7 steps to creating a perfect customer Case Study

case study news article feature imageWriting case studies is not as easy as it looks. Sure, you can throw some words on the page, but a good case study should do a number of things:

  • Make customer who has agreed to do the case study look good
  • Make your own company look good
  • Help prospects with buying decisions
  • Be interesting to read.

With the power of technology available, you can amp up your case studies significantly. Here are some tips on how to create the best case study for your business.

  1. Choose your customer intelligently: If you are lucky enough to choose from a number of customers, select one whose business is well known and whose services align with your target market. You are effectively creating a post child of a customer, and it will define not only the services you provide, but also the types of businesses you cater to. So, if you want to focus on small businesses, there is no point in using a big enterprise as your flagship organisation.
  2. Make it easy for customers: Case studies are difficult for customers. A customer that agrees to help out is doing you a huge favour. Rather than ask your customer to write a bunch of words or fill in a template, consider interviewing them in person, over Skype or on the phone. Record this call so you can focus on what they are saying rather than scribbling down notes. If you ask the right questions, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. Plus, this approach is more likely to give your case study some additional colour.
  3. Ask the right questions: Carefully choosing what to ask is vital. You don’t want to waste your customer’s time, or your own!
  4. My general list of questions:

    • What does your company do?
    • What problem/situation were you trying to solve?
    • How did this problem/situation impact you and your organisation?
    • Do you have a real-life example where this problem/situation caused disruption?
    • What features/aspects attracted you to the solution you chose?
    • How did you find the evaluation process?
    • How did you find the buying process?
    • How did you find installation/configuration process?
    • What benefits are you seeing now that you are using this service/product?
    • If you could summarise the service/product in a word, what would it be?
    • Would you recommend the service/product to others?
  5. Tell a story: Case studies need to be interesting to read. Otherwise, the reader will scan and put aside and you have wasted your opportunity to turn a potential prospect into a customer. So, it is wise to construct the case study in a story telling format:
    • Engage your reader with your title, subtitle, summary and introductory paragraph
    • Use actual quotes from your interview
    • Make your paragraphs short and punchy
    • Use box-outs to call attention to the most interesting components
    • Include high quality photography and imagery into the case study where possible
    • Consider adding a product video or recording of the interview.
  6. Get sign-off quickly: Often case studies linger in the inbox of the customer and it can take a long time to get approval. Consider incentivising a quick sign-off by offering a discount *if* they can respond to you in 72 hours.
  7. Publish it everywhere: Many companies still put a PDF of the case study on their website and then forget about it. Shout about it; get it onto your website in HTML; make a presentation of the key facts and load it up on SlideShare.com; post it on your social channels; consider doing a mini press release about it; and blog about it. Basically, you want to do everything possible to maximise the number of eyeballs that see this testimonial about your company and services.
  8. Be grateful! This is a great service this customer has done for you. Be thankful. Provide them with extra care and customer service and treat them as VIPs.
Carole Theriault7 steps to creating a perfect customer Case Study

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