Customer testimonials build trust in brands

Testimonials can create substantial additional trust for a brand. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH
Testimonials can create substantial additional trust for a brand. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

In a bid to humanise its brand and make it relevant to customers, Stanbic Bank Kenya #ticker:CFC has launched a series of advertisements featuring clients discussing how the lender has helped them navigate through tough periods, in a strategy that has been found to be effective in acquiring new customers.

In one of its advertisements, David Ohana, group managing director of KenolKobil #ticker:KENO, talks about how the bank stood with him in 2012 after a $90 million loss in one year when other banks opted to abandon the business: “Stanbic Bank helped us to recover a lot, without them I do not think we would be sitting here today,” he said.

These types of testimonials have been shown to create credibility and trust around a brand.

“Our clients are key and central to everything that we do. It is because of them that we exist. We believe in partnerships that enable growth and success. This is why we approached our clients to ask if they would want to share their stories.

“We told the story together because we realise that a one sided story is not as impactful and believable than one that has the two sides,” said Nancy Salamba, head of marketing and communications, Stanbic Bank Kenya.

“As a brand, some of Stanbic Bank’s attributes are ‘being real and human’. So it was only natural that when it came to advertising we needed to live by these attributes and what better way to do this other than through testimonials? They are a great marketing tool as they provide an ideal avenue for existing customers to share their experiences. Getting endorsements from existing customers gives us the much sought after credibility to attract new clientele.”

A testimonial serves as an indication to other customers that a product works, or speaks to its specific attributes, with Stanbic currently emphasising its support even when business is faring poorly.

“Testimonials are an assurance that what a brand is selling is true and its quality is proven by what other consumers say about it thus it can be trusted,” said Bruce Gumo, analyst at Biz Trace, a marketing solutions company.

Indeed, testimonials can create substantial additional trust for a brand. In a study on the Impact of Testimonials on Purchase Intentions conducted by Technion — Israel Institute of Technology, researchers created two mock e-commerce websites; one with testimonials and the other without.

The experiment simulated a complete shopping process with students aged between 21 and 30, on a fully functional website, with subjective and objective behavioural measures.

“Overall, it was found that with testimonials participants showed higher level of trust, regardless of product price.

The positive influence of testimonials was significantly more pronounced with more expensive products. When there were no testimonials, participants felt the need to search for more information and reinforcements in the site before making purchase decision. It seems that as participants spent more time in a site with testimonials, the level of trust increased,” read the study report.

“In general, it seems that when testimonials were present, the readiness to buy was higher as than sites without testimonials.

“More participants were ready to enter their personal details and even their credit card numbers when there were testimonials. More participants with little experience in online shopping were ready to give their credit card number when testimonials were present compared to when there were no testimonials.”