This week’s case of Fake Testimonials by a Business in Australia raises a lot of questions about the real credibility of Customer Testimonials showcased by companies in their websites and social media.
(read about it here – $145,000 Fine for Fake Testimonials )
Faking customer endorsements is totally not worth it for the following 3 reasons
1. Its High Risk – The risk of losing credibility and the financial losses in the event of getting caught are not worth the perceived gains from providing unreal testimonials.
2. Buyers are Not Dumb – when you are buying something, you would look at a product or service as a total package. If what you are offering is crappy, no matter what fake testimonials you put on your website, no-one will buy it. even if someone buys it they will find out sooner than later, and in today’s world where everyone is connected, it will hardly take a few secs to spread the word about how crappy you are. There is only so much you can hide.
3. Are you even on the Right Path ? if you are in a situation where you have an established business, but not even a single customer who is happy and can vouch for you, then you have more serious problems. You need to seriously think if you are even in the right business and if it even worth to continue. Cut your loses. In finance parlance – you don’t spend good money to recover bad money. Be smart and smell the coffee.
Now what can you do as a business that does not want be anywhere close to the above situation ?You need to do 3 things
1. Make sure you are selling something awesome ! if you are doing something good you will always have people who will appreciate you for it. Similarly, if what you are selling is good,you will have at-least 1 happy customer ! (unless you are new in which case you are yet to have your 1st customer, which is understandable and perfectly OK. everyone starts with nil customers)
2. Set a Process to Collect Testimonials. Do not assume that you will get raving reviews without you doing your bit of outreaching to your customers and asking for one. And make sure you are having approval/written consent from your customers for what you would share in public (your website/social).
3. Make them as Real as Possible. When you put out your testimonials on your public pages make sure you have all the details that will assure people that it is real. Have real names, quotes, title, photos, video recordings, public profile (like Twitter handle, LinkedIn, Website, etc ). The more details you provide, the more it is verifiable, and the more credible your testimonials sound.
( also see
a. This awesome post by Pratik on how to make them real real – Why People Don’t Trust Your Landing Page Testimonials
b. Our earlier post of great examples of testimonials very real Best Practices: Rock-Star Customers on the Home Page)
Do a simple test – you can Google pretty much anyone these days. if you cannot find this person on Google Search, high chance it is a fake !
Summary: It is plain stupidity to have Fake Testimonials. Assuming you have at-least 1 happy customer, all you need to do is setup a process so that you can reach out your happy customers on a regular basis. And make sure to provide all real details when you put them up online.
If you have other suggestions or opinions, please do so by commenting. thanks
by Anupam Bonanthaya
Anupam Bonanthaya is an experienced Customer Success Marketer and the Founder of CustomerRivet – The Social Proof Marketing Experts
Rivet.ly – Hosted Our-Customers Page
Get More Leads and More Conversions by Optimizing the use of Testimonials, Success Stories, Case Studies, Videos, Reviews, Customer Photos, Tweets, or any other Social Proof, in your Marketing.
Ask for a Demo today to see how it can help “Transform Your Customer Success Marketing”. OR Contact Anupam Bonanthaya via LinkedIn
also see my other posts on how to get more returns with your testimonials
- Email Marketing: Testimonials help increase click through rate, and CTA conversions.
- Content Marketing: Testimonials help increase blog conversions, and get more leads.
- Landing Page Optimization: Design success story and case study page for conversion
- Best Practices: Returns (ROI) from your testimonials – reasons why measure ?
- Best Practices: Contextual testimonials – examples of features pages that rock
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