Interviews: the Right Questions Equal the Best Stories

Recently, a client asked me to list questions that could be asked during interviews of the client’s customers as a basis for success stories. I am a great advocate of success stories. They combine customer quotes with the company’s marketing message to create a targeted, interesting, before-and-after success story: here’s what we did for someone like you; here’s what we can do for you.

Before any interview, you should gather information about the interviewee and his or her company. Make sure you know as much as possible about the project from the company’s point of view, never forgetting that the customer’s point of view may be quite different. During the interview, these five questions are among the most important:

  • What drove you (the customer) to seek out this product or service?
  • What did you hope to gain? OR What problem did you hope to solve?
  • What results did you actually get?
  • What benefit surprised you–a result you weren’t expecting?
  • If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself? OR What advice would give someone else with a similar problem?

The question about results should introduce a discussion about actual metrics. Results may be measured by, for example, numbers (a percentage increase in profits) or actions (a change in services or products) or attitudes (customers better understand the company’s mission). Sometimes the result is a negative: for example, a company trying to motivate employees realizes why their past efforts did not work or a company debating whether to expand to a new market decides against it. Negative results can also be successes.

If you have been waiting for your customers to sing your praises, wait no longer! Contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications for success stories that excite your marketplace. We ask the right questions for the best stories.