That’s why social proof like customer testimonials is so important. In fact, customer testimonials and case studies are considered the most effective content marketing tactics.

You see them on all the best websites, but how do you actually collect customer testimonials?

Here, we have a 7-step method for collecting powerful customer testimonials. It’s easy to do yourself, and the resulting testimonials will convince even the most skeptical of prospects.

Why customer testimonials are so important?

Alongside customer reviews, customer testimonials are one of the most under-utilized marketing techniques available to practically any business.

I’m always amazed when I see marketing professionals that have not bothered to do anything about collecting customer testimonials or attracting reviews. 

I previously founded a customer reviews website, and I can tell you that so many businesses confessed it was a real game-changer for them with many attributing more than 50% of their customer acquisition to customer reviews.

Of course, your own marketing messages are important, but what really makes an impact is what your customers say. Among other benefits, customer testimonials help:

  • Improve customer experience,
  • Boost customer retention,
  • Explain product features to prospects
  • Provide feedback for product improvement

So how do you ask for a testimonial? Here’s a simple 7-step process to follow:

7-Steps Process For Requesting Testimonials From Customers

requesting testimonials

An infographic showing a 7-step process for requesting testimonials from customers

1 Phone your customer

There’s no need to overcomplicate things. Simply choose a customer that you think might be a good candidate and give them a call. Ask if they can talk for a few minutes. If they’re too busy now, make arrangements for a more suitable time to talk later.

It helps if you and your team can keep a list of customers that you believe are very happy with your business and you think might be good for a testimonial.

It helps if you and your team can keep a list of customers that you believe are very happy with your business and you think might be good for a testimonial.

It helps if you and your team can keep a list of customers that you believe are very happy with your business and you think might be good for a testimonial.

How do you politely ask for a testimonial?

Ideally, you want to ask a customer for a testimonial after they have just had a positive experience with your product. But sometimes you have no way to know, so it’s best not to assume and instead tell them you would want to inquire about their general experience with your product and if they will be keen on a short interview.

2 Gauge your customer’s feedback

Analyze the customer’s feedback to determine how best to use it. 

If you discover they’re not so happy with their experience with your product, change the goal of this call and figure out what you and your team can do to make them happy!

It should be clear to you then that this feedback will not work as well as a testimonial. If they went into detail about where the product fails to meet expectations, it is absolute gold for improving the product’s features/quality.

By addressing the issues cited by the customer, you will be able to collect a much better testimonial the next time you ask for one.

If they tell you they’re happy, let them know that you’re looking for customer feedback. Click To Tweet

If they tell you they’re happy, let them know that you’re looking for customer feedback, and also potentially some quotes from customers to use in your marketing materials. (If this is a business customer, let them know that their participation would also be great exposure for them as you’d be highlighting their brand, and maybe linking to their site.)

Ask your customer if they’d be happy to be involved and spend a few minutes talking with you on the phone. Let them know that you could either do it now or arrange a more convenient time for later.

3 Conduct the customer testimonial interview

Once your customer has agreed to take a short interview, thank them for being involved and assure them you won’t take too much of their time. 

Also, explain that you’ll ask them some questions and let them know you’ll be taking notes as you go. After the interview, you’ll write up a summary of what they’ve said and email it to them to see if it’s accurate.

Ok, so what do you actually ask them? Even though your goal is to get only one or two glorious sentences as the customer testimonial, it’s best to ask quite a few questions to help you capture their most powerful comments.

The first question you ask when requesting a testimonial from a customer should show that you value their feedback, ostensibly because you want to use it to improve the product. That immediately creates a positive impression on the client, even when their experience wasn’t particularly great. You will know their feedback will at least be honest.

Your questions should elicit answers that reveal:

  • What the customer thinks you should improve on the product,
  • What customers liked about the product,
  • What else the customer feels about their experience with the product?

Some customers may prefer recording a short video instead of writing out their testimonials. Explain how they can submit their video testimonials.

What do you ask for in a customer testimonial?

Here are questions you could ask the customer to address in their testimonial:

  • “Prior to using our business / purchasing our product, what was your situation like? What motivated you to purchase our product/service?”
  • “What was it that convinced you to try our business?”, or
    “Can you describe what your experience was like using our product/service?”
  • “If you knew others in the same position as you, would you recommend our business? What would you say to other people/businesses?”
  • “After using our product/service, what sort of results have you experienced?”
  • “Can you give me some idea of the numbers around that? Even rough numbers can help a lot.” (Strongly encourage your customer to quantify their results, as these are often the most powerful statements. Think percentage improvements, time saved, cost savings, etc.)
  • “What would you say has been the best thing about working with our company?”
  • “Is there anything you would like us to change in the future?” (This question is more for your own customer insight purposes.)

As you go through the questions, make detailed notes and try to capture the actual words your customer says. Another option is to record the conversation – but if you do this, make sure you get their permission first.

Either way, after you finish your questions, let the customer know that you’ll write up your notes and condense their comments and then you’ll email them to make sure that you’ve got it right.

4 Write the customer testimonial

Read over your notes and find the juiciest phrases from your customer — these parts need to end up in your testimonial. Feel free to change the order of their comments and add context so that it makes sense. Even though you’re doing some re-writing, ensure it truly sounds like it’s their words, and not yours.

Your customer testimonial should be no longer than 2 or 3 sentences. Click To Tweet

The testimonial doesn’t need to be 100% positive though. Don’t be afraid to include some aspects that could sound slightly negative – these parts make your testimonial sound much more believable. For example, a testimonial that starts with a hesitation is very strong;

“We were initially hesitant to start xxx as we’d had bad experiences elsewhere, but since starting, we haven’t looked back. XXX has totally changed the way we…”

Likewise, a testimonial that includes one of the negative aspects of your business can also be very strong. For example;

“Although XXX is quite expensive, we are thrilled with our new xxx. We use it every day and constantly get comments from friends and neighbors.”

Or, as another example;

“I waited 3 weeks for an appointment but wow, it was worth it! Since then, I’ve been back every 6 weeks and I absolutely love….”

Your customer testimonial should be no longer than 2 or 3 sentences and depending on your situation, you may want it to be even shorter. When you’re collecting several testimonials, you should also make sure that they’re each quite different from each other – remember, each one should reflect the voice of that particular customer.

5 Get approval from your customer

Once you’re satisfied with your customer testimonial, you need to get approval from your customer. Again, don’t overthink this part! Just write them an email thanking them for their time and kind words. 

Explain to the client that you’ve now paraphrased and condensed their comments, but you’re happy to change anything they like. Also, let them know that you plan to use this in your marketing materials.

Do you need permission to use customer testimonials?

You are legally required to request a customer’s testimonial before using it for your marketing, especially if you are going to use their name, picture, or video. The request must be truthful, with the customer agreeing to its wording, as you could be charged for false advertising.

Though many businesses tend to do so, it is not proper to pull reviews from Amazon, and review sites like Yelp and paste them on your website as customer testimonials. Those reviews belong to the customer and the sites on which they are posted.

Here’s the copy for an actual email I’ve used successfully many times;

Hi <Customer Name>,

It was great to speak with you yesterday and I was so pleased to hear that everything is going well! I’ve now drafted up your comments and have included these below. Hopefully, I’ve captured the essence of what you said, but if you’d like anything changed, please just let me know (or make any edits below).

<Include your draft of the actual customer testimonial here. Make sure you include the customer name and/or business so that you can be sure you’ve got these details correct too.>

Once you’re happy with this, we’d like to promote it in our emails, website, Facebook page, and maybe other marketing collateral.

Thanks so much for your help with this – it’s very much appreciated!

All the best,


6 If possible, include a photograph

Depending on how you intend to use your testimonials, a photograph will add even more strength to your customer testimonial.

My suggestion is that you shouldn’t mention this until the end of the interview, as sometimes this can be a stumbling block. (Lots of people are quite shy about the idea of their photo being displayed, but once they’re part way through the process they’re more likely to concede!)

If you want a photograph, simply ask for this in the email above. (Or, you can offer to photograph the customer yourself.)

7 And voila! Your customer testimonial is ready

Once you receive a positive reply from your customer, that’s it! You now have a powerful customer testimonial!

Where Are Client Testimonials Used?

With your testimonials in hand, now is time to promote them and get them in front of as many prospective customers as possible. Consider including your customer testimonials in the following places;

  • Scattered through your website — especially near call-to-action prompts. This is a great article with examples of how to put testimonials on your website.
  • On the homepage of your website — front and center where no one can miss it
  • On the pricing or order page of your website
  • In your quotations or sales proposals
  • In your brochures or other printed marketing collateral
  • On the back of your business cards
  • As Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media posts (e.g. “just received these lovely words from a customer…”). Make them into an attractive image.
  • In your email signature
  • As part of your drip email sequence
  • You can even print them up large or frame them and put them on your office walls

How do you get testimonials before launch?

Customers can’t give testimonials until they have actually used the product or service. Yet, the testimonials could be exactly what you need to give the product some early traction. 

A few ways you could get customer testimonials before your product launches include:

  • Offering free trials to select people on your email/ lead list and then requesting testimonials from them,
  • Offering a beta version of the product to experts within the industry before requesting testimonials from them. This tactic is very popular in the book-publishing industry,
  • Ask for volunteers who may want to try the product for free and then request testimonials from them.

How Can a Business Use testimonials to get more customers?

Customer testimonials are a powerful form of social proof that can supercharge your marketing messages and boost your sales. Since they are more believable than your own claims on the product’s attributes, testimonials help ease hesitations prospects may have because they are coming from people like them who have actually used the product. 

But there’s another reason that you should request testimonials…. the feel-good factor for you! 

Whenever you’re feeling a bit demotivated (or downright negative!) about your business, read through your collection of customer testimonials and you’ll be sure to find some inspiration again!

Helping customers solve a problem is the main motivation for continuing to work on our businesses. Your testimonials can form part of a “brag book” or a folder on your computer where you keep all of your positive feedback. Read these over any time you doubt yourself or have forgotten why you’re in business!

Customers don’t typically freely offer their testimonials for you to use. Most usually give their feedback when they are unhappy with your product. So it’s a good idea to request them. We hope this 7-step formula for requesting testimonials from customers has given you ideas and a jumping-off point.

Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

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Fiona Adler
About Author: Fiona Adler
Fiona Adler writes about entrepreneurship at and is the founder of - a productivity tool for individuals and teams. With an MBA, multiple business successes, and a family living in a foreign country, she enjoys pushing the envelope to get the most out of life and loves helping others do the same.