. Who would you say this product/service is perfect for? Can you describe them?

This comes back to the idea of helping potential clients recognize themselves when reading testimonials. The more they feel that previous, happy clients are very much like themselves, the more they’ll be assured that your product or service will work for them too. If they’re running a photography agency, and see a couple of testimonials written by car dealerships, they may be interested. But if they read about other photography agencies which have seen fantastic improvements and enjoyed significant growth, or huge savings, then this is of much more relevance.

24. What would you say to someone who is thinking about whether to purchase our product/service?

These can be really great block quotes to use. Rather than you simply saying “Buy! Buy! Buy!”, having your existing clients actively urging potential customers to place an order carries a good deal more weight.

25. If you could make sure people know just one thing about our product/service, what would that be?

These questions which focus on ‘just one thing’ can be extremely useful, and provide short testimonials that can be used in a variety of ways, such as testimonial blocks, sliders, carousels, galleries, block quotes, or on social media. This one opens the field quite wide, giving them the opportunity to pick just one thing from your product or service, your customer service, your pricing, your after-sales service, or indeed anything else about your brand. If this stood out enough for them to mention it, then it will almost certainly carry weight for future clients too.

26. Is there a specific way in which you feel our product/service works better than available alternatives?

It’s fairly probable that any prospective clients have been checking out your competition. So having a testimonial that confirms why you stand out as the preferred choice is always going to be relevant and helpful. If the visitor is considering you against three or four of your competitors, then they may be swayed by the words of a previous client. Especially as this kind of testimonial implies that the existing client already checked out the competition and still decided upon going with your brand.

27. What would be the primary reason you would feel you would like to recommend our product/service?

This is slightly different from the other ‘one thing’ questions because this shifts the focus from the specifics of your business to the client themselves. Why is it they want to recommend you? What is it about their experience that makes them actively want to recommend your service to future clients? It’s one thing to say you’re pleased with the service, or even which part of the service it is you’re pleased with. But to say why you want to actively stand up and tell others about your brand shows a genuine, personal conviction that you were the right choice.

28. If there was one thing about our product/service you could change, what would that be?

It’s unlikely you’d want to use this in your published testimonials! But don’t let that put you off from asking this question. If a client is really pleased with everything, at least as far as you can tell, they’re unlikely to complain about something. But if there was a negative experience, or simply something which could have been improved, made simpler, made easier, or made more efficient, then this is a great way of finding out. Then you can do something about it to improve your service even more.

29. Do you have anything else at all which you would like to say, positive or negative, about your experience with our product/service?

It’s always a good idea to let them have a really open-ended opportunity to talk about anything they like. If they say anything negative, then this is an opportunity for you to take that honest opinion and implement suitable changes. But if they say positive things, then this is likely to work as a great testimonial to include on your site.

30. Are you happy to grant us permission to use all or part of your testimonial in any future marketing, such as on our website, in videos, or through social media?

Always make sure you get their permission to use the testimonial on your website, and on other platforms too. Make it clear you may not use all of their testimonials but might quote from them, and make sure you know whether they’re happy for their name to be included or not.

Conclusion

Testimonials are a hugely effective way of adding independent, honest credibility to your brand. A personal recommendation is worth a hundred adverts, and they are often very easy to get. Once you have them, there are so many ways in which they can be used to help you, whether that be making changes to your business in some way in response to criticism, or using the testimonials across your website and social media.

When choosing which questions to ask your clients, browse through this list and decide which ones would be most appropriate for each specific client. We recommend bookmarking this page so that you can come back and check through the list each time. Don’t be afraid to vary your selection – mix it up – you may be surprised at how effective some of these questions can be.

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