Getting great customer video testimonials is highly dependent on asking the right questions. This is doubly important if you’re using video testimonial software with a remote collection process, because you won’t be there to tailor follow-up questions on the fly if customers or clients don’t give you the answer you want the first time.
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Not to mention: One kind of business will require completely different questions than another to prompt a powerful testimonial.
But just because you need to ask the right questions doesn’t mean you need a long list of questions. On the contrary — this process is different from in-depth, in-person interviews.
Besides trying to get the answers you want, the testimonial collection process should be as frictionless as possible so participants will actually respond on their own.
So, instead of giving you a long list of questions you can choose from, we’re going to explain how to write your own; including how to structure your list of questions and what kind of questions to ask.
We want to help you come up with your own heavy-hitters — and we’ll explain why you should keep it to just a few.
In this article, we’ll explain:
- How to structure questions (or, why they should be simple and few).
- What kind of content they should contain.
- How to apply those guidelines with specific examples.
We’re going to walk you through the process using our platform, Vocal Video, to show you how to use each set of questions in this process.
Vocal Video provides easy, automated, remote collection of customer testimonial videos. This includes the ability to quickly and easily edit and apply your own branding to get high-quality testimonials you can publish to social media or your website.
We also provide 33 templates of questions to send to your customers or clients to get the best customer video testimonials, so you don’t even have to write your own — just select a template and go.
Give Vocal Video a try for free for 14 days, no credit card required, by signing up here.
Structure: Keep It Short and Sweet
When we say to keep it “short and sweet,” what we mean is “think about your audience and their time and effort”.
This includes the length of each question as well the number of questions used, though we do think the length can vary depending upon your relationship with your respondents and what kind of respondents they are.
Each Question Should Be Short and Sweet
Based on the response patterns we’ve seen in Vocal Video, and our personal experience, one of the best ways to structure a video testimonial is to ask one question at a time, and then allow the respondent to record their answer before moving on to the next question.
Each question should be short and simple, without too much text or too many answers to provide, so that participants don’t get overwhelmed.
This keeps your audience engaged because they don’t have a long list of questions to respond to all at once, which might be easy to forget.
And it’s not that complicated answers lead to bad answers — it’s that if each question is too long or complicated, you won’t get answers at all.
Remember: this isn’t a market research survey; it’s a quick customer testimonial. It’s all about making this process as frictionless as possible so that you can get quality testimonials from your customers.
A solid rule of thumb is to keep each question to one short sentence.
Don’t Ask Too Many Questions
Just because you’re keeping questions short doesn’t mean you can therefore include a ton of them.
Keeping the list of questions short is also helpful for ensuring participants actually answer all the questions you send them.
Generally, we suggest using between one and three questions, with an absolute maximum of five questions.
Keep in mind that Vocal Video can also be used with more than just clients or customers. Need employee videos for recruiting purposes? These guidelines work great for this application.
But you don’t want to take up valuable employee time answering a laundry list of questions for your marketing department.
Here’s one example of a short, two-question survey that would be great for employee testimonial video collection:
After customers and employees, another great respondent for video collection is C-Suite execs, industry experts, and influencers.
Whether your own CEO wants to go on video about your service, or an expert in your industry, or an influencer who has a perspective that would be highly valuable for your audience — it’s great to capture that in a short video.
This may be one of the few times where it’s a good idea to utilize a multi-part question, because it only requires them to record one response, as opposed to answering two or three simpler questions:
In the above example, we suggest asking the participant to introduce themselves, tell us why they purchased the product, and describe what they like about it, all in one question.
Again, this is specific to the kind of respondent we’re sending an interview to, because we’re trying to consolidate answers to save them a recording step and save them time.
Remember: This isn’t a written survey with one distinct answer to every question. So sometimes, it might be better to have one multi-part question rather than making the respondent answer multiple times. Another option is allowing them to choose which aspect is easier for them to talk about (plus then, you’ll get a better video).
It’s also better to send fewer questions to respondents who you think may have more to say, because they might talk much longer on each question.
If a participant is the type who might invest three to five minutes on one question, then sending them three questions is a much heavier lift for them than if you send three questions to someone who only talks for one minute at a time.
Keep Your Relationship with Your Customers in Mind
Another important aspect about your relationship with the respondent is what kind of customer they are.
Are they a B2C customer you don’t know personally or a high-touch B2B client that your company has invested in a strong relationship with?
If you’re working with your client personally for months, for example, your relationship with them will hold more weight than a customer who purchased a five-dollar item on an impulse buy. And this should affect how you structure your questions to clients, such as how simple or complex they are, and how many you include.
This is reflected in the kinds of templates we provide and how they’re organized. Vocal Video provides a library of 33 sets of interview questions, organized by type:
You can use these templates as-is, or you can start with one and edit, add, or remove questions as you need. This makes putting together a list of questions that much easier, because they’re already right there for you in the “New Video Collector” creator.
Want to start out from scratch and use our tips to write your own without a template? Select “Start from Scratch” to skip right to inputting your own questions.
Content: Think Backward from Your Goal
If you’ve mastered the art of keeping your list of questions short and to the point, the next step is getting to the meat of what needs to be asked. It’s important to get it right.
Think Backward from Your Goal
The best way to ask the perfect questions is to start by asking yourself what you want from the video.
An easy way to figure this out is to ask, “If I were to get the perfect response from this respondent, what would they say?”
When you know the answer, try to work backward to the questions that will illicit that response.
Thinking backward in this manner will help you focus on what would be the most powerful customer quote to put on your website and then construct the question that will help you get it from a participant.
This goal can be as simple as, “We want customers to tell us how we made their life better,” then asking, “How did our product/service make your life better?”
For instance, if you’re creating sales enablement content (such as a quote that a salesperson could use at the very end of the sales process), you might want a clip of a customer talking about saving $100,000 by using your product.
Therefore, ask a question about how much money or time your product saved them, or about how quick the return on investment was, etc.
If you’re trying to get interesting, high-level, top-of-funnel content, you might ask open-ended questions to an industry expert about the future of your industry or product, giving them a chance to elaborate on high-level trends that include the type of service you provide.
There will be a big difference in the kinds of questions each company asks, because a dog toy company and a content marketing agency are going to need very, very different kinds of social proof. Yet, both companies need to think backwards from whatever answer they're looking for in order to construct the questions that will get them those answers.
Resist the Urge to Ask Irrelevant Questions or for Product Feedback
We mentioned earlier that customer testimonial questions should be very different from market research questions in complexity and length, but they also need to be very different in content, too.
An easy trap to fall into when sending out customer video testimonial Collectors is to want to collect product feedback at the same time.
This is especially true if other departments find out you’re sending out these interviews. Product managers and QA might have all sorts of suggestions for what to ask existing customers, because they want data from customers, too.
But this process is specifically for gathering customer testimonials, not user testing or customer satisfaction.
You want material you can put directly on your website or social media to provide social proof to potential customers, not to sort through for the next product or service adjustment that needs to be made.
You also have a list of satisfied customers to send testimonial questions to, knowing they should have glowing things to say about your product or brand. The last thing you want to do is ask them to focus on the potential negatives of your product, which you definitely don’t want to use as part of your online social proof.
So despite the temptation, switch off the part of your brain that’s curious about what customers think about a certain part of your product, and keep your marketing team laser-focused on creating solid video marketing content.
Otherwise, you won’t get the content you're looking for — and the extra questions will depress your response rate.
Don’t Overthink It
Because these questions should be short and there shouldn’t be too many of them, it’s easy to get analysis paralysis worrying about making them perfect — especially since we really only get one shot to send them to satisfied customers.
However, you’ll find that the bread-and-butter questions that are the most straightforward really do perform well when it comes to getting web-ready content from participants.
Go with the most obvious questions, and you’ll be surprised at the responses you receive.
Part of the benefit of using a tool like Vocal Video is that you get to collect many testimonials easily and quickly.
If you ask a question that isn’t quite getting the responses you want, you can just adjust it or create a completely new Collector before sending the interview out to your next batch of participants.
Finally, the great thing about humans and video is that even with the same questions, each response will be unique. Similar themes that emerge in your video responses can be woven together very effectively with highlight reels.
We’ve given a lot of guidelines for how to construct and compose interview questions, but here are a few specific examples of what that process might look like in real life.
One of our Vocal Video customers recently used our service to collect testimonials from their customers who won an award.
They did this by asking the winners to record their acceptance speeches as Vocal Video testimonials.
Because the company knew the award winners were all superusers who love their product, they were able to think backwards from, “We want them to say why they use our product so much,” which as a question becomes, “How does our product make your job easier?”
A very different goal also calls for short questions: a brand relaunch.
This customer used Vocal Video to capture executives’ talk tracks, along with a few select customer testimonials.
In this instance, they were able to customize testimonial Collectors for very small groups, keeping in mind their relationship with very small subsets of their customers and their own leadership. This allowed them to narrow in on exactly what they needed to kickstart their online social proof for potential customers, which was particularly important to them as they freshly relaunched their brand.
Questions such as “In what way has the industry changed over the past decade,” and “What impact has our company had on your business?” can get you the answers you want in an instance like this one.
Video Case Study
A video case study requires a similar exercise: Use a question asking about how your product helped the customer overcome a challenge, how they’re using your product, and what results they’ve seen. Each of these points can be a short question, and you only need three of them.
Vocal Video Provides Questions and Video Capture
Coming up with the right video testimonial questions for your customer interviews can be an easier process than you think — especially if you keep them simple, don’t ask too many, and work backward from the content you want to get from interviewees.
However, if you’d rather just use the question templates in our easy-to-use video collection and editing tool, we provide 33 templates of questions to send to your customers or clients to get powerful video testimonials. Just select a situation-specific template and you’re ready to go.
Give Vocal Video a try for free for 14 days, no credit card required, by signing up here.