“Get Testimonials”, “Build Authority”, “Become an Influencer”. These silly little business quips that make their way into every startup self-help book all sound great but they leave out a difficult step in the process.
You know, the part of HOW you actually do it.
Usually when we write blog posts we share some technical information, but every so often I get the idea stuck in my head that I know a thing or two about business and write up one of these little posts about the business side of running your own MSP.
Today’s topic is on getting testimonials.
The problem with testimonials
Getting a customer to say you did a good job is hard enough. I like to think that all of you, our partners, work hard and do your very best to keep your clients happy.
In fact, you probably hear clients say phrases to you all the time like: “I don’t know what we’d do without you guys.” Or “You really saved my bacon!” Or “I’m just glad you were able to figure it out.”
Getting positive feedback is great, but when you ping them and say: “Hey, could you write up a quick testimonial about our company?” They suddenly clam up and you either get nothing but static or you get a testimonial that looks like the following:
“This company is great.”
Usually with some misspellings thrown in for good measure.
Or maybe they name one of your technicians, or you by name. Regardless, the testimonial says nothing about your technical skills, the problems your company solves, or how you saved the day.
The secret ingredient to getting killer testimonials
I was having a conversation about a week ago with a partner on this very topic. He was a new MSP and trying to build up a little credibility. He had a few clients under his belt but needed a bunch more before he could go full time into the business.
His complaints were much like the above. He needed his clients to say the things he was amazing at, but they didn’t know how or what to say. And the few testimonials he did get were horribly simple.
Here was my suggestion to him, and my suggestion to you all as well.
Write the review for them.
I figured out long ago, that if I want a solid review from a client, I could simply write the text for them. We’ve all heard people say it: “Just write something up and I’ll sign it.”
Instead of saying: “Hey, could you give a testimonial for how we did?” Just skip to the end of that conversation and do it for them.
You can say: “Hey, I’m glad that we were able to help you guys with this issue this past week. If you don’t mind, we’re currently trying to build some testimonials for our MSP and I was wondering if you would like to contribute? I took the liberty of writing up a few sentences related to our recent support for you. If you want to check them out, you can edit them to your liking, or simply let me know if you don’t want to give a testimonial. Otherwise, if you like it, let me know and we’ll add it to our testimonials!”
(Or give them a link to publish to a public review site such as your Google My Business page).
Now your client has to write two words to give your company a glowing endorsement. “Looks good.”
Your clients will suddenly become 3x as verbose and descriptive about how your company was able to interact with them. More-over, instead of using your name or the name of a technician. They will use your company’s name to refer to you which improves your brand and makes your company appear larger than it might be (I know many of us are one, two, or three person shops).
When to apply this technique
Realistically, you could do this at any point during your MSP’s growth. As you create systems for your company, it probably makes sense to build in a review process for your customers to give feedback. There are dozens of services out there that will help you collect proper feedback on how you’re doing for your clients.
Sometimes you will get negative feedback. It happens. Even if you are doing an incredible job. It is vitally important to listen to that feedback and make sure you’re doing everything you can to be an all-star MSP.
This process of collecting testimonials really is best employed with your favorite clients. Or, use it with everyone when you’re small.
But if you have dozens of tickets coming through every day, it might make sense to keep this technique for the best of the best clients so you can get glowing reviews from people who you know are going to have nice things to say.
For other clients, you can employ a “Review Gate” where you request feedback and then filter positive reviews to public channels, and negative reviews to private channels where you can work to win back trust and loyalty. But that is a topic for another blog post. If you want to know how to setup a review gate, leave a comment and let me know and maybe I’ll do a part 2 here :).
For now, I hope this little tidbit has been helpful. I’ve successfully used this many times. It is a great way to get some quality testimonials from clients without worrying about being beholden to their own perspective of my company and services. I want endorsements that answer questions for new prospects so when people come to see what we do, they can see we’re solving problems that they have. Detailed and strong reviews will really help the sales process and help convince new prospects to sign on and become clients.