Customer testimonials occupy an important place in every company’s sales and marketing toolbox. Whether in the form of print or online collateral, videos, or podcasts, a good client case study can help prospects see how they can be successful using your products and services, helping you get one step closer to a sale.

Most testimonials and case studies follow a background-challenge-solution-results structure. It’s a classic storytelling device and it works. You can also use a question & answer format to present the case study more like an interview. Either one can work.

To help you gather all the source material you need to develop a compelling customer case study, follow this interview guide:

1. What is the company background?

  • Company—location, revenue, number of employees.
  • Products/services offered.
  • Customers/target markets.
  • Your department/title/responsibilities/role in the purchase decision.

2. What is the business challenge/need?

  • Tell us about the business problem that you were trying to solve or the business need you were trying to address.
  • What impact did this problem have on your business?
  • How have you addressed this issue in the past?

3. What solution did you choose?

  • How did you hear about COMPANY NAME?
  • How did you decide to use COMPANY NAME for your solution?
  • Did you consider alternatives?
  • Briefly describe the solution.
  • Comment on the people you worked with at COMPANY NAME.

4. What results did you achieve?

  • Tell us how the solution helped solve your problem/address your need.
  • Tell us about your experiences with the new solution.
  • What benefits did you derive from the solution?
  • What has been the measurable impact of deploying this solution on your business (i.e. incremental revenues, savings/productivity gains, return on investment)?

5. Future

  • What are your plans to use additional products/solutions from COMPANY NAME?

6. Summary

  • Summarize your overall experience with COMPANY NAME.
  • What advice would you offer to an organization implementing a similar solution?

Other tips:

  • Find out in advance how the approval process works at your customer’s company. For smaller companies, your client might have the authority to approve the case study. In larger companies, the public relations department often gets involved and must approve the case study. If this is the case, get the customer’s PR department involved early and build time into your production schedule.
  • Ask about getting logos and photos from your customer to add to the case study. You’ll want them in the best possible resolution for quality reproduction.
  • Record the interview so you have a documentation of everything said and good source material to work from. Let your customer know you are taping the conversation.
  • Put your customers at ease by assuring them that they have final approval over the content and that you won’t publish anything they are not happy with.
  • Develop a list of target candidates to approach for customer testimonials, covering all of the markets you serve. Not all of your customers will be willing to participate, so it’s best to approach a number of them.
  • Send customers a personalized thank you note for participating. Your current customers are the best spokespeople for your company. They are doing you a favor by providing a testimonial.

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