Case studies and testimonials provide an interesting and personal insight into customers’ interactions with our clients. Asking people to share their positive experiences can be an extremely effective tool in influencing other potential customers to take an interest in the product or service. But how do you get the most out of every interview? How do you set the right tone? And what kind of questions prompt the best answers?
Making the interviewee feel comfortable
The best way of encouraging an interviewee to open up is to make them feel comfortable while they are talking to you. To do this, make sure you come across as friendly and easy to talk to. Being interviewed can be a daunting prospect for some people, so simply making conversation before the start of the interview can go a long way in settling any nerves the customer may have. Being friendly with the interviewee will also encourage them to be more forthcoming with information and more responsive to any follow-up calls.
All the questions you ask should give the interviewee the opportunity to provide the most detailed response possible. Try to avoid questions that invite them to reply by saying just “yes” or “no”. Open-ended questions will give the interviewee the chance to open up more about their experiences, and even if their answer is still lacking in some detail, a simple additional prompting question like “why is that?” or “what makes you say that?” should encourage them to expand on their answer and provide greater detail.
Adapt your line of questioning
Even if you have a pre-conceived idea of what the angle of the article is going to be, based on information that has been provided beforehand, it is always best to go into the interview with an open mind. Being able to adapt and pick up on snippets of information can take the interview in a completely different direction – and quite often result in a better story.
If the interviewee mentions something which leaves you wanting to know more, that’s the direction the interview should go in. It’s fine to have prepared questions, but don’t stick to them rigidly if an opportunity to get better quotes should arise. You can always return to any unanswered questions at the end.
These have been just a few tips on how to get the most out of a case study interview. Everybody you interview will have a different story to tell and will usually be willing to open up if they trust the voice on the other end of the phone. It’s up to the interviewer to home in on what will make the story stand out and what will appeal most to the media.