Even though they aren’t my own honeyed words, sharing someone else’s praise about my work feels like I’m bragging by proxy.
That ‘icky’ feeling is why I generally choose to let people talk about me behind my back, instead. The vast majority of my customers get in touch because “I’ve heard about you...” from some hazy location or other (I know it’s a big marketing no-no, but I hardly ever ask where.)
I’ve got no idea if my review-reluctance is harming my business or not. When I Google “should I share my customer reviews?” most of the responses are from slick marketing consultants and social media gurus, who talk about using them to boost my website’s SEO. Some say I should use them to build trust.
But how many is too much, and when does trust switch to irritation?
We all know that person, after all… the one who clogs your social media feed with glowing review after golden comment; so much so that you start to wonder if they’re directing the words themselves.
(I once worked somewhere that insisted I gave a card with my name on it to every customer I dealt with, so they could “say something nice about you” on a dedicated review site later on. It made me feel like a dog begging for a bone.)
I also think depending on how other people choose to rate you online can be worrying… especially when, as the FT reported recently, one employer actually tried to incorporate candidates’ Uber ratings into their hiring decisions.
Here’s where I mention that I’m a total hypocrite, though, because I’m always telling my customers and friends that they should shout any praise they get from the rooftops. That’s because I know just how good they are at what they do, and as they say, “no-one else is going to do it for you!”
How do we get past that ‘icky’ feeling, then?
I think a good start could be not to share just for sharing’s sake. Curate good reviews instead, so that each one says something different – and specific – about the way you work, and the finished result.
(It’s always nice when people say we’re nice, but potential customers would probably also like to know if we’re any good at our jobs.)
But if the ickiness means you’d rather not share any reviews at all, don’t worry. Word always manages to find its way around about the right people to work with… as well as the ones you should avoid.
Maybe I’m alone in thinking this, but I’d rather work with someone who has no testimonials at all, than too many suspiciously glowing ones.
For example, I recently hired a gardener after he put a leaflet through my door (a case of right place, right time!) I’d also looked him up online, and although there were precious few comments about his work, he seemed to take a lot of pride in it. He’d also been in business for a long time, which I took to mean that if he was awful then someone, somewhere would have mentioned it by now.
Anyway, this gardener did such a good job that when he’d finished, I offered to write him a review myself.
“Oh, I don’t bother with fluff like that,” he laughed. “I just concentrate on doing a good job, and luckily, that means I keep getting work.”