Lori's Blog

This is What's Wrong with Your Testimonials

customer success storytelling
sleeping puppy

“Everyone is so happy with the completion of our big project implementation. Sure, there were a few problems to troubleshoot along the way, but your team stuck with it and performed brilliantly. We now have a system that is operating at capacity and is creating the real time results that we need to meet our goals.”

Zzzzzz…. Is it over?

This client quote could be just about any business in any industry. I made this one up but amazingly enough, this is the type of text that many companies are publishing for testimonials.

The truth is that testimonials like this are a waste of time because they don’t do anything to help the buyer in their decision-making process. Need I mention that they are so boring that your readers might not make it to the end of the first sentence?

The Problem with Your Testimonials

The problem with many testimonials is that they are too generic. The reason they are too generic is that your clients don’t automatically associate the results of your work with the way that you are solving their problems.

Don’t get me wrong, unsolicited comments that come in from clients expressing gratitude and praise are wonderful and should be shared. It’s just that if you want to use what your clients say to influence behavior, you might have to help them connect your solution how you made life better for them.

Your Client Stories Are Waiting to Be Told

Sometimes without even asking, your clients want to say nice things to you. This is a signal that there is a deeper story waiting to be told. Ask them to have a conversation about their experience. People are more open to doing this than you might realize, and they are actually flattered that you want to know more.

When the interview process is truly more of a conversation than a question and answer session, you can expect to learn something that you didn’t think to ask as you guide the interview down the roads that seem the most interesting.

Open-ended conversations allow you to uncover not just the external problem that was disturbing your client’s universe but the way that they felt and the outcome that they envisioned.

This is the type of story that takes the reader up and over the dramatic arc. The dramatic arc is a universal story structure that leads to an empathetic response in the reader. Empathy is what connects people, nurtures trust and influences their decisions.

Take Testimonials from Your Client Stories

After you have written your client success story, pull out some comments for testimonials. The idea here is to assist your client in reorganizing their thoughts. You can put different thoughts together in different ways and present them to the client for approval.

I have had some people change what I wrote but they did that because they changed their mind about what they wanted to say, not because what I wrote wasn’t accurate.

Write the testimonials so that they link your solution to their problem and now your clients are talking for you with language that will be much more personal, more powerful, and definitely not generic.

Do share those unsolicited comments internally with your team as they come in. You never know when someone might need a pick me up!

Get Started

​I can help you write the client stories and testimonials. Contact me to start a conversation.

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