Over the holidays a moving company in Vancouver wrote in their blog about the Death of the Testimonial. While Google would take exception to that, having, allegedly, put in an offer for Yelp for $500M, the point that the moving company seems to have issue with is that, encouraged by our ‘overcaffinated sales rep’, old testimonials were appearing on his competitors pages.
But what’s wrong with an old testimonial? We’ve discussed in this blog about how when a testimonial is 10-15 years old, it not much use to a consumer, but the ones he’s referring to are maybe months old. As a user and reader, I do care how a company has done a few months ago. Even up to a year ago, especially if it’s with the same company management.
As users of HomeStars know, we are adamant about making sure the reviews are real reflections of homeowners experiences. If a company can find an old testimonial (but not too old) they can ask the person who wrote the testimonial to put it up on HomeStars. It does reflect the work of the company, and it’s important to a homeowner to know about the experience.
Perhaps the point he’s making is questioning whether it’s okay to ask a customer for a testimonial. We think it is. There’s no shame in asking for a referral or a testimonial. In the world of social media, I’ll judge people on their interactions with other people, and if companies interact well with their consumers, (and also respond to their reviews) those are the companies I want to do business with.
On the point of transparency, we try and be as transparent as we can be at HomeStars. Reviewers mostly opt to be anonymous, which we allow them to do, but many of them give their full names and addresses. We do our best to make sure that the reviews are real on our end. In our upcoming releases we’ll be allowing communication between homeowners through the site. So if you want to ask further details about a job or reviewer, that option will be available. It’s all part of opening up transparency, one of our mandates.
He’s right by saying readers should be skeptical of reviews. Of course they should. But volume counts. A company like Emerald Moving in Toronto now has over 90 reviews, and in his market, Vancouver, Rain City Moving has over 18. That’s some amount of testimonials, and likely to be real, or real enough for users.
So go ahead. Find some customers from last year. Ask them to write a testimonial for your company? You can even ask them to be transparent about the date of the job. It all helps other homeowners find the best companies to hire for their next move or home renovation.
Feel free to comment your thoughts. (City Move Blog doesn’t allow comments.., alas)