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Are Testimonials Worthless?

This post originally appeared in the eFuneral Funeral Director Blog.

 

The funeral home testimonial section is one of the staples of most funeral home websites.  Quite often, it’s one of the only ways that a funeral home is able to communicate the experience that other families have had with the funeral home in the past.  Whether it’s taking positive comments that families have made about the funeral service and re-posting it on the website – or even sharing PDF versions of letters that families have sent in – there are certainly a number of ways that a funeral home can share testimonials with others.

There’s just one problem:  Most people don’t trust static testimonials.

 

In a recent survey we completed using Ask Your Target Market, an independent market research company, we asked the following question to over 600 individuals throughout the United States over the age of 35:  “How Trustworthy are Testimonials Found on a Funeral Home’s Website?”

 

The results?

 

Only 28% of respondents found funeral home testimonials to be somewhat trustworthy (22.3%) or very trustworthy (5.7%).  The remaining 72% of respondents were either unsure, or found the testimonials to be downright untrustworthy.

 

What, exactly, does this mean?

 

First, let me assure you what it doesn’t mean.  This doesn’t mean that these respondents find funeral homes and funeral directors to be untrustworthy.  The reality is that it’s simply difficult to trust a testimonial that is only going to get published when it’s positioning your business in a positive way.  The most common reasons given why funeral home testimonials aren’t found to be trustworthy include:

  • The funeral home likely only posted the most positive testimonials (44.7%).
  • A third party hasn’t verified that the testimonials have come from actual funeral customers (30%).

So if testimonials don’t do a great job in communicating what other families’ experiences have been with your funeral home, what can you do to showcase the positive service you’ve provided to others?  Here are a couple of ideas:

  1. Use social media to solicit input and feedback from people you’ve served – and direct potential customers to these outlets.  One great thing about Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms is that they allow individuals to share their perspective on products and businesses.  What’s better for you is that when a perspective is shared on Facebook or Twitter, it’s done independently, but not anonymously.  Showing positive feedback from independent sources on independent platforms could help gain the trust of others.
  2. Conduct regular surveys with your customers – and post the results.  I don’t just mean the positive results.  In order to truly gain the trust of your customers, you have to be honest about the feedback you’ve received.  It’s a good idea to use a 3rd party to verify the results of the surveys you completed, as well.
  3. You could also actively solicit reviews from people that you’ve served on independent review websites that exist — such as Yelp, Google Places, etc.  These websites will allow anybody to leave a review for pretty much anything.  They are independent sources, so the people that read the reviews will probably not suspect the review website of having any sort of hidden agenda.  That said, websites like this are more known for their reviews about restaurants and hotels.  Also, these review websites generally don’t confirm that the person leaving a review is actually a customer of the company being reviewed.  These websites mostly rely on a self-policing community and “the honor system” to ensure that the reviews are valid — so be careful.  However, reviews are meaningful.  Some people assume that people will only leave a review online when they have a negative experience – but this has found to be untrue.  Worried about a negative review?  Don’t be – there are ways that you can manage them if they do happen.
To learn more ways about how you can use the internet to build confidence from others online and generate new revenue from undecided families, you can sign up for our free webinar – which takes place this Thursday, June 28th or visit the eFuneral Funeral Director Blog.

Mike Belsito

Mike Belsito is the Co-Founder of eFuneral, an online portal that helps generate new revenue for funeral homes by connecting them to undecided families in their area.eFuneral launched in February, 2012 in Northeast and Central Ohio.

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