I recently asked a marketing director about customer testimonials on his company website. He openly said, "The testimonials aren't real, I made them up. Everybody else does it, so why can't we?"

My second thought, after "Two wrongs don't make a right," was "Aren't you in the business of building trust? What does that say about your company?"

A company builds trust in three ways: the way it creates and delivers products, its values, and how it communicates its values into the marketplace.

One thing that's common to all those is putting the customer No. 1; and to do that, having empathy for the customer is vital. Empathy is all about putting yourself in their shoes: What are their pain points? What are their motivators? What do they consider great customer service?

That third point, what customers consider great customer service, is the basis of any great customer testimonials.

Testimonials can be inbound (customers want to provide testimonials, participate in a case study, be a reference, etc.) or outbound (we approach our customer to give that great "thumbs up").

The following are seven ways we, as marketers, can make it easy to get great customer testimonials.

1. Build and deliver great products

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image of Sue Duris

Sue Duris is president of M4 Communications Inc., a Palo Alto, CA-based marketing strategy and communications firmthat helps technology, entertainment and nonprofit organizations build and extend their brands. Reach her via sduris@m4comm.com.

Twitter: @M4_Comm
LinkedIn: Sue Duris