As I browse business websites, I’m always interested to click on the section called ‘Customer case studies’, ‘Projects’ or ‘Portfolio’. It’s an opportunity to understand the type of projects they work on and the type of companies they work with. It helps me understand whether they’re good at what they do and whether we’d be a good fit for each other.
But so often I’m disappointed.
Because the case study section is all-too-often a massive missed opportunity. A few photos and / or a list of companies they’ve done work for.
It’s a good enough start. It tells me the company has a track record and gives me an idea of the sorts of companies they work with.
But there’s so much more a customer case study can do. It’s the perfect example of showing not telling and one of the best ways to demonstrate just how good you are at what you do. Not only are they useful to feature on your website, they’re also very handy to send to people when you’re quoting for your services to give an extra layer of confidence.
What does a good customer case study look like?
In essence, a customer case study is a chance to tell a story in which you’re the hero. And like every good story, a good customer case study has a beginning, a middle and an end.
Here’s what goes into each section.
The beginning of a customer case study
This sets the scene. It tells readers about your customer and the problem they were facing or the solution they needed. The point of this is to give readers an opportunity to nod along and say ‘I have that problem too.’
At this point, you – the hero – enter. Explain how you came to be involved in the project – was it a referral, was it a web search, had you worked with them before? Explain too the decisive factors in you being awarded the contract. This is an easy way to show what sets you apart from your competitors. Finally, make sure you cover why you proposed the solution you did because this shows off your expertise and understanding of your subject.
The middle of a customer case study
This tells readers all about the implementation of the project. Think carefully about any factors that could have proved tricky to a lesser contractor – they are a good opportunity to demonstrate your experience. Add in too any unexpected events or unforeseen circumstances and how you overcame them. By delving into the detail like this, you’re showing you work in the real world and are a safe pair of hands.
The end of a customer case study
This is the ‘and they lived happily ever after’ section. Tell the world what your work achieved and the difference it has made to your client. You can use quotes and testimonials from your client at any point in a case study, but you should try to include them in this section if nothing else.
And that’s it. The three sections of a powerful customer case study.
If you found this useful, you might like to check out my How to write a good case study e-course. It talks you through the process of putting together an impressive customer case study in detail.
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