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How financial services can gather, use and repurpose customer testimonials to boost sales

Customer testimonials are sought-after by marketing teams across industries and sectors. But are you using them to their full extent? In this article, we take a look at businesses in financial services, from accountancy practices to challenger banks or wealth management firms, and discuss how to use customer testimonials and how to ask for them in order to create compelling stories and ensure ongoing business success.

Woman leaving an online review about her new credit card

People listen to their peers. They’re influenced by other people’s actions. This is a psychological concept known as social proof. Consumers are also more likely to trust what people like them say about a company and its service, than what that company itself says: word-of-mouth is a powerful tool.

Another reason that customer—or client—testimonials can be persuasive is that they’re written by laypeople. They use everyday language, rather than industry jargon. This is especially important in the world of financial services, since many consumers lack basic financial knowledge. In fact, according to 2020 research, 9 out of 10 British consumers said they felt undereducated when it comes to personal finance. What’s more, testimonials can help you stand out in an increasingly crowded and competitive market.

In testimonials, clients mention what’s important to them, what’s working well and sometimes, what’s not working so well. All feedback, both the positive and negative, can be a valuable mine of information. You’ll learn what the issues are and where your strengths lie, in the eye of the consumer. These findings can inform your product development, customer service and marketing strategy.

Even though we all know how valuable good testimonials can be, it’s not always easy to ask for them, and to do so in a way that will generate usable snippets. Let’s consider some of your options.

A survey is an ideal way of gathering both qualitative and quantitative data so you can put testimonials in context.

If you use a SurveyMonkey survey, you can get a head start with our templates and question banks. Use open-ended questions or text fields to encourage people to share their thoughts in their own words. Combine this with closed-ended questions, such as demographic details, how long they’ve been your customer, how they first heard about you and where they live. This way you can filter and segment responses by location, customer type or survey responses to draw comparisons and identify trends.

With SurveyMonkey, you can also integrate your survey and survey results into other software and tools like CRMs or email marketing software. This makes it easy to include a link to your survey within a regular newsletter or email campaign and view your survey responses along with all your rich CRM data.

When asking for testimonials, timing is of the essence. And the ‘right’ timing will depend on what you’re asking about. Say a new customer has just signed up to your neo bank. It’s going to take them a little while to find their way around, to get to know and use your app and services. So asking for a broad customer review a few days after they’ve joined may not be that useful. It could even annoy them. But it might be the perfect time to ask specifically how they found the signup process. On the flipside, if you leave it too long to ask for feedback, you risk people only having a vague memory, resulting in less meaningful data.

So how do you find the goldilocks zone? It takes careful thinking. We suggest mapping out your customer journey and putting yourself in your clients’ shoes to think about the best time to ask certain questions. Another excellent approach is to implement a voice of the customer programme, where you collect feedback at every touchpoint. And don’t forget to send out reminders to those that haven’t responded.

Some companies find that incentivising customers to provide testimonials helps drive responses. But be careful. You don’t want to—or be seen to—influence the feedback you receive. Because if the feedback is fake, you’ll get none of the benefits we talked about earlier. Consumers are savvy and can easily spot fishy feedback, which only serves to harm your brand. And of course, fake feedback won’t give you useful insights.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that some websites or review sites, such as Google, don’t allow companies to incentivise users in exchange for testimonials. So think carefully about how you’re going to use your testimonials and where they’ll appear.

While asking for testimonials yourself is great, don’t stop there. Also look out for what people are saying about you unprompted. Seek out user-generated content and ask if you can repost and repurpose it. Generally, customers will be flattered and only too happy to give their words more visibility. Marketing guru Neil Patel recommends using Google Alerts and Social Mention so that you receive a notification when key terms, such as ‘your business name + review’ or ‘your business name + online reviews’ are published. Find out more about monitoring and improving your brand reputation.

Ask why customers came to you, what problem they came to you to solve and whether you solved it or not. This will encourage storytelling and will help make the testimonial relatable to prospective customers.

In the same vein, ask why your customers chose your company over the competition. Questions like this help highlight your USP as your customers see it.

Our article on the top 15 questions you need to ask your customers is a useful place to start.

This is vital if you have a lot of feedback to sift through. SurveyMonkey’s data analysis tools, such as word clouds, tagging and sentiment analysis, are great for doing a first filter of feedback and identifying patterns. By sorting through testimonials, you can find the best customer stories to use for different purposes and places.

Customer experience testimonials fit well in a broad range of marketing materials, from your website, case studies, email campaigns and brochures through to your social media posts and even your print and digital ads. But don’t just slap testimonials on willy-nilly. Organise your testimonials into different themes—say ‘customer service’, ‘delivery’ or ‘app’—then find the most appropriate place to use them. For example, a testimonial talking about how speedy your delivery was will sit well on the delivery or FAQ page of your website. You can also consider including a specific testimonial page or include one or two great testimonials in your homepage.

Customer feedback can also help you identify potential brand advocates or ambassadors to approach for collaboration. Another idea is to ask your superstar happy customers, those with the most glowing or insightful testimonials, to record a short video review. You could then use these testimonial videos across your website, social media and YouTube. This could have a big impact, given the growing importance of video as a marketing tool, especially for reaching millennials.

Pass the findings from customer testimonials, particularly any trends or themes you’ve spotted, on to the team or teams they relate to. Use what customers think of your product, customer service, delivery, marketing and so on to inform your work in these areas. You can even use the overall trends you’ve identified to shape and invest in your business going forward.