"Oh my God, the Butter is So Soft!" -- The Power of Testimonials

I recently came across this article about home energy audits in Canada, and one little line just jumped right off the page: 

"Now the walls are fine and, oh my God, the butter is so soft..."

This was spoken by Gini Funnell, a Canadian homeowner who was amazed at the results of an energy retrofit of her 42-year-old home in Manotick, a suburb of Ottawa.

The anecdote is illustrative of the power of testimonials in general, in my humble opinion. Soft butter certainly isn't one of the first things people think about when they think of home energy efficiency upgrades, and probably wouldn't convince a homeowner to invest in home performance improvements by itself.

But it's often the little things that customers notice after they're home has been upgraded that make them really happy about their investment, and highlighting these little things can be a very powerful sales tool.

Soft butter, of course, is only one of the many fringe benefits that home performance upgrades afford. In addition to the comfort, energy savings, environmental, health and building durability benefits, we can often add fewer pests, a quieter indoor environment, fewer cobwebs -- the list goes on. In fact, the benefits of home performance upgrades are so myriad that it seems like many of them would have to be identified by a third party (who among us would have ever thought to list "soft butter" as a benefit of home performance services? Not I.) Testimonials on your website are a great way to communicate these benefits, straight from a happy homeowner.

For more info on how reviews and testimonials can help out your business online (and how to go about acquiring them), check out these posts:

Any customer reviews that have had a particularly influential impact on your business, or highlighted an aspect of your work that you don't typically focus on? We'd love to hear about them in the comments.


Totally agree with you Peter. Back in 2001(ish) I was overseeing the construction of the 30%+ over MEC homes we were building under the label of a prominent EE program. That EE Program wanted to record some testimonials from my buyers. So many turned out that some had to be turned away. We got a lot of testimonials that day but the one that really stood out was the man that said "I used to come down on a cold winter morning to make my coffee. I had to run my cup under hot water first to take the chill of the cup. Now I don't have to because of the comfortable temperature of my home."

It is one thing for a customer to say "My home is more comfortable." or "My home is much less drafty." But when it is put into practical terms that are instantly relatable, the true power of the testimonial comes out.

Peter Troast's picture

Thanks Justin. Great story. It is the challenge of our industry that the benefits to people are so myriad. Testimonials after the fact, as this post discusses, are part of the battle. Where we need big thinking is on the front end demand drivers. I know in our own experience we didn't realize how uncomfortable our upstairs was until we fixed the attic air leakage and insulation. Prior to the work, we lived with it, chalking it up to liking to sleep in the cold. But, honestly, that discomfort wasn't a motivator. We had no standard for how comfortable a house could be. 

Getting warm coffee cups, soft butter, healthier kids and all the other benefits to be drivers is what we collectively need to figure out. 

My favorite "soft butter" testimonial came from a homeowner who did years of research before she decided to invest in air-sealing and insulating her attic. The first thing she noticed? the first thing she noticed: “The toilet seat isn't freezing cold in the middle of the night!”

Lisa Fahay's picture

That's a good one, Kathleen!

I know the power testimonials because I see them on my blog all the time. Its a great way to interact with users.

In fact, the benefits of home performance upgrades are so myriad that it seems like many of them would have to be identified

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