This came up during the judging of the Outstanding Virtual Assistant of the Year awards, and I wanted to throw it out there and get a response from other VAs:
Have you ever seen a bad testimonial?
Now the reason I am asking is because testimonials can be very powerful things. People see why they should hire you because the testimonial gives them a real life example of how they could use a VA. It also soothes their anxiety about sharing their precious business with someone they don’t know – hey, it can’t be that bad, this VA has worked for “George of Aldershot” and he says she’s great!
More and more VAs are building asking for a testimonial into their marketing campaigns, asking for them straight after they have completed a piece of work and often giving pointers as to what to include.
Now that’s great because it means they have a wealth of testimonials to draw from – to put on their websites, include in their sales letters, use in their marketing. But I’m just not sure about including testimonials in judging applications because I’ve never seen a bad one.
On the other hand, I know some of our clients never want to be seen publicly as using a VA. They use us to create the image of being a big company with employees and we work hard to make that integration as seamless as possible – ideally no one should ever realise we aren’t sitting right next to them in their office. They were happy to give them, but not happy to be identified.
Going back to the validity of using testimonials, what would you think if the testimonial you got was: “My VA worked adequately. She was distinctly average.” People feel compelled to give a good testimonial, especially when they are asked for them. They also don’t usually have extensive experience of working with VAs and will obviously have thought that this VA was excellent, otherwise they wouldn’t have hired them in the first place. So I always take testimonials with a large pinch of salt.
What do you think? Have testimonials worked well for your business? When do you ask for them? Am I being too harsh in my dismissing testimonials as worthless in terms of judging a good VA?