Bad customer testimonials or poor interviewing techniques?


Nervous person at an interview


Over the years I’ve recorded countless customer video testimonials. I’ve witnessed gut wrenching, tear jerking stories but also the polar opposite where people begrudgingly spit back yes and no answers. Clients are sometimes quick to blame the interviewee but in some cases, it’s the interviewer’s fault. Before pointing fingers, keep in mind that interviewing people isn’t always easy and being the person in the hot seat is no picnic either.

Many people feel doing a testimonial is like interviewing for a job. There’s lots of pressure, you want to give correct answers and you want to escape as soon as possible. Early on you need to convey that’s not the case and all the statements will be edited to make them look and sound great. Print journalists are great interviewers since their job is to produce quality stories. Veteran news reporters have mastered the craft of asking great questions. For example, let’s say you need to cover a local fire and you know the cause of the blaze was a cigarette. They don’t go running up to the victim and say “so this all started with a cigarette, tell me more.” You learn to be sensitive and ask “how did this all happen?”

In the business world, people tend use the first approach and then struggle to understand why they get bad testimonials. I hear people ask “you’ve been using our software since 2015 with good results, tell me more.” Unknowingly, you just stole their answer by using statements they may have planned on using.

The solution is simple and it’s worth repeating: “it’s a conversation, not an interview.” Every interviewer is tasked with a list of questions companies want answered, but as an editor/producer/cameraman, I strive for impact. Listen and maintain eye contact with your subject to engage, create trust and put your subject at ease. Lastly, don’t rush the process. I would rather miss a flight and get a phenomenal story than rush back with mediocrity.

Contact us today to get great stories from your most passionate customers. or 978.338.5699