Q: I'm due to interview a customer next week for a case study showing how we helped them, but they've asked to see the questions in advance. Should I share them?
A: If a customer has agreed to spare the time for a case study interview, then it's likely that they already appreciate your services and are happy to spread the word about your business.
However, securing an interview with them is only half the struggle. You also want to make sure that you get the most out of your conversation. You're looking for natural and helpful answers that will highlight the benefits of working with your company; this is not the time to end up with a series of 'yes' and 'no' responses.
Indeed, if you haven't already worked out what to ask, have a look at these suggested customer case study interview questions.
Why you should share case study questions in advance
To help steer your customers towards providing fuller answers, it can be helpful to share your questions with them in advance. Having knowledge of the questions before an interview will help them to gather their thoughts and allow them to think about where your company has provided the most support.
At the same time, sharing the questions can ensure that your customers will be ready to talk about the benefits of working with you – exactly the information you want to highlight in your case study.
Why you might hesitate before sharing case study interview questions
However, there are several reasons why you might hesitate before sharing your proposed questions. For example, if your customer is confronted with a laundry list of questions before the interview, they may be put off and cancel your conversation. Alternatively, they may ask you to reduce the number of questions.
Another problem can occur when a customer decides that it would be easier to respond in writing. Instead of discussing the project with you and allowing you to tease out the benefits they enjoyed, they may simply provide some bullet points in an email. This is likely to leave you with short answers and make it more difficult to include customer quotes in the case study, which are an essential part of an engaging write-up.
To avoid this, a good option is to share the proposed questions in an uneditable PDF document. That way, it will be more difficult for your customer to add a bullet point response to each proposed question.
It's also a good idea to reiterate that you are only sharing the questions for their information ahead of the call, and that you look forward to discussing their experiences in further detail when you speak.
The importance of securing a customer case study interview
Your customer may still ask if they can provide you with written answers instead, seeing this as a faster and easier option. So it's worth thinking about what your response will be.
For example, you might let them know that an interview can actually save them time because the review process will then be quicker and easier.
It's sensible to remind them that you will respect their time and ensure that the interview takes no longer than necessary. This can also be a good time to highlight the next steps - reinforcing the fact that they will have a chance to review the draft case study before anything is shared publicly.
Whatever your chosen approach, speaking to a customer is likely to result in far better quotes for your case study. So, if it helps to secure an interview, it's worth making the process easy for your customer by sharing the questions in advance. Just remember to think about the potential hurdles and work out how you will overcome them to keep your case study interview on track.
If you'd like some help with your case studies, find out more about how we can help.