Testimonial release forms are a hot topic right now in the business world. If you have not heard the buzz yet, or you are not too sure what it means - this is the post for you. This day in age, we need to take every single step that we can to protect our dream aka business. Some things may be frivolous, but those tend to be the most important.
If you are not incorporated aka operating as a Sole-Prop you need to be doing EVERY SINGLE one of the legal things I will mention here on Complianceology. As you know, as a Sole-Prop, you and your business are one-and-the-same. If someone sues you as a person, or your business BOTH are at risk. You are your business.
So, what is a Testimonial Release Form & why do you need one?
Do you collect testimonials or reviews from your clients? Not only does this provide great feedback for you, but it helps market your business and create confidence in others to retain your services!
BUT...If you openly use these testimonials or reviews in a public manner, such as on your website or social media, you will need to obtain permission from your clients to do so.
Mind-blown? Are you telling yourself Montanna has gone crazy, she has no idea what she is saying right now?? Stick with me...it'll make sense.
Even though your clients may fill out a questionnaire about your services, that should mean that you are allowed to use that information as you see fit, right!?! Well, not inevitably.
A person's personal opinion and statements are considered intellectual property. Yup. Sure is. And just because they are giving you this information does not mean that they want it to be public knowledge for whatever reason. By not informing them of your plans and getting their approval, you have violated their personal rights.
I'm a normal human and see how this looks incredibly frivolous, but on the flip, I've seen businesses sued for a lot less. And opinions change and in the unfortunate event, a clients opinion of your business does change they don't want a glowing review published for others to see...and then you didn't obtain their permission to publish it in the first place!
Let's look at another example that you might assume would be 100% okay to do...
Now, this information should blow your mind, because it did mine! I had never thought of that! Now that you know this you will begin to notice the disclosures and checkboxes for these situations. Yup, all of the big businesses already do this and most of us never even gave it two thoughts.
This is a very easy thing to implement to your processes and could save your butt big time. Attach it to a welcome-packet, off-boarding packet or simply send it via email.