If you’re a B2B writer or marketer who develops customer case studies, then chances are you conduct conversational interviews with customers (and not interrogations) to get the information you need to write the story in their own words. We think that’s worth a round of applause. However, equal chances are when it’s time to take your customer’s brilliant answers and sit down to create the story, your notes are barely readable, direct quotes trail off into ellipses, and worse: in a flight of inspiration, you ad-libbed a genius question and got an insightful answer – but now you can’t remember exactly which of these scrawls is the one (or even what the question was). If that sounds like you, then you’ve already learned this lesson:
Customer conversations contain way too much value to risk misquoting your subject or forgetting an important point.
But admit it. We content writers are too busy taking notes during interviews to actually pay attention. We rush to write everything down exactly, or keep up with the conversation while our typing lags several seconds behind. The result? We become distracted, and we miss important cues in the discussion.

For the record

So what do we do? We record it. (Well, first we get the interviewee’s permission to record it. Then we record it.) OK, record the conversation. That’s a no-brainer. You hit “record,” right? How hard can it be? Turns out, plenty hard. Without the right process in place, the pitfalls are numerous – technical problems, attention problems and interruptions, to name a few. And we know way more than a few. We’ve experienced all of them while developing the dozens of case studies we wrote for clients, based on recordings of customer interviews they provided to us. That method made sense, in a way; it’s common to allow only someone from the company, or very close to it, to conduct customer interviews. Lots of people recommend it. (Some make a religion out of it – permitting only very closely supervised discussions between a customer and a marketer or writer whom they’re certain will go off-script at best, or make a foolish, customer relationship-threatening mistake at worst. There may be nothing in the realm of case studies that we disagree with more than this notion. But that’s a story for another post.) But capturing and conducting the interview properly, in a way that results in valuable insights from which the writer, marketer and company can most benefit, is a process not everyone in a company has mastered. And not capturing it properly before delivering it to the writer? That’s a problem. It was for us, before we incorporated conducting the buyer conversations into our case study practice, and changed the way we capture customer interviews.

Use Their Words

We’ve created a process at Knowmads that we’ve now used for our hundreds of case studies, articles, customer stories, sales presentations and more. The use cases for customer conversation content are so numerous that even we haven’t tapped into all of them yet – and it’s what we do. But one thing’s for sure: using your customers’ own words to inform your content is one of the best ways to ensure your messages will resonate with your target buyers, no matter what form the content takes. Our free guide documents this process for you whether you’re the actual writer, or the one conducting the interview to hand off to a writer. How to Capture Customer Interviews for High Impact Messaging and Pure Content Gold walks you through every step you need to take to ensure your buyer conversations are never lost in dictation. We’ve just published it – so download it while it’s fresh and start tapping into your customer conversations immediately.

Want more valuable content? Have better buyer conversations.