The latest in trending marketing buzzwords is 'customer experience' (CX). As Forbes explains, “customer experience is today’s business benchmark.” With instant gratification - and instant vilification - becoming the norm for brands, it’s never been more important to put your customers first.
There’s now little to no room for errors with your customers, so it’s vital that your business centers its activity around improving the customer experience, and this is as critical for your customer service as it is for your website.
According to a recent study by Forrester, businesses that lead in CX delivered a compound annual revenue growth of 17% over five years, compared to just 3% for companies who lagged in CX. The problem is that less than 50% of organizations say that they have the necessary skills required to provide an exceptional customer experience, according to a survey by eMarketer.
So, what should your business do?
The easiest place to start is by using customer testimonials to improve your CX. When used correctly, testimonials can help you reach potential customers, celebrate current customers, and improve your business based on their feedback.
1. Provide information to potential customers
According to the BrightLocal consumer review survey, 84% of website visitors trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend. Testimonials, when displayed boldly on your website, give your potential customers valuable information about your business. They share details about your product/service from the viewpoint of an individual who has first-hand experience. This immediately helps you develop trust with your new potential customer base.
They key is to display your customer testimonials in an easy-to-view format, that’s also easy to find. The truth is that your website visitors want to know right away if your product or service fits their needs. Customer testimonials can give them exactly this information in a much friendlier format than a sales pitch.
This format helps ensure that important information about your business is actually digested and trusted rather than ignored. Think of it as the difference between a commercial for a product versus a recommendation given during a conversation with a friend.
However, it’s important to note that trust in your testimonials has to be earned. How many times have you visited a website or seen an ad on social media and read reviews, but immediately wondered, “Is this legit or is it a bot?”
That’s where Spectoos can help, by providing your business with a testimonial widget which includes links to social media profiles as well as pictures of your customers, enhancing their legitimacy.
2. Make existing customers feel appreciated
The customer experience isn’t just about new customers; it’s also about your existing customers.
The reality is that while most businesses spend more than 80% of their marketing budget on acquiring new customers, 40% of all revenue comes from repeat purchasers, according to data from Adobe. As such, it’s critical to ensure that your existing customers feel appreciated - and that’s where customer testimonials can help.
When you ask your customers for feedback, and then display that feedback on your website, you're showing your existing customers that you appreciate them, and that you’re listening to their responses. This can help you maximize customer loyalty, which, in turn, can help you make a lifetime customer - an important concept considering after one purchase a customer has a 27% chance of making another, but after a second or third purchase, they have a 54% chance of making subsequent purchases, according to the Luxury Institute.
By showing your customers that you're loyal to them, they’re more likely to be loyal in return - however, that display of loyalty is only as valuable as the actions you take based on their feedback. If you ignore what your customers are saying, they won’t care if you share their testimonials or not, which takes us to our next point.
3. Drive changes to your company
Customer testimonials are more than just valuable selling tools - they offer critical customer insight that you can transform into actionable items for your business.
For example, if you get a three-star review because your shipping process was too expensive or too slow, you immediately know you have a problem, and you can figure out how to fix it.
Unless you get this valuable feedback from your customers, you won’t know how to improve your CX - only your customers can help you pinpoint areas on your website or within your processes that leave them dissatisfied. On the flip side, this same feedback can highlight you where you excel, which you can then use in future marketing plans to advertise your business's product or service.
The key is to use this feedback to inform your business decisions, so you know how to move forward. For example, you may have had a plan to update your services page because you thought it was outdated, but if your customers all give you feedback on your navigation bar instead, and how it's glitchy, then you need to change direction to give your customers what they want - the key to CX.
The more changes you can implement based on testimonial feedback, the better prepared you’ll be to meet your customer’s demands.
4. Being at the right place at the right time (in the right way)
Simply slapping random testimonials on every page of your website, is not effective - you need to be strategic about the placement and style of the testimonials you choose to display.
If your company offers a variety of solutions for your customers, each solution page should display a relevant testimonial specific to that service.
For example, if your business provides interior design, home organization, and home cleaning services, a customer who's browsing the interior design section likely won't be interested in hearing about someone’s experience with your home cleaning services.
Instead, it’s best to place a relevant testimonial from a customer who's already used your interior design services and has something helpful to share with potential customers.
As your business focuses on improving the customer experience one step at a time, customer testimonials can be key to your approach. By using testimonials appropriately to improve your CX, you increase your chances of creating a loyal customer following which is happy to continuously purchase from you and recommend your business to their friends and family.