A strong customer testimonial can be an incredibly powerful sales tool. It not only lends credibility to your brand, but also gives you the opportunity to showcase real customer results.
So, how best to go about crafting a compelling customer statement or case study? It starts with a productive interview session. To get the most value from your interview, you need to pay attention to a few key areas.
Tip #1: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Prior to your discussion, do your homework. Take time to research your interviewee’s background. Make sure you clearly understand their relationship to your company (or client’s company) and their experience with the product (so you won’t be surprised or caught off-guard).You’ll also want to talk to sales/account managers about the subject’s experiences and any issues that may have arisen.
Also, be sure you understand the subject matter about which you’re interviewing. If the interviewee has to give you a 101 course, you won’t get enough depth to create an article that will resonate with your target audience.
Tip #2: Send Your Questions Ahead of Time
Give your interviewee an opportunity to prepare as well by emailing your questions a few days before your discussion. This way, they’ll have the time to organize their thoughts on the subject and even potentially provide you with some useful statistics. This approach will help you maximize your time together and guide the interview along more seamlessly.
Tip #3: Follow Trails Off Topic
When devising your questions, think of a general direction you want the interview to head and structure them around that vision. But be prepared to veer off course. There’s no need to be dogmatic about getting all your questions answered. Sometimes the best nuggets of information are uncovered when you allow the customer to drift off on an unplanned tangent.
Tip #4: Interview, Don’t Interrogate
Approach your interview from an objective standpoint. Don’t use it as a venue for grilling your subject about the reasons why they may not like certain aspects of your product. Also, don’t be rigid about conforming the interview to your pre-planned questions. Instead, keep the interview light and conversational. A less intense interviewing style is also more likely to put your subject at ease, making them feel more open and comfortable with sharing information with you.
Tip #5: Record Your Conversation
If possible, record every interview you conduct. Of course, you MUST obtain your subject’s permission before you begin recording.
Why are these recordings so valuable? In addition to being a good refresher of the material you covered, you may also be able to use pieces of the recording for podcasts (with the interviewee’s permission). You could also write up a summary of the conversation and share it with your audience for comment. These derivative pieces can fit in nicely with your content marketing plan. The recordings are also very useful for sales training.
Value of Customer Interviews
A well-conducted interview can offer great insight into how customers perceive your company and your offerings. Keep in mind the people making buying decisions are human. They have preferences, opinions, likes and dislikes. Through using the tips I discussed above, you’ll be able to extract the most value from your customer interview, while gaining great perspective on what kinds of criteria go into shaping the decisions of your customers.
For more information on how to get the most from all your content marketing efforts, view our blog post, “How to Address the Top 3 Challenges of Content Marketing.”