What else can you do with customer testimonials?

RARE Business

A few weeks ago whilst at the UK Customer Experience Awards I bumped into Derek Williams of The Wow! Awards. I interviewed him here on the blog a while ago in Customer Service, Customer Experience and Measuring How Your Company Feels.

We were having a chat when he showed me an article that he had just recently read called How Customers Can Rally Your Troops by Adam M. Grant that was printed in the June 2011 Edition of the Harvard Business Review (HBR). He was very excited as he said that he thought that the article could have been written as a promotional tool extolling the virtues of his business, The Wow! Awards.

Interested to find out more about the article, I went off and bought a copy. HBR lets you read the first part of the article and then charges you around $7 for a copy. Also, on the website they do have a ‘The Idea in Brief’ section. Here’s what it said:

“The Idea in Brief

Leaders who connect employees with end users motivate higher performance, measured in terms of revenue as well as supervisors’ ratings. Research shows that when leaders are the sole source of inspiring messages, employees often question whether the messages are true. End users, in contrast, are seen as credible sources who can deliver convincing testimonials of their experiences with a company’s offerings.

Customers, clients, patients, and others who benefit from a company’s products and services motivate employees by serving as tangible proof of the impact of their work, expressing appreciation for their contributions, and eliciting empathy, which helps employees develop a deeper understanding of customers’ needs.

Leaders can “outsource inspiration” to end users (both past and present) by collecting their stories, inviting them to the organisation, introducing them to employees, and recognising employees who make a difference in customers’ lives.”

Source: How Customers Can Rally Your Troops, Adam M. Grant, Harvard Business Review, June 2011.

What do you think? Going to go off and buy a copy of the article? I’d recommend it it as there are some great ideas in the article.

For me, one of the things that really stood out was the stories about the use of customer testimonials.

Now, gathering testimonials from customers are essential parts of running a customer centric organisation and are often only used to provide ‘social proof’ that we, as businesses, are good to deal with. Often, they are collected and owned by marketing departments and are not used in any other capacity.

However, what the article was suggesting was that testimonials be used and communicated across your organisations to give customers real voices, to allow your team members, particularly those that do not deal directly with customers, to see how what they do, however small, makes a difference and fits into the ‘bigger picture’.

Reminded me of a story that I was once told about a traveller who came a across a group of men working by the side of the road, all doing the same job. When asked what they were doing. The first man replied that he was a stonecutter, the second replied that he was a highly skilled mason and the third replied that he was building cathedrals. The original, long version is here.

Leaders often struggle with questions about how they, themselves, can motivate their team to higher levels of productivity, innovation and performance. However, simple ways, like giving testimonials a voice inside your company, can connect our employees with our customers, increase motivation, productivity, service leading to better overall performance.

Can you think of other uses of testimonials?

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