Testimonials are an essential part of building and marketing your business.

Think about it: Who better to sell your services or products for you than satisfied clients and customers? However, without a manageable customer testimonial process to help you procure and organize testimonials, you’ll likely find yourself scrambling whenever you need fresh ones.

Worry not! With a little preparation and a dash of organization, you can create a systematized customer testimonial process to help with requesting, collecting, and eventual use of fresh testimonials. Then, the next time you need one, it’ll be right at your fingertips.

So let’s get started with the unpacking!

When to Request

The first step is to decide when you want to request testimonials. There is no “perfect” time to do this but consider your workflow with clients. It can make sense to request your testimonial after the first big win when clients are excited and loving their results.

There may also be an opportune time based on your process with clients. This is another benefit of productizing your services since you know the exact path you will take them on.

Once you decide when to request the testimonials, the next step is to automate the request process as much as possible. Establishing a customer testimonial process needs to be as simple as possible so that it actually gets done.

This could mean simply scheduling a reminder for yourself or actually automating something that goes out to the client. There are pros and cons to automation, so be sure to consider both sides.

What to Ask

The next step in establishing your customer testimonial process is to decide what questions to ask to get the feedback you need. Take time to think about what you’re looking for from your clients or customers and craft your questions to help elicit that.

Start by considering typical questions or objections you get from potential clients about working with you. If you can address these with real testimonials, it will help you to answer their concerns more effectively. Keep in mind typical results your clients get as well — do they lose weight, get more clients, increase revenue, or get happier? Again, craft questions that will help elicit these types of responses from them.

In addition, think about any other uses you’ll have for their testimonials once you’ve gotten them. If you’d like to document their permission to share, consider adding it to your initial request. Similarly, if you like to use a photo of them, consider requesting it here as well.

Build the Form (or Canned Email)

Depending on the volume of testimonials you’re looking to secure and how you want to request the testimonials, you’ll likely need some templated method of gathering the information. This could be a form you build using something like Google Forms, Type Form, or Survey Monkey. It could also be a templated email you simply copy and paste each time you want to send.

There is no correct answer when it comes to form versus email request — choose what works for you — and put it together so it’s ready to use. Remember, your customer testimonial process is yours, so you get to decide what makes the most sense for your business.

Pro-tip: If you opt for a form, consider adding a picture upload option so you can easily request and collect photos.

Prep the Email Requests

In addition to the questions and details of how you’ll use the testimonials, you’ll want to prep some basic emails to send, remind, and confirm receipt. You may also need to send testimonials for approval if that’s part of your process.

Invest the time upfront and draft any emails you’ll need during the customer testimonial process — it’ll pay off in spades.

Prep the Storage

After you decide what and how you’ll request the pieces, you want to be sure you know what to do with them. There’s nothing worse than knowing you have something but not being able to locate it.

So, pick a specific location to store all of your written testimonials as well as any images or videos you end up with. If you already have an ops folder, consider creating a testimonial subfolder where you can put everything.

Depending on the length and number of testimonials, a single doc that you copy/paste to might make sense. But, if you have very long responses or are going the form route, having individual docs for each person may be better. If this is the case, be sure to decide on a naming convention so each one is easily found and you can still identify them after six months have passed!

Pro-tip: Explore your options for automating the storage. If you are using a Google Form, for instance, you could set up a Zap to notify you upon submission as well as to save a copy to a specific location. It only takes a few minutes to set up and will save you a ton of time in the long run. Plus, it’ll make sure it always happens!

Document Your Customer Testimonial Process

Now that you’ve decided on all the steps and created your various pieces, be sure to document it all in a working system. Create a step-by-step procedure that lays out your workflow and links to any relevant pieces you or your team need to complete the process. This keeps everyone on the same page — plus it serves as a resource to ensure none of the steps get missed.

You can also use your system as a training tool for new team members involved in the process. (Read my post here on why setting up systems for your business is worth the effort.)

Set Up and Automate

The only thing left is to connect all the pieces together! Automate whatever steps of the process you have to simplify matters.

Start Collecting — and Using — Your Testimonials!

Yay! You’ve completed your prep, process, and set up, so now it’s time to start collecting.

If you have some clients who haven’t given you testimonials in the past, consider asking them now. This is a great way to test out your customer testimonial process, so you can tweak anything that needs adjusting. As you get new clients or customers, you now have an easy to use request system at your fingertips!

Testimonials serve not only to help you close new business but also to remind you how amazing and skilled you really are! If you’re ever questioning your value or the value of your products, take some time to review the results you help people to achieve. This is a great reminder of all that you do!

Customer testimonials should always be part of your marketing strategy. Here’s how to set up a customer testimonial process.