The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has "Truth in Advertising Guidelines." The BBB warns that there is a section on how to comply with the FTC Act. "Endorsements used in testimonials must be truthful, not misleading and must reflect the typical experience of consumers who use the service, not the experience of just a few satisfied customers. You must also disclose any connection you or your business has with the consumer who is endorsing your service."
Never use a customer's address or telephone number on a testimonial that's shown to a prospect. We send a report card to our service company customers with five questions, one of which is, "Would you recommend our service to others?" Most cards come back with notes saying that they already have recommended us. That's the best way, when they do it voluntarily. We do not use a service company customer's testimonial to gain new customers.
Nearly all of our new customers come to us from the recommendation of someone for whom we have worked. Another way testimonials work for our service company is being recommended by Angie's List or the Better Business Bureau. New customers often check with these two consumer organizations about our history. We've had a good record with the BBB since 1973 and "Angie's List" since she bought out Unified Neighbors in Carmel, Indiana.
As for all the hoopla over points and awards for customers, just remember that people are tiring of all the work they have to do to qualify for a "spiff" or to gain points for different products and services. Everything we do today seems to have a hoop we must jump through or a club we have to join in order to quality for special treatment.
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