7 Testimonial Questions To Get Great Customer Reviews

You never know what someone might say when they post a review. Even if they had a great customer experience.

And the nice folks who do post online reviews or send you testimonials, they’re not copywriters. Even with all the goodness in their hearts, the testimonials fall flat.

“Jenny is great! We always laughed at her jokes!”

Do you think this testimonial is helping Jenny land new real estate clients? Nope.

Every word on your website has a purpose. Including testimonials.

Testimonials exist to build your authority. To help your potential customers trust you. They see that you helped someone like them solve their problem. And now they’re happy!

Most testimonials don’t accomplish any of those things!

What if you could get great written testimonials, every time?

You can. It just takes a little intentionality.

Here’s how you and your customer service team start collecting testimonials that reflect just how great your work really is (with a couple of examples at the end of this post).

1. Send Your Existing Customers A Survey

The biggest paradigm shift I want you to take away from this article is that you’re not going to wait for your customers to write whatever they feel anymore.

You’re going to write their testimonials for them.

Gasp! But that’s dishonest! We don’t know what they’d say!

The truth is, most people don’t know what to say. They want to write the best testimonials possible to help you out, but they don’t really know how. They don’t feel confident.

When you create high quality customer testimonials that your clients agree with and are proud to put their name on, you help them avoid feeling awkward.

To accomplish this, you start by sending them a survey. This survey will give you the details and insight you need to write a testimonial your satisfied customers are proud of.

The goal is to capture the most meaningful parts of their positive experiences. Not only what’s meaningful to the person you’re sending the survey to. But also what’s meaningful to your potential customers.

How do you know what’s meaningful to your potential customers? Read on, friend.

2. Ask These 7 Customer Testimonial Questions

Helping your prospective customers trust you is the goal of all online testimonials. But what do they need to know to trust you? To understand this, let’s look at the journey each customer goes through as they do business with you.

Every existing customer who came through your website landed there because they had a problem. You’re in business because you helped them solve their problem, which means they were able to go on and live happy lives.

That’s the foundation of the protagonist’s journey. It’s the story formula that many movies follow. And it’s the story you help your customers live.

Your potential customers intuitively know that they want to move forward in their journey. To do so, they need someone to help them solve their problem so they can win the day.

The questions in your survey must uncover the specific experiences your customers had as you helped them solve their problem in their Hero’s Journey.

Here are the seven questions you can ask to discover your customer’s experiences.

  1. What was your absolute biggest challenge prior to purchasing/joining/attending?
  2. How did that challenge make you feel?
  3. What changed after purchasing/joining/attending?
  4. What specific results can you share?
  5. What would you say to somebody on the fence about purchasing/joining/attending?
  6. Anything else to add?
  7. Do you grant permission for us to feature your company and this testimonial in our marketing materials?

Download These Questions As A PDF


Once you ask these seven questions, you’ll know the most important aspects of your customer’s experience. And you’re ready to write a testimonial that helps other prospective customers trust you.

3. Write Their Testimonials (And Send Them For Feedback and Approval)

At this point, the problem you’re facing is the same as when your customers write their own testimonials. It’s so easy to write a bad one! But writing happy thoughts that mean nothing to your future customers is not your goal.

To understand how to write a great testimonial, let’s step into the world of music.

Have you ever played an instrument? One of the first things most people learn is that it’s not as easy as it looks. Just because it’s built to sound beautiful does not mean that it sounds beautiful in the hands of an amateur.

Hand your three-year-old nephew a guitar and you might find yourself grabbing your handy-dandy earplugs.

Why? What makes some sounds that guitar makes “music” and other sounds it makes “noise”?

There’s a secret here that every musician is keenly aware of: music is simply sounds subjected to rules.

There are keys you must play in, certain notes that pair well with other notes, a rhythm that must be maintained, and many more.

That guitar only makes music when the musician follows the rules.

And the same is true of words. This is why so many testimonials are just plain bad. Everyone has access to words, but not everyone knows the rules to follow to make them beautiful.

A businesswoman shares the customer review she wrote for a client, awaiting his approval

How To Write Incredible Testimonials In 3 Steps

It doesn’t matter if it’s a written or video testimonial. All testimonials should follow the same general flow as a story.

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Success

Look at the survey you sent your customer. We’ll walk through it to craft your beautiful, authority-building testimonial.

1. Start with the problem.

Use the first two questions from the survey to identify your customer’s external problem and their internal problem (the way it made them feel).

You don’t have to include both the external and internal problems, but you do need to make sure the problem is clear—i.e., can a bystander, someone who hasn’t bought your product, understand what problem this person was experiencing?

Don’t move forward until that’s a solid YES.

2. Move to the solution.

The solution is your product or service, so you already have a pretty good idea of how it works. But look at question three to gain some insight into your customers’ experience with your solution.

Remember, you’re going to send this to them for feedback and approval, so lean on their experience. We want them to feel like this testimonial represents their experience.

3. Finish with success.

This last part is all about painting a picture of what their life looks like now. What success did your product or service help them achieve?

For my customers, the main success I look for is that their business grew. This is primarily seen in its revenue stream. So the best success I can include in a testimonial is that revenue went up.

What is it for your customers? Look at question four. It’s okay to double-back and ask some follow up questions if their answer isn’t clear enough.

Look at these examples of great testimonials:

“When I initially hired Miriam, our company was struggling with interpersonal conflicts and poor communication across our sales and marketing teams. With Miriam’s help, we instituted changes that improved our communication and enabled us to collaboratively develop a global-leading simulation product. Recently, we were acquired by ANSYS and are on the path toward even greater success.”

“Before working with Patty, I’d felt so stagnant and had no vision for the future I wanted. Patty had me take a personal inventory and helped me create clear steps toward my goals. Within a few weeks, I not only discovered that I want to start a business, but I also created my LLC and started drafting a business plan. I have the clarity I always wanted!”

And that is it! You have the tools to create great testimonials that build trust with your customers and clearly demonstrate how your company helps your customers solve their problems.

A man leaves a 5-star review and writes a testimonial for a business he purchased goods from.

Testimonial Questions FAQ

Now that you’ve got the basics of how to collect testimonials that truly reflect your business’s level of customer satisfaction, you might have some questions about the finer details.

The answers to the common questions below will help you leverage customer feedback to keep your business moving forward and your revenue going up.

Is It A Good Idea To Use Video Testimonials On My Website?

Videos can make for powerful testimonials, but there’s a high chance that your visitors won’t want to sit through them. Especially if they’re more than a few seconds long.

In most cases we recommend text-based testimonials over video testimonials for this reason. They’re easy to scan, and visitors don’t need to wait for a video to load on your website.

How Long Should Each Testimonial Be?

Your testimonials should err on the shorter side. Don’t give site potential clients too much to look at. If you hit them with a wall of text, they’ll just check out before they have a chance to read your most compelling testimonials.

If you want to use a longer testimonial, turn it into a case study.

Can I Write A Testimonial On Behalf Of A Former Client?

Of course! But you can’t post it without their permission. If you do, you’re risking your relationship with the client. Plus, it’s dishonest. You may even open yourself up to other issues. An angry client could take legal action against you, or start leaving you poor reviews even if you gave them a great experience.

Can I Pay Customers To Write My Reviews?

Paying customers for positive feedback is a legal gray area at best, but most review platforms don’t allow it. We’re not lawyers, but we would never recommend using monetary incentives to get positive testimonials. In fact, the FTC recommends avoiding incentives altogether.

Looking for more tools you can use to build a website that sells? Then you’ll love the ClearBrand Website blueprint. It’s a website template that tells you exactly what to write, and where to write it. Click here to access the blueprint and start writing your website today.

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