It’s often said that “the beauty is in the details.”
When it comes to writing effective customer success stories (case studies), one of the most important goals is to glean details of results from your customers. Whether it’s time or cost savings, energy savings, increased productivity, total cost of ownership (TCO) or the all-important return on investment (ROI), substantive results are key to an effective and substantive success story.
Metrics like TCO and ROI are persuasive, but sometimes hard to draw out of customers. I’m often asked by clients what techniques I use in case studies to obtain vital results details.
With many B2B customers, results-gathering can at times feel like pulling on elephant tusks with a pair of tweezers! It’s usually not because customers don’t want to provide numbers, but rather because they haven’t thought about it or don’t find it necessary to measure their own results.
Specific questioning technique
Here’s an example of how I might guide your customers along to get increasingly more specific information:
Q: At what points are you realizing time-savings with the solution?
A: It saves us quite a bit of time throughout the day.
Q: What are some of the daily tasks that the solution streamlines for you?
A: It really helps by automating administrative tasks.
Q: Which administrative tasks does it automate?
A: The process of converting quotes to orders.
Q: How long did it take before to convert quotes to orders, and how long does it take now?
And so on. Notice that each question gets increasingly more detailed. As I proceed with the questioning, I also pay close attention to the customer’s responses and ease up if I detect the customer is becoming frustrated with the line of questioning.
Asking these types of probing-oriented questions will ultimately lead down the path to substantive details that will enhance the overall value and effectiveness of your case studies.