When Your Customer’s Legal Department Won’t Approve Your Case Study

BY Holly Yoos
May 18, 2021

It’s happened to the best of us. And it sucks.

You’ve written a compelling case study.

One that’s a fantastic example of all the benefits your product or service can bring.

And one that will carry a lot of weight with prospective customers.

But when you run it by your customer’s legal department for approval, they want to nix it.

They worry that the challenges section—the section that lays out the pain points they were experiencing before they adopted your product or service—makes them look bad.

They worry what their customers will think if they see it.

Which is a problem. Because all the tension and drama lies in the challenges.

It’s what draws in prospective customers and gets them thinking, “Gosh, we have that problem too!”

Fortunately, you’re not powerless when a case study is rejected on these grounds.

But it does require you to change the way you frame the story.

The Solution: Frame the Customer’s Problem as an Industry Problem

Instead of framing the pain points as specific to the customer, try framing them as something common to their industry.

When you frame the challenges this way, the customer looks like a superhero. It shows they had the foresight and fortitude to find a solution where others haven’t.

Let’s use an example to illustrate.

Pretend your customer is a SaaS provider serving the oil and gas industry.

Their software is amazing. But their customer support is problematic.

Their customer support processes are largely manual. Trouble tickets are sometimes lost and can take weeks to get resolved.

Instead of framing the situation as “Man, this SaaS provider sure is doing a crummy job with customer support,” you frame it as a common pain point for SaaS providers serving the oil and gas industry—or even SaaS providers in general.

So, to kick things off, you can note how important customer support is for oil and gas companies.

You could then point out that your customer has always been committed to providing outstanding customer support—and describe some of the ways they’re already doing that.

But even though the customer was already committed to outstanding customer support, they felt there was still room for improvement.

And so they judiciously reviewed their options, carefully selected your product/solution and then cautiously implemented it, paying careful attention to customer experience every step of the way.

By framing the pain point and solution this way, you’ve flipped the script.

It’s not that the customer was unaware of a problem or ignored it. In fact, their customer support process already had a lot going for it.

But with the new solution, their customer support is even better.

In other words, the customer was already doing everything right.

But now they’re doing everything even more right.

Make the Customer the Hero of the Story

We never want a customer to feel uncomfortable about sharing their story with the world.

Which is why we always strive to make the customer the hero. We want them to look good!

(It’s also why we always give our clients’ customers the opportunity to review and ask for changes to case studies before they’re published.)

When a customer looks good, they’re excited to share their story.

And when both our client and their customer are proud of the story of their shared success, that’s a win-win for everyone.

Let’s make your customer the hero of your success story.

Contact us to start the conversation.

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