«Return to Blog List What’s Better – Customer Feedback or Vendor Success Stories?
As buyers, we need help making decisions. There are just too many options.
My last post revealed my own decision anxiety, multiplied when there are no customer reviews or success stories for me to rely on.
From personal experience, reviews help us make decisions faster and feel more confident about them.
But what’s the difference between customer feedback a la Amazon or eBay compared to vendor-produced case studies and success stories? And how can companies benefit from both?
Smart companies today ask you for your feedback. They email you after a purchase requesting that you follow a link and “rate and review” the product or service.
- Feedback is raw, real, unpolished information right from customers.
- Customers are free to share their negative experiences.
- Any grammar errors or typos are still there, adding to the authenticity.
- It’s free-form, so customers talk about what is important to them, usually without any prompting questions.
- As a short review, it only takes a few minutes.
- There may be a shortage of free-form reviews on higher-end solutions (i.e. $1 million ERP software implementation).
- That content isn’t leveraged beyond showing up on review sites.
- Cheap or free for vendors.
Vendor Case Studies & Success Stories
Case studies and success stories, produced by the vendor company, formally capture a customer’s experience.
- Vendors reach out to their most successful customers, so no negative stories.
- Prospective customers see them as more slick or “commercial” than raw feedback.
- Customers agree to share their story formally and publicly.
- Formal interviews draw out specific aspects of the customer’s experience.
- The story format engages readers in a different way, taking the audience through challenge, solution and resolution – allowing prospects to better see themselves in those stories.
- Results are measured – to the extent possible.
- Once approved, the content can be used in various formats – press releases, stand-alone testimonials, award applications, etc.
- Takes more money and time.
In today’s buying climate, you need these customer experiences to help buyers.
What do you choose?
Both. Ideally, your prospective customers can find free-form feedback on the web AND review more formalized, comprehensive, measurable stories about customer experiences.
Customers today benefit from both. The first provides more AUTHENTICITY and the second much-desired DETAIL – both critical pieces of a buying decision.
In fact, make both a part of your marketing plan:
- Give happy customers links to online feedback sites.
- Approach those same happy customers about documenting their stories more extensively in print, audio or video.
- Send prospects to sites with customer feedback (hopefully it’s good!) and to stories on your website.
Regardless of what mix you choose, always ensure that you give prospects access to other customers’ experiences. You can help them get past indecision.
What’s your take? What do prospects gain from free-form feedback versus vendor stories?