What sways a new customer towards a purchasing decision? Is it the clean design you have on your site that makes navigation simple? Have they read your blog, and decided that you will be the best person to meet their needs as a preferred supplier? Or have you built up a relationship with the customer through online communication, to the point that they wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else? Whatever your customer’s reasons for choosing to purchase, you can bet your bottom dollar that they considered your online brand and reputation before making the jump to contacting you or ordering through your site.
In these enlightened days of online consumerism, people are savvy. They know what they are looking for when they come to you, and they have the right methods of weighing things up to determine whether or not you will be a suitable service provider. Above all, they know to seek out the recommendations of other people before taking a punt on you themselves.
That’s why I have my testimonials page, with over 50 testimonials.
The Internet has opened up consumerism to a whole new level of protection for customers. Rather than having to take a chance based upon gut instinct or the fact that they like your site, people who come to you have endless opportunities to seek out information online about your reputation and establish to their satisfaction whether you are a trades person that can be trusted to be reliable, ethical, and strong on customer service. Sites such as eBay and Amazon tapped into this consumer power from the start, enabling people to rate their transactions with sellers and buyers, write product reviews, and comment on the efficiency of service and speed of delivery.
Your customers are no longer impressed simply by an accessible site and a great product; they are looking for clear, visible evidence that you’ll do what you say, when you say you’ll do it. They want information that relates to your past dealings with other people which will convince them of your reliability and gives them confidence in your product.
Reputation is based first and foremost upon word of mouth. As a culture, we seek out the opinions of other people for most of our significant purchases. When we buy property, we speak to other people in the area to find out what it is like to live there. When we look for the ideal car, we ask people who have owned models that we are considering, getting insight into whether the vehicle is reliable and will suit our needs. The Internet has opened up this customer-led consumerism, making it easy for people to access opinions and perspectives on every possible product prior to purchasing. Just as an outstanding rating can be the single most persuasive factor in determining the purchasing decision, a bad rating on a site can be sufficient to turn customers away. For shabby service providers, there is no longer a way of hiding behind anonymity to disguise the fact that their product or service is below par.
All of this leads us to the conclusion that having testimonials on your site is the most important way you can showcase the fact that you are a trusted and efficient service provider. Publishing trackable, verifiable feedback from previous customers gives future buyers a sense of confidence, demonstrating that you operate to a high standard. These days, a site that doesn’t feature great testimonials is probably (at least in the eyes of the customer) trying to hide something. Either they have just started out in business, in which case they may not have the experience to fulfill orders properly, or they have not done sufficiently well in their trade to invite people to pass comment on their service.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate some absolutely stunning reviews on your WordPress site to give your customers peace of mind that you are an outstanding service provider.
This plugin is a simple and effective way of showcasing what people have said about you and your services. Choose testimonials that you can link back to the site of the customer to assist their authenticity and bring peace of mind that they are genuine.
WP Customer Reviews
For an added element of authenticity this plugin lets people add their own reviews and testimonials. You can still moderate them before they go live, but this allows your visitors to quickly and easily post their views without the need for you to contact them with a specific request.
This is the plugin that I use on my own site. It’s my preferred choice, because it’s very easy to use and it gives you the ability to categorize and group your testimonials so you can choose which ones to display at any given time. You can also tap into the functionality which lets you display a sidebar highlighting your customer feedback; this is great for visitors who are on the cusp of becoming a customer and just need a little nudge.
If you want to really increase the power of your testimonials, why not include video reviews on your site? You can record testimonials from customers using the VodBurner video recorder for Skype. Widgets like Bubobox.com and Pluspanda.com allow you to add them easily your site.