9 Case Study Questions to Ask Your Best Customers Nicci Troiani When you’re working day-in and day-out in your business, it’s tough to find time to step back and complete the strategic tasks that will help you drive brand awareness, leads and ultimately new customers in the long run. Putting together customer case studies and testimonials is one of those tasks that is easy to push off – especially when generating revenue, putting out fires and helping current customers are all imminent tasks on your plate. However, if you can pull together authentic, glowing reviews of your business, the payoff will be well worth your effort. Here’s why: People Trust People You can have pages and pages of claims that your product or service is world class or a game changer for your clients, but you need proof. And the most compelling proof comes from your potential customer’s peers. Rather than featuring short quotes from faceless customers, putting together dedicated case studies gives prospects deeper insight into other users and their successes. Buyers are Looking for Real-World Solutions Case studies also help prospective buyers to discover customers with similar pain points and to understand how your business solved those issues. Pro Tip: Don’t let your case studies be all talk. Hard data to back up customer feedback is essential. A good case study should show results through a data-driven approach rather than just make feel-good claims. Both Sides Benefit When you think about it, a case study not only benefits your business, but it’s also free PR for the customer you’re featuring. Their business will be featured on your site, you can pull case studies to fuel your PR efforts, and you’ll be pushing case studies on your social media channels. Participating in a case study can attract a whole new set of eyes to your customer’s own website. So while a case study is really beneficial to your business, make sure your clients understand the value to theirs as well. How to Craft the Perfect Case Study Asking your customers the right questions can make or break your case study. Here are 10 essential questions to ask to create a high-converting case study: 1: What’s Your Background? Getting your customer’s backstory is a great way to set the stage and tone for your case study. It might even help steer your case study down a path you hadn’t considered before. Better yet, these personal stories engage potential buyers, helping them to relate to your customer base. 2: What Problem Were You Trying to Solve? Every buyer is working to address a problem. Your case study should focus on one problem, so ask what problem the user was trying to solve. This question will give the reader (and you) insight into how people perceive and use your product. 3: How Was The Problem Affecting You? Most buying decisions are based on emotions rather than logic. Expand this question by asking how the problem was affecting impacting the customer’s bottom line, what difficulties it was causing and how it made the person feel. Ask open-ended questions and try to elicit emotional responses as much as possible. 4: What Possible Solutions Did You Consider? There are always multiple ways to solve any problem. Those who read your case study will trust the testimonial more if they can see that the customer considered other solutions. Buyers always start with a list of options and then narrow down the list until they find the perfect fit. 5: Why Did You Choose Our Product or Service? Case study readers will be interested in the decision-making process previous buyers have gone through. If they identify with the process, they are more likely to buy the same product. 6: What Would Have Happened If You Had NOT Made The Purchase? Asking this question reiterates the original problem. Hopefully it’s the same one the reader is trying to solve. It emphasizes the consequences of postponing a purchase and increases the likelihood of the reader making the decision you want him or her to make. 7: What Risks Did You Consider? Every decision has risks. If you ignore them they won’t go away, so you need to address each risk to reassure your prospective customer. This helps the reader to overcome their natural aversion to taking risks. Risk analysis has two main components; how likely it is, and how severe are the possible consequences. You can reduce perceived risk by including a ludicrous over-the-top warranty that offers much more than the standard money-back guarantee everyone offers. 8: What Reservations Did You Have? This is similar to risk analysis and gives you another way to find why people might not be buying from you. If one person has reservations, other buyers might have similar feelings and need to confront them before making a decision to purchase. 9: What Measurable Benefits Have You Seen? This question gives your case study respondent an opportunity to address the value in your product and to spell out exactly how it solved their problem. It is more convincing as the final question because readers can see the feedback is credible. Praise is more effective when it’s given after a detailed risk analysis and consideration of alternatives. Bonus: Can You Provide Creative Assets? Be sure to ask your customer for a headshot, company logo and other brand elements you can add to their case study to make it feel even more personal and authentic to your audience. You know what you need and how your study needs to be structured. If you simply ask someone to give you feedback on a purchase, what you get is unstructured and rambling praise that lacks credibility. Structuring responses will save the respondents time and gives you something much more valuable. Your best customers value your partnership and want to help you succeed. They will more than likely be happy to take part in a case study. All you need to do is to ask.