The 5 Essential Interview Questions for Customer Testimonials
The 5 Essential Interview Questions for Customer Testimonials

The 5 Essential Interview Questions for Customer Testimonials

B.J. Eick October 04, 2019

You solve problems for your customers. So, behind every customer you have, there's a success story that you'd like to share with the world. Gathering high-impact customer testimonials is easy. Whether the medium is film, audio, or written word, the only thing you need to capture a great testimonial are the following five questions.


1.Tell me who you are, what you do and where you're from. This question establishes a connection between your customer and the people who will watch their testimonial. It serves as an opening, a greeting, and establishes your customer as an expert whose opinion is worthy of consideration by the viewer or reader. 

Many people wear a lot of different hats in life, so just remember that your customer's answer for the "what you do" part should pertain to their role as it relates your product, company, or service. Oftentimes, I'll just get the info and say it to them exactly how I want them to say it. For example, I might say, "I want you to tell me who you are, what you do and where you're from. So, say "I'm Pistol Pete. I'm a college mascot from Stillwater, Oklahoma." 

2. What problem were you looking to solve when you found (product, company, or service)?  This question establishes a need for your product in the marketplace. Every product should solve a problem, and every problem is a success story waiting to happen. One of the key ingredients in a great testimonial is exposing how your product helped your customer solve their problem. The bigger the challenge you helped the customer solve, the stronger the testimonial will be.

If you need help communicating the problem your company, product, or service solves, send me an e-mail to talk about scheduling a Herdmark Media Story Session.

3. What happened when you tried (product, company, or service)?  This question is the heart of the testimonial. It is your customer's chance to testify that your product actually works. If someone is willing to give you a testimonial, it's usually because something really good happened to them when they tried your product. Be willing to endure the silence and wait for all the information to come out.  If they don't give you a strong answer right away, feel free to offer up a quick, "What else?" to encourage them to continue,. You can always circle back around and try for a stronger delivery if needed.  

4. After (summarize positive attributes noted in last answer), what did you do (or what happened) next?  This question reaffirms the customer's belief in your product. "What did you do next" implies that, after trying the product and seeing positive results, the customer was in a position to take further action. "What happened next" often applies to service testimonials, or one-time-use products, where the customer wasn't required, or couldn't, take another action step to achieve even greater results. 

5. Who would you recommend (product, company or service) to?  This question allows your customer to cast a net on your behalf, inviting other people, just like them, into your fold. It reaffirms a need for the product in the marketplace and provides a strong closing argument for your product. 


That's it! Use these five questions the next time you're gathering a testimonial and let me know how they worked for you!  In the meantime, below are few additional Pro Tips that came to mind from our experience capturing testimonials. 

Pro Tip #1: A strong testimonial doesn't take long to capture. It's always a good idea to spend a minute (off-camera if you're filming) getting a good handle on what the customer's answers will be before you ask the questions.  This will help you lead them to a stronger answer, fluidly delivered, by allowing you to customize the conversation to their specific experience and results. The questions don't change, but you can use the tidbits you picked up in the pre-interview to charge the conversation with energy and make your customer feel more comfortable about their answers. 

Pro Tip #2: If there's not a really important change that took place at question #3, then there's not a lot of reason for the testimonial to be long. There's nothing wrong with a 15 second testimonial or a three part answer that can be crafted into a single  strong sentence for print. In fact, it's usually more impactful this way unless there's a strong underlying story that's begging to be told. 

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