Mobility equipment retailers that fail to carry customer testimonials on their website or literature are missing out on a simple trick that could generate more sales for them.
That’s the message from industry expert David Russell, who suggests it is vital for dealers not to underestimate the power of such a basic but effective form of advertising.
Speaking at a special ‘How To’ seminar session at Trade Days yesterday, Mr Russell, the former publisher of industry trade title THIIS, said not enough dealers were putting testimonials in places where they could be seen by prospective customers.
“You would be surprised how many homepages of websites don’t carry any sort of testimonial or any sort of product review at all. It seems to be all about the company and there is nothing about the customers, so if you can turn that around and make your homepage more about the customer, the experience and what you have done for somebody then you are going to find it is more effective.”
Mr Russell cited statistics claiming 94% of people admit that reading a review influences their purchasing decision and 92% trust testimonials above other sorts of promotion.
“The sort of things that people are looking for are reliability, expertise and professionalism. If you can get the testimonials you will be able to use them and it will make a difference,” he said.
Mr Russell urged retailers not to be afraid of asking customers for testimonials and said the answers to some very simple questions, such as why they chose the product, what the service was like and whether they would recommend the company to others, could easily form a short testimonial.
“Interestingly if you are getting somebody telling you why they would recommend your company to other people, it will open doors for you to actually understand why your offering is different to competitors and you will be able to use that in your advertising and promotions going forward. For example, if I asked 10 people about your company and eight said the same thing then I would probably be using that on the website.”
Ableworld, Eden Mobility, Mobility at Home and Ross Care were all good examples of mobility dealers that prominently display good, clear testimonials on the front pages of their websites, he said.
Mr Russell said testimonials have to be believable, honest, specific and short enough for people to want to read them.
He said simple techniques, such as using a handscripted typeface, large quotation marks and photographs of the customer, help to make testimonials more visible and authentic.
He also said that dealers shouldn’t be worried if every review isn’t a glowing endorsement.
“About 68% of people will believe reviews if you’ve got something on your website that isn’t absolutely wonderful because we know that life isn’t absolutely wonderful all the time. So don’t be afraid of putting something up that isn’t 100% fantastic in your favour.”
Mr Russell also advised dealers to use testimonials in three pieces of correspondence where you rarely see them: quotations, price lists and invoices. “Quotations and prices lists because that’s where people are thinking, ‘is it worth it?’ And invoices because that’s where people are thinking, ‘have I paid too much’? But very companies actually use testimonials on those pieces of paper.”
Mr Russell added that it was always important to let customers know that a testimonial is being used and to maintain the communication afterwards.
“Use them wherever you possibly can but keep in touch so it is still relevant to be using the testimonial if you know what I mean in terms of our market place because you don’t want somebody on the site who passed away two years ago.”