By Terri Wiebold
I have never met a business owner who was not interested in bettering his/her business. For some, “bettering” means increasing revenues and profits and/or decreasing expenses. For others, it may mean elevating their brand. For me, it is about improving the overall experience for everyone involved.
As the publisher of The Connection, I am often asked, “So, how’s the paper doing?” My first response is one that seems to catch many people off guard. I simply say, “You tell me; how are we doing?” Regardless of how the spreadsheets or financial statements read, the true measure of success for The Castle Pines Connection is the feedback we receive from our readers, vendors and business partners – and this holds true for many businesses. And one of the best ways to capture that feedback is through reader and business partner testimonials.
Testimonials are written or recorded statements that support your credibility and level of expertise or qualifications. They not only speak to the products and/or services you provide, they reflect the positive interactions you and your staff have with other people. They are the embodiment of the relationship that you share with those people; it is what is at the core of The Castle Pines Connection. Testimonials have the ability to strengthen your reputation by expressing the trust that other people have in you and your business, and they are a great tool to help attract a deeper interest from perspective clients.
Unlike most businesses that sell to one set of customers, The Castle Pines Connection serves two masters – the advertisers that supply the sole funding source for the newspaper and the residents in and around the community who comprise our loyal readership. Without the latter ... you ... the first becomes immaterial. Testimonials can reinforce confidence with existing clients, reassuring them that they are taking less of a risk by making the decision to purchase from you. They help set you apart from your competition, which ultimately may help you and your business be more successful.
For some, me included, asking a customer to provide a testimonial may seem uncomfortable or sometimes even intrusive. I have found that it feels more authentic to ask them for “feedback” instead, thus opening the door for a positive response, but also providing opportunity for improvement if the feedback is not what I had hoped for. If a client or customer gives a spontaneous, unsolicited compliment, take the opportunity to convert that to a testimonial – it is the most sincere kind!
When you receive feedback that you believe to be worthy of sharing, be sure you have the permission of the person giving it before publishing it. Another effective tip is – when possible – use a photo of the customer or client alongside their testimonial, thus further enhancing credibility. This communicates that, not only did the customer say those great things about your business, they are happy to be identified by their picture as well as their name. Even better yet, take a short video testimonial and share it on your website and social media channels (see related story next page).
Regardless the format, testimonials are a powerful tool to help enhance and better your business.