‘Actual’ Ugly Happy Customer Vs Fake Stock Pics & Testimonials? Take Your Pick

Consumer businesses are built on trust and while it takes a lot of time and effort to build trust, many companies tend to use designs and visuals to reinforce trust (some just choose firangi branding).
For e.g. one of the standard means to increase trust is to use happy faces on the landing page. It is a very well established fact that human photos in landing page increases sales and conversion rate (one of the A/B testing study found out that there increase in conversion rate of more than 95% when human photos were used vis-a-vis paintings).
The question however is should you actually use an actual customer picture (ofcourse, with their permission) OR a stock *good looking* photo ?

Fake Vs. Real : Does It Matter?

Saw the Akosha funding news, went to their website and noticed the happy customer images. Just that they didn’t look real to me*.
A quick search and this is what came out:
Happy Customer #1
This happy Akosha customer says a lot of great things about the Akosha app.
fake-customer-akosha
 ..Is It A Fake Picture?

Same Happy Face..Elsewhere?
Same Happy Face..Elsewhere?

Happy Customer #2
Again, says nice things about the app and the product experience.
fake-happy-customer-akosha
Fake Customer?
Spotted another site using the same pic.
fake-customer

The Impact Of Fake Happy Customers

Faking happy customers is as good as faking the customer itself.
Faking works when you do not have tons of (happy) customers and you need to fake your size (ideal for startups).
Fake happy faces also translate to fake testimonials – specifically in the case of Akosha, the fact that these customers are actually saying nice things about the consumer experience etc etc – all of these are fake testimonial, which is nothing but sad.
Once caught, this just leads to trust deficit in the brand (which is quite ironic in this case, since Akosha is all about solving trust/experience deficit consumers have with other brands).
Is this all worth it?
Is it worth trading ‘actual not-so-great-looking real customers’ with ‘fake happy customers’ ?
Why not go that extra mile?
*: I might be wrong. Maybe the same consumer had that same consistent happy face and pose for other sites too. Or maybe others plagiarized from Akosha.
My point is simple : Truth has only one version and that is the truth itself.

Grab a happy customer, take their pic/testimonial and post it. You will never have to worry about fake testimonials,licensing (read : Ola’s licensing issue with app load screen) or anything!