On the face of it, testimonials have always been good for business.

Potential new customers seek them out for reassurance. Reading what others have said gives them a good idea about the levels of quality and customer service they can expect to receive.

But sometimes testimonials can do more harm than good.

Harmful testimonials

You’ve probably seen them – websites using “testimonials” that sound impressive, but are not attributed to anyone. If they are, it just says “Mr K, Wales”, or something like that.

Would you trust their authenticity?

It would leave some serious doubts in my mind.

Making the most of your testimonials

If you’re using testimonials, at the very least they must be accompanied by a full name, job position and company – especially if you’re a B2B business.

They should address specific concerns rather than just “they did a great job, we’d definitely use them again”. Why did they do a good job? What made the customer chose than company over another? How did they help you?

Another thing to consider is featuring video testimonials from satisfied customers.

Good times and bad

Most testimonials focus on business successes, but it’s important to give potential customers a balanced view.

If I’m looking to buy a product or service, I’ll never go by that company’s testimonials alone. I’ll also head off to do some independent research. Of course the danger there is I may find other, less positive comments about the business, or even an equivalent product that’s cheaper.

If you want potential customers to stay on your site and not wander off, give them a balanced view. If something went wrong, but you went out of your way to put it right, ask that customer for a testimonial. Their honest view of your company and how you resolved the situation will show you as a company that’s genuine and willing to go the extra mile to make things right – because you care about your customers.

Testimonials are a valuable online tool for marketers. They offer a real life insight into your products and services that should allay potential buying concerns.