A case study is a story with two sides. You’re going to need to pull together facts from your side and from your customer’s side.
Your side of the story
When you’re gathering the information for your side of the story, you might need to ‘interview’ yourself or you might need to speak to someone else in your company. Whichever it is, here is the information you’ll need to know.
- Who was your client and what do they do?
- Who led the project from their side?
- What was the budget?
- What was the timescale?
- How did your client find you?
- What did your client need?
- Why did your client appoint you?
- What was the solution?
- What were the unique / interesting / challenging features of the project?
- How were these features overcome?
- How successful was the project?
For more insight into these questions, a good place to start is How do I write a customer case study.
It pays to think carefully about these questions. It’s easy to forget you’re an expert in what you do, so things that seem straightforward to you might seem overwhelming to potential customers or beyond some of your competitors. Step outside your ‘bubble’ to think about the value of the work you achieved.
Your customer’s side of the story
When you’re gathering your customer’s side of the story, here’s what you need to cover:
- Why did they decide they needed help and what were the problems they needed solved?
- What research did they do into solutions?
- Why did they choose to work with you?
- How did they find working with you?
- How has the work you did helped their business?
Again, for more insight into these questions, a good place to start is How do I write a customer case study.
Ask them to answer as fully and honestly as they can – if possible, as if they were talking to someone who isn’t familiar with the project. Remind them they’ll see a draft of the case study before you publish it anywhere so they’ll have chance to remove anything they’re not comfortable with if they want.
Final top tips
I find you get the best results when you’ve arranged a time in advance to have a conversation (rather than ringing them and expecting to conduct the interview there and then). It means your interviewee is expecting your call and has set aside time and head space to answer your questions. I also find it helpful to send the questions in advance to guide the conversation and give them time to gather any information they need.
Take these questions as a starting point – don’t be afraid to branch off if an interesting comment crops up or if you want to delve into a bit more detail on anything.
Assuming you’re speaking to someone remotely rather than face-to-face, I recommend you use Zoom for the call. It’s web-based, which means you can be hands-free to take notes. But you can also record the call, which means you can focus on the conversation rather than frantically scribbling notes at all.
If you’re working with a copywriter it can be helpful to ask them to conduct the interviews on your behalf because it means your interviewees really will be talking to someone who wasn’t involved in the project and isn’t familiar with it. It also makes it easier to get constructive feedback from your customer, which – while it won’t make it into the final case study – is useful for you to have.
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