3 Steps to Making the Most of Your Customer Case Study Interviews
When it comes to creating customer case studies, there’s one part of the process that’s absolutely critical: the interview. While it may sound obvious, the interview can make or break your case study. The question then is: how do you make the most of your customer case study interviews?
Going into interviews with customers, you need to put in the research and preparation in advance to ensure you can make the most of your opportunity. Your case studies are a content marketing superhero and are often cited as one of the hardest working pieces of content you can create.
Don’t make the mistake of showing up for interviews with customers without a plan. Your customer success stories are social proof that is a valuable marketing asset, so you need to make the most of every opportunity.
Here are three critical steps to take before your interview so have everything you need to ensure you get an amazing customer testimonial.
Step #1: Create an Interview Guide
When you sit down to interview your client, you want to make sure that you’ve mapped out a game plan so you make the most of the time you have together.
I recommend you start with creating an interview guide that you customize for each customer interview. Using your knowledge of that client’s situation you can craft a list of core questions.
If you need more information, pre-interviews with internal stakeholders can really help to round out your customer interview and save valuable time. This is particularly important for a B2B customer as the implementation or solution may be complex, and the finished result needs to land with your target customers.
Your interview guide should list out the key areas for discussion and questions you want to cover during the interview. Typically, I would recommend including questions related to their challenge, the solution, their results, and their experience with your company.
When you’re crafting your interview guide, start with the end in mind. You want to have case study interview questions that leads your customer to the story you want to tell. As you consider what questions to include ask. yourself what questions your potential customers need to have answered with a case study.
If you’re working with content writers, this is a good place to pull them in as their insights are worth their weight in gold. They can help ensure that you answer the questions they need to write up the story on the case study subject, and give you insight into the content creation process.
If you want to focus on a specific aspect of your offer or their results, craft questions that will help you get the answers you’re looking for. Don’t just ask a single question, have a series of follow-up questions at the ready in case you need to dig in further.
Remember, the final case study will be used with potential clients, so you’ll want to answer the questions they may have about your product or service. You want to be able to make the case for how your offering can help them meet their business goals. Consider the questions your potential leads have, and aim to get your current customers to answers them in your case studies.
Consider including open-ended questions as letting your clients share their experience is often where we’ll find the most compelling part of their story.
A powerful question to include in every interview guide is “do you have anything else to add?”. In my experience happy customers always have gems to share when they’re asked this question.
Also, you may prepare more case study questions than you actually have time to ask in the interview. You may only have time to ask a total of eight to 10 questions, but having more questions avialable gives you flexiblity when you’re actually doing the interview.
Step #2: Prep Your Customers
Once the interview is scheduled, take some time to ensure your customer is well-prepared and feels very secure in the process. Once they agree, you want your interview subject to be very clear on all of the steps involved so they are comfortable.
A lack of preparation for the customer case study interview can result in people changing their mind, or an interview that doesn’t give you the compelling stories you’re looking for.
Specific ways to help your customer prepare:
- Ask them if they have any questions.
- Provide questions or talking points in advance.
- Walk them through the case study process and what to expect.
- Share details on the format. Is this a video testimonial or a written one?
- Outline how the finished case study will be used.
- If you’re doing a video testimonial, be sure to include details on lighting, backgrounds, and so on.
When you’re prepping customers, avoid providing so much information that you overwhelm them and cause them to have second thoughts about participating. Aim to make this process easy for your customer and eliminate any pre-interview jitters.
Step #3: Getting Ready for Customer Case Study Interviews
The first few times you work with customers in this way can be nerve-wracking, but spending time getting interview ready will help you make sure everything goes smoothly.
On the day of your interview, set aside 15-20 minutes right beforehand, so you feel 100% ready for your conversation. If you’re doing interviews for video case studies, you may need additional time to prepare.
During this time, review your interview guide and then take a deep breath and relax. In my experience, most interviews are going to be fairly straightforward as the customer is already a fan of your product/service.
Giving yourself a little bit of extra time so you’re calm, cool, and collected, will help you show up as a professional and help you to conduct an interview that gives you exactly what you need craft an outstanding case study.
Now, you’re ready to interview your customer. Good luck! (And in the next post, we’ll be discussing how to conduct your customer case study interview for best results.)
Getting started with customer success stories can be easier than you think. Work with a pro team that specializes in creating compelling case studies for B2B companies. We take care of every step of the process so you can have high-quality customer success stories that generate leads and support your overall sales and marketing efforts. Learn more here.