The Value of Customer Opinions
and Testimonials

by Val Dunlop, Vapor Systems


As the founder of Vapor Systems, a company that markets nationwide a device that cleans, sanitizes, and deodorizes using only ordinary tap water, I have tried many different ways to grow my online business. I've tried everything from banner ads to trading links to search engine submissions, but what I personally found to be most effective is asking satisfied customers to write a short review of our product.

Many months ago, we started asking potential customers who called with questions how they heard about us. Although we did not know it at the time, someone had published a positive review of our product line on Amazon.com. This, we learned, was the source of many of the inquiries we received. And this got us thinking.

Vapor Systems is fortunate to receive a number of kind emails on a regular basis. We find it easy to tell from the tone of these emails which customers would be happy to publish a short review about us on the Web. After some investigation, we found that ePinions.com is a place many consumers visit before making a purchase.

Our original thought was to direct our customers to the ePinions site. We still do this, but for those customers who are willing to use their real name instead of an ePinions-like moniker, we have turned to publishing their testimonials on our site. We have found that doing a small favor, such as providing a replacement part at no cost, will cause customers to want to write a testimonial. For example, we recently received a very kind letter from a customer in Massachusetts. This customer wrote to ask how to purchase a replace attachment. She ended her email with: "I love this product--everything smells so clean without that chemical smell!"

We promptly responded by saying that we would send her the replacement part at no cost. And this is the response we received when we asked if we could use her comments as a testimonial: "Thank you. You most certainly may use parts of my email as a testimonial. I love this product! I have mold allergens and I have an asthmatic kitty and we both appreciate the relief the Vapor Vac give us!" We added her comments that very day to our testimonial page.

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Editor's Note: After receiving Val's message, I asked her to explain how a review as general as "steam vs. vapor," could lead to sales. She explained: "Our experience shows that many people looking to buy a vapor steam cleaner first do a search in Google or Yahoo to locate a merchant. For example, here is a link to a customer review on ePinions about steam vs. vapor that has translated into sales for us. This review is a reason some people say they have picked us to do business with."

 

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