As I mentioned in my last post, you might want to mine your correspondence for testimonial nuggets. Or you can prompt a discussion about testimonials any time you’ve got a satisfied customer on the phone with a statement like this, to paraphrase an opening used by marketing consultant Ed Taylor:
“Bill, I’m glad you’re happy with how all of this has worked out for you. You know my boss is always asking me for testimonials to post on our website. Would you mind being a testimonial for me? Excellent (assuming they agree). While I have you here, let me ask you just three short questions and I’ll draft something up and send it to you for your approval.”
You want your first question to help clients articulate the principal reason he or she decided to let you handle their business in the first place, to “define the problem” that presumably your agency has addressed to their satisfaction.
QUESTION #1: What problem or opportunity persuaded you call to us?
Try to get to the root problem here. Even if they decided to get a quote from you because their brother-in-law recommended you, that’s not really the answer. They wouldn’t have had to take his advice if there wasn’t something they were dissatisfied about in the first place.
QUESTION #2: What’s it been like working with us at ABC?
Hopefully, you get a positive answer, not something like, “Well, your people are rude, but you get results.” On the other hand, an answer like that could be a good management lesson.
QUESTION #3: How do you feel about the services and policies we’ve provided you?
If the person you’re talking to is just answering in generalities, see if you can’t point them toward some specifics. If you know you’ve saved them money, or increased their coverage or limits, or they’ve mentioned they like how attentive your service is, focus on eliciting that kind of response.
Try to make it into a story. When you’re done with either the phone call or your correspondence research, paraphrase what they’ve said in a way that expresses the thought more fully, if the comment seems too brief or inconclusive. Try not to embellish, however. You really want to retain their intent. If they’ve answered the three questions thoughtfully, you may have enough material to write a brief story. A story — with a beginning, middle and end — is always more interesting to read, even a very short one. After you’ve “crafted” the testimonial in an honest way, send it to them and ask if you have their approval to use it.
Say thank you. Once your customer approved it, post it to your website and place it in your printed promotional material. You should also send them a handwritten note and a small gift, such as flowers or a gift card.
They require a little work, but solid testimonials can be a vital part of your insurance marketing plan.