When you’re working on case studies, getting the customer interview exactly right is the hardest (and most important) part of creating great customer case studies. If the interview is good, your case study will write itself. But the interview isn’t your only challenge. Here are additional pitfalls you’ll encounter, plus five ways to get around them:

Customer Case Studies: Tip #1

Give Your Customers Plenty of Props

Even though you’ll probably have to nudge your way into the spotlight and make the case study more about you, don’t forget to give your customers some love. Call out your their achievements in the market, highlight their growth, and point out their unique strengths.

Customer Case Studies: Tip #2

Use a Transcription Service

Having to pause and rewind an audio file is no fun. Don’t waste your writer’s or video editor’s valuable (and expensive) time on transcribing an interview. Hire a service to do this for you.

Customer Case Studies: Tip #3

Don’t Disappoint

If your customer has taken them time out of their schedule to be interviewed, don’t slack on finishing the video edits or writing the story and getting it up on your site and into the world. They will eventually ask you about it, and you don’t want to have to answer that there isn’t one.

Customer Case Studies: Tip #4

Get the Word Out

Ask your customer to help you promote your case study on their social channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook). In return, use your own social channels to thank them for it. If your case study is in the form of a video, try to provide them with short teasers, so people will have to come through your site to view the full case study. 

Customer Case Studies: Tip #5

Don’t Jump the Gun

Your company has landed a new customer and you couldn’t be more excited. But be patient. Wait until they are fully onboard and using your product for a minimum of six months before approaching them for an interview.

One More Thing to Think About

What If Your Customer Mentions a Competitor?

You’d be thrilled to hear your customer say that they chose (and love) you after having been disappointed by a rival company. But do you bring it up in the case study? They may mention having researched competitors and found them lacking. This is great to know, but should you use it? The first question you’ll need to answer is: does your customer mind you mentioning these other companies by name? They may have perfectly valid reasons for not wanting to burn any bridges. Your next questions are: What is your own policy on discussing competitors? Do you freely bash them? Do you mention but never badmouth them? Or do you avoid referencing them by name altogether? Depending on your brand voice and go-to-market strategy, any of these could be the right approach for you. As you plan your customer case study program, this is an important policy to set and stick to. On a final note, finding good candidates for your customer case studies is a challenge in and of itself. Here are some pointers on choosing the right participants.

We recently filmed a series of video case studies employing some of these tips. Take a look at our University of Michigan case study, the University uses Executive Alerts to keep a pulse on student conversations.


This post was originally published on this site in April 2015. It’s been edited and reposted with new links for readers who may have missed it the first time around.