With so many steps, stakeholders, and unique challenges, a lot can go wrong when doing a case study no matter how prepared you go in. So: what do you do when things go sideways? Every company doing customer stories will face this question at some point.
One defining example for Case Study Buddy came at the outset of our relationship with Cloudnexa.
It was Spring 2021. Cloudnexa had found us through a personal referral. Onboarding had been smooth, and CEO MJ DiBerardino was excited to get his first project rolling. Things were breezy going into the first interview, and MJ loved our thorough process:
“The process is straightforward and, honestly, pretty simple. We give Case Study Buddy the name of the customer and the synopsis in a brief. They take it from there.”
The first interview also went very well. The customer was extremely forthcoming and their answers championed Cloudnexa. Everything was clicking the way it should be.
But then — disaster. We didn’t learn until after the interview that our recording software had failed. The audio was unusable, leaving our team without a recording to reference when creating the study.
It was a technical failure we’d never encountered before and a worst-case scenario — especially on a first project. But it’s ultimately a situation that would improve us, and our processes, from that day on.
The audio was unusable, leaving our team without a recording to reference.
Mitigating crises and adapting
The interviewer caught the issue very quickly, and leadership was made aware right away. When these situations arise, it’s all hands on deck; we support each other through them and work together to find a way through them.
We took stock of what we had managed to salvage. Despite the setback, there were two silver linings: we had a detailed brief from Cloudnexa and our interviewer had been diligent. He’d taken thorough notes, including full quotes. We still had a story to build on.
But first, we told Cloudnexa that we’d messed up. One of our company values is to “Act with integrity, even if it doesn’t benefit the bottom line.” And yeah, this was one of those moments.
We didn’t try to hide the issue. And we didn’t make excuses for it. But we did try to make it right. We offered a few possible solutions, including re-interviewing the customer for free — though we weren’t keen on the thought of taking up any more of the customer’s valuable time.
We didn’t try to hide the issue. And we didn’t make excuses for it. But we did try to make it right.
While we waited for Cloudnexa’s response, we immediately took measures to ensure that the same situation would never happen again. We implemented backup policies including…
- We now record every call on two separate devices
- The primary recording is saved to the cloud and retained for six months after project completion unless we’ve agreed otherwise with the client.
- The backup recording is saved to a local device and deleted upon project completion.
Turning a fumble into an opportunity
But what about Cloudnexa’s project?
MJ was (quite understandably) not happy. He didn’t want to inconvenience the customer with another interview. So he decided to see what we could produce with what we had.
He graciously gave us a second chance — one we wouldn’t take for granted.
We pressed on. We gleaned what we could from the interview and maintained constant communication with Cloudnexa’s team as we worked on the story, asking for more depth whenever it felt like we were detail-light. And, against all odds, the story turned out… great!
Against all odds, the story turned out… great!
We still had some concerns, however. As a team, our number one fear was that we might misrepresent Cloudnexa’s customer. If we’d recorded a detail incorrectly, we risked putting words in their mouth. Misrepresenting customers is a strict faux pas at Case Study Buddy.
Thankfully, our process includes a step where the customer is given a chance to review and revise any testimonial. This critical part of review exists because even when the process runs perfectly, customers deserve to have the confidence that they’ve been presented in the best possible light. It builds trust, mitigates issues, and stories come away stronger for it.
In this case, the customer made one small wording change to one of their quotes but was otherwise happy with how we’d captured their story. And in the end, so was MJ.
“Why did we come back? Well, stuff happens. You make mistakes. But it didn’t necessarily mean that Case Study Buddy can’t produce a good product. And when we got the delivered case study, it was well-written and worth trying again,” MJ says.
The first project could have gone better. It was an easy mistake to make; one we could’ve shrugged off as a “stuff happens” moment. But instead, we adapted, learned from our misstep, and we’ve never had a repeat of this incident.
We’ve been creating case studies for so long now and this is just one of the many things we’ve seen go wrong. But it’s a testament to how we tackle these challenges that we were able to take a near-disastrous situation and still turn it into a compelling story.
We adapted and learned from our misstep. And we’ve never had a repeat of this incident.
A fruitful partnership for 3+ years
We’ve now been working together with Cloudnexa for over three years, and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished together since then.
To date, we’ve helped Cloudnexa capture and tell nearly a dozen customer success stories, including one video testimonial. During our busiest time, we juggled seven projects simultaneously — and each was delivered by or before its ambitious deadline.
According to MJ, case studies are now produced in one-third the time they used to take, they’re more engaging, and in 2022 alone, Case Study Buddy saved his team up to 150 hours.
“It’s a challenge to find a vendor that you can trust with your customer, has a proven method, understands your goals and needs, and provides not only the content but a fully-designed digital asset. That’s why we trust Case Study Buddy,” MJ says.
Cloudnexa continues to leverage its case studies to “get a seat at the table” and demonstrate AWS expertise to new customers. Case studies also help Cloudnexa earn Competencies and maintain its top-tier Partner status, according to AWS Partner Network requirements.
Read the full case study to learn more about why Cloudnexa produces six to eight case studies per year and why they’re so important, especially for AWS Partners.