What Defines an Unsolicited Testimonial? (Ethical)


After an order is placed by a customer, I email them regarding their order, stating:

I hope the buying process went smoothly for you. We are a newer company and are looking for ways to improve our service for our customers. Any feedback you would like to share about your experience with us would be greatly appreciated.
At some point after the transaction (minutes to weeks), I have about a 20% chance of receiving very positive feedback regarding our service, web site, or products. I want to use this feedback as testimonials.

Is this feedback I receive considered unsolicited testimony?

Marketing Ethics Customer Service

asked Jan 25 '10 at 16:50
695 points
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5 Answers


I don't think it really matters whether a testimonial is solicited or not, as long as:

  1. it is genuine
  2. you ask their permission before using it
answered Jan 25 '10 at 21:18
Andy Brice
336 points
  • Maybe that should have been my question: are solicited testimonials less credible than unsolicited testimonials? – Clint 14 years ago
  • +1 for it does not matter if it's solicited or not. A testimonial is good no matter what. I don't think people care whether or not it's been solicited or not. In fact, I think people would find it a bit fishy if it says unsolicited. – Jarie Bolander 14 years ago
  • +1 Agree that it doesn't matter if the testimonial is solicited or not – Michael Trafton 14 years ago
  • Also agreeing. Look at LinkedIn, book endorsements, etc. So long as you provide enough context for potential customers to feel like the testimonial is genuine, it doesn't matter if it was asked for or given spontaneously. – Jay Neely 14 years ago


Why not just solicit feedback saying you would like to use that as a testimonial as well? That way, the customer "knows" they are providing a testimonial - if they were really happy and satisfied with the service, they will give you the permission.

answered Jan 25 '10 at 17:50
Puneet Gangal
281 points
  • I would have a check box to give the user the choice to post/use their testimonial. They may want to help you with the product but not advertise their name. – Jeff O 14 years ago


You have two options. Either you can add a note to the original request: "Please note: your comments could be used as a testimonial on our site." Or, when you receive positive feedback, you would have to reply to the customer and ask, "Thank you so much for your message. Can I use some of your comments on our site as a testimonial from you?" <- or your own way of asking.

answered Jan 25 '10 at 18:19
Kulpreet Singh
56 points
  • +1 for the second suggestion - unless you have a huge volume of business (nice problem to have), replying to anyone that gives you positive feedback and asking for permission to use is much more personal and less cheesy - I would expect more reusable comments than the first suggestion. – Steve Wilkinson 14 years ago
  • singh, you're right, it's best to ask for permission and that's exactly what I do. If I get feedback that is prime for a testimonial, I ask if I can publish their kind words on our web site and associate their first name, last name, city, and state with it? Virtually everyone complies. The exception is when someone doesn't want their last name displayed. I believe this process is more personal, as Wilkinson said. – Clint 14 years ago


I ask for permission when I get something nice via email. I'm up to 50 odd testimonials in 3 years and have had exactly zero people say I couldn't use their words.

answered Jan 25 '10 at 19:09
527 points


Technically you're only using solicited testimonials since you probably don't ask to use the negative ones.

answered Jan 26 '10 at 05:13
Jeff O
6,169 points

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