Quick Tip: How to Structure a Case Study Interview With Your Client

BY Joel Klettke
August 3, 2016

How should you structure a case study interview to get the best quotes, testimonials and results?

At Case Study Buddy, we know that hands down, an  interview is the best way to get  juicy details out of your client for a case study is an interview.

It can mean the difference between a bland, boring project snapshot and a compelling story that your leads can relate to. But how do you structure them to make sure you get what you need?

We’ve already shared the three most powerful questions you can ask a happy customer – and in the future, I’ll share a detailed guide to every part of a client interview.

But in this quick piece, I’ll lay out Case Study Buddy’s tested-and-proven approach to structuring interviews.

Introducing the “B/D/A” Format

“B/D/A” stands for Before, During, After – a structured line of questioning that walks through your client’s experience from the moment they realized they had a problem all the way through to the present day.

A few reasons this is so powerful:

  • It helps you capture the entire story, with quotes about the customers’ past solutions, decision-making process, early experiences and results.
  • It follows the exact same structure of any good case study (Problem/Solution/Results)

Here’s how to make it work…

1. Start With Icebreakers

Open the call with some simple, easy questions to get your interviewee talking about the thing they know the most about: themselves.

Ask things like…

  • Tell me a little bit about your role!
  • In your own words, what does your company do?
  • What do you love most about your job?

Be careful not to chit-chat for TOO long, as you’re on their time and you want to respect that.

2. Ask “Before” Questions

“Before” questions are all about pain and the journey to solve it.

In this section, get your interviewee talking about the moment they realized there was a problem and all the things they did to try and solve it.

Some questions you can ask include…

  • What was going on in your business when you sought out (solution)?
  • How bad was that problem, really?
  • What else did you try to solve the problem?
  • What didn’t you like about those solutions?
  • How did you discover (solution)?

2. Move on to “During” Questions

At this point, start asking about the process of solving the problem.

  • What were your first impressions of _____?
  • What made you confident that (solution) was right for you?
  • How long did it take to start seeing results?
  • Was there anyone you had to convince that you’d made the right decision?

This part of the story is great for picking up the differentiators and elements of your offer that tipped the scales in your favor.

3. Finish with the “After” Questions

This section is all about results: What they were, and what they meant to the customer.

Some of the questions we like to use here include…

  • What has been the biggest difference in your business?
  • What can you do now that you couldn’t before?
  • What has that meant for your business?
  • Is there a way to quantify that impact?

4. Get permission to follow up.

You’re going to need the client’s final sign-off before the study goes live – but asking for permission to follow up also leaves the door open to ask more questions if you find there are still gaps in your story.

And that’s all there is to it!

It’s not about rattling off a script, but guiding the conversation. If a client gets off-course, that’s fine, but always try to circle back and make sure you own the flow of the conversation and get the details you’re after.

Happy interviewing!

(Psssst – Would you rather someone else took care of this all for you? That’s what we’re in the business of. Drop us a line!)

Ya, you like that? Well, there’s more where that came from!

How to Get Your Sales Team to Help With Case Studies

How do you get your sales and account reps to help with case studies? “We need to get more case studies done, but the sales/accounts team is over-protective, unresponsive, and won’t help!” I often hear this complaint from marketing and customer success teams who are tasked with producing case studies at scale, but are getting stonewalled by other internal teams. If your sales team won’t help with case studies, it’s a huge problem: sales and accounts reps are usually the...

BY Joel Klettke

How to Avoid Common Case Study Mistakes

A quick survey of customer case studies that exist in the wild reveals that not all of them are created equal. Many of them don’t do justice to what was (undoubtedly) an amazing client success story. Sadly, the power of that success story is lost in the telling, which is a real shame—and a major lost opportunity. Where do these case studies go wrong? Often by committing one (or more) of four common case study mistakes. Here’s how to avoid...

BY Holly Yoos

How to Drive Curiosity—and Conversions—With Your Customer Case Study

We’re all surrounded by marketing content. It’s everywhere—in our social feeds, email inbox, Google searches, YouTube channels, etc. Within this deluge of advertising and information, how can you stand out and capture the eyeballs of your target audience? What will stop them in their tracks and spur them to connect with you? Often, the solution lies in a subtle marketing concept: the curiosity gap. What the heck is a curiosity gap? In marketing, a curiosity gap is a persuasion technique...

BY Laurie Zottmann

Let’s tell your stories together.

Get in touch to start a conversation.

Contact Us