Conduct interviews for a case study

1. Create a spreadsheet with interviewee name, company, job title, product or service used, sample questions and interview date to track your interviews.

Add a Comments column for account-specific information, such as the product features they use the most or recent upgrades they made. In the Sample questions‘ column, you can either list some standard questions that are account-independent, or link to a document with standard questions to use as reference.

2. Send a case study request form to potential interviewees and/or their superiors - proceed only after you get approval.

Explain the scope and format of the proposed interview to set clear expectations about what you’ll ask and what the final product will look like. Ask your clients’  senior management or legal department about any specific legal guidelines interviewees should follow. For example, certain policies might prohibit employees from mentioning company or project names. Schedule each individual or group interview.

3. For each interview, prepare a list of account-specific questions from your list of sample questions.

Organize your list into the following sections: Questions about your customer’s company and their role; Questions about the context before buying your product or service, Questions about the decision-making process, Questions about the business case and the success of your solution, product feedback and willingness to provide quotes or referrals.  Sample questions about the company and role:  Can you give me an overview of your company and your role? How many employees work in your department?  How does your team fit into the company and its goals? Who are your target customers? What are your team’s goals? How does our product help you achieve these goals? Sample questions about the context before buying your product:  What was your team using before switching to our product? What were the problems/pain points in your previous process? What other challenges were you experiencing before using our product? Were there concerns about how our products would impact your customers? Sample questions about the decision-making process: How did you hear about our product?  How long had you been searching for a solution?  What problem were you trying to solve?  How would you describe our tool? How does it compare to your previous solution?  What criteria did you use when deciding to buy our product? Sample questions about the business case:  How long have you been using our product? Are there multiple people in your team using it?  What goes or tasks are you using the product to accomplish?  What’s the most significant advantage or benefit you received from using our product? What disadvantages does our product have? What KPIs are you tracking with our product?

4. Check whether your interview questions align with your goals and each interviewee’s background and experience with your product.

For example, you may want to focus on why a client chose you if they’ve used your product for a few months, but you might ask a long-time client about the ROI of using your product.

5. Communicate interview goals with the interviewee at the start of the interview to establish clear expectations.

If the interview will be recorded, ask again for permission. If you plan to extract quotes from the interview, clearly state that and ask again for your client’s approval.

6. Send the case study to your internal legal and editorial teams for review and approval, and make any changes.

7. Send the edited study to the interviewee for final clearance.

Some companies’ legal departments may need to review interviews before they can be published.

8. Review the case study interviews to determine whether they fulfill your final goals before publishing and sharing them.