Not so long ago I was on a telephone call with a potential client. During the call, the client was clicking through some of the features of my website and specifically wanted to see customer testimonials. It causes me to wonder, are testimonials really speaking the truth?
As we talked on the phone, she was saying aloud the features she was seeing. “Okay, here is your seminar list. Oh and here are your blog posts. Okay and I see your speaking topics. Do you have any testimonials?”
Testimonials are valuable, certainly. They also have their own dedicated page on my site.
I wonder though, are written testimonials, the kind we see on a business web page real?
I don’t mean to suggest that anyone makes them up. Although, of course, someone could, what I question is how authentic these testimonials really feel to the reader or potential customer. Is this written word really speaking the truth?
Similar to references on a job application, would anyone knowingly list a reference that would say something bad, I don’t think so.
We live in a funny World. People cite in a negative sarcastic tone the perceived lack of authenticity related to online data, articles, and social media posts. There is a tremendous social atmosphere (movement?) which many people have labeled as, fake news.
Therefore, it may beg the question, “Why do people believe in testimonials?” How many businesses would display a comment that expresses disappointment with their product or service? Unless it is some paradoxical shift, I believe none. Zero, no one would do that.
Speaking the Truth
Testimonials may be one of the most intriguing inspirations for a call to action. They matter. Every marketer will tell you that. People believe in them. Psychologically, they move people to action. Are they fake news, maybe?
Perhaps the real truth exists in the number of clients or customers served, years in business, or when a friend of a friend provides a real spontaneous and unsolicited referral. I’m not saying that testimonials are fake news. They are probably real on most websites. What I am saying is what makes people so sure.
What did I tell the potential client? I directed her to my testimonials tab.
She was satisfied.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.