How was it for you?

How to ask for testimonials if you’re self-employed or in business

When it comes to asking for feedback and testimonials, there’s no two ways about it: the request for feedback needs to come first.

Here’s why:

Feedback = information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.

Testimonial = a formal statement testifying to someone’s character and qualifications; a public tribute to someone and to their achievements.

If you’re self-employed or in business and you’re going to ask someone for a testimonial, you need to have clear evidence from them that they have enjoyed your product or service.  

Why would you want to ask someone to give you a good testimonial if you haven’t first checked whether they’re happy?

To do so presumes that (a) that they’ve had a good experience and (b) that they’re happy to tell others about it.

Your presumption may be wrong on both counts.

And if it is, that will be bad for your relationship with your customer and, consequently, bad for your business.  Which rather defeats the purpose of asking in the first place.

Make sure they’re happy first

The only way to be sure that your customer is happy is by asking for feedback first. And you should only ask for feedback once you’ve fulfilled your contract with them. 

If the feedback is good, you can take the next step of asking whether they’d be willing to provide a testimonial.

If the feedback is not so good, then you need to go back to the drawing board and work on improving the product or service. The client or customer has done you a massive favour which will help you to provide a better product or service in the longer term.

Get it right: feedback first!

Make sure you get it right: ask for feedback first along the lines of:

  • What was the problem they had when they first came to you?
  • Where are they now in relation to it?
  • How has your product or service helped?
  • What needs to be improved or refined?

Let them know you care about what they think. They’re much more likely to become loyal customers if they know that you want them to have a good experience as much as you want to earn a living!

Self-employment and business start-up have all sorts of potential pitfalls like the above. If you’re thinking about either of them seriously and would like to talk your ideas through before taking the plunge, please feel free to get in touch for an initial chat.

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