6 Steps for Putting Together A Customer Success Case Study
Customer success case studies can be hugely beneficial in demonstrating your value and proving your trustworthiness to prospects. However, if you’ve never put together a customer success case study before, you might not know where to start.
How do I decide which customer to feature? How do I make the ask and gather the information I need? What’s the best format for presenting the study? And how to I make sure I put the study to good use after it’s created?
If you find yourself nodding along with those questions, then read on! These tips can help you create an effective customer success story either for yourself or your clients.
1. Start With What You Want from the Project
Before you begin thinking about reaching out to customers, you must identify the type of story you want to tell. Case studies are all about showcasing how you solved a specific problem for an individual client, so start there.
What problems do you want prospects to know you solve? Put together a list of the KPIs you help your clients achieve, and take it from there. Maybe you want to highlight how you help customers generate stronger leads. Maybe it’s the way you increase engagement on social media. No matter what solution it is, you want to set your own goals internally before you start reaching out to clients.
You also want to settle on the ideal format for your case study. Whether it’s a written piece, an infographic, or a video will influence which client you ask to participate and how you approach the task of collecting information.
2. Identify a List of Potential Clients
Now that you know what you hope to get from the project on your end, you can begin pulling together a list of clients who fit with your objectives. Start with a broad list of anyone who you’ve helped in that specific arena.
From there, you can begin to narrow things down. Are any of these clients noteworthy names in their industry, with a significant social following of their own? Are some of these clients better communicators than others (this is especially critical if you’re doing a video interview)? Did you generate particularly strong results for one of your clients?
Once you’ve created your shortlist, you can start reaching out.
3. Make the Ask
When you reach out to clients to ask them to participate in your case study project, you want to have all of the information at hand to put them at ease. Be sure that you’re ready to clearly outline the purpose of the case study.
The kinds of things they’ll want to know about are:
- What do you expect them to say, do, or contribute if they agree to participate?
- What will they need to do to prepare to be a part of the process?
- What format will the information be presented in?
- Where and how will the case study be used (i.e. Will it be featured publicly on your website, or shared in private pitch decks in sales meetings)?
The more information you can share with your clients, the more likely they are to say yes. When you have answers for their questions, you assure them that you know what you’re doing, the process of creating the case study will be smooth, and the end result will be something that they can be proud of.
It’s also a nice touch to ask via phone or in person, if you can. A more personalized inquiry will increase the likelihood that the client will feel special and appreciated (and say yes). From there, you can follow up with a detailed email with the specifics you discussed during your chat.
4. Prepare Your Client to Share Their Story
Once a client agrees to participate, you can move onto the process of preparing for the case study interview. Regardless of the format you’ve chosen to present the case study, the best way to gather the information you need is to have a conversation with your client, where you’re able to ask them all the questions you need to get the content you want for the study.
While you don’t want to actually put words in your client’s mouth—the whole point of a case study is that they’re using their own words—you do want to be sure you’re getting what you need from them.
Think about the case study from a storytelling perspective. If a prospect sees this study, they want to know how things logically progressed:
- What was the problem the customer was having?
- What was the solution your business offered?
- And how did the client’s business improve after using your solution?
In order to guide your client through the process of participation, put together an outline for them so that they understand the story you’re trying to tell. A questionnaire can also be a helpful way to guide the conversation. Provide them with the questions in advance of your interview, so that they have time to consider their answers and you’re able to make the most of the face-to-face time you have.
5. Conduct the Interview
The member of your team who’s leading the case study project should be the one to conduct the interview with the client. This will ensure that you’re gathering the information you need, so that you don’t have to reach back out and ask them to send more documents or sit down for a second filming session.
There is an art to conducting interviews like this. You’ll want to start by making sure you get background information on your client: who are they, what is their business, and what problem were they having before you came along?
Then, you’ll want them to dive into the specifics of the solution you offered. How did they find you, what was it like to begin working with you, and how did you manage the process throughout your relationship with them?
Finally, you’ll want them to talk about results. This can be a mix of qualitative and quantitative feedback. It’s great if you were able to increase their conversion rates by X number of percentage points, or help them do X more dollars in sales. But prospects will also want to hear about how much better you made the business owner’s life and the stress and worry you eliminated from their day.
6. Put it All Together
Once you’ve had your interview and thanked your client for their time, it’s time to assemble the final product!
This process will of course depend on your chosen medium for the case study. Whether it’s a video, written piece, or infographic, you’ll want to create an short introductory statement to accompany the case study that outlines who the client is and what problem you helped them solve.
Once the final product is ready, don’t let it just sit there on the shelf! Share it on social media, display it on your website, and incorporate it into your sales presentations.
A customer success case study can be a compelling way to let prospects know about the value you add to your existing client relationships. Whether you’re undertaking this approach for your own consulting firm or helping a client to establish a set of case studies for themselves, following these steps will ensure a successful outcome.