A freelancing friend who writes case studies told an interesting tale of conversations gone awry.
She was hired to write a series of b2b customer success stories for an up-and-coming technology company. Everything seemed fine and she was all set to begin when, like the rumble of an approaching summer thunderstorm, something happened that made her uneasy.
The hiring marketing manager insisted that their end customer was too busy and too important to do an interview call with my friend, the writer.
This caught my attention because I know how important an interview is in discovering the voice of the customer.
My friend was not happy about this but she wanted the account and was prepared to work hard at keeping her new client happy.
Instead of a private call with the client’s customer she reluctantly agreed to attend a briefing call with the client’s pre-sales technical support manager for the account.
You can probably guess what happened next.
The call last nearly 90 minutes and covered a wealth of technical detail. But missing was any sense of the customer’s involvement in the project. Customer quotes? Well, just a few existing ones gleaned from earlier press releases.
My friend did her best at creating a story other prospects could relate to, and not just another sales puff piece. When I last heard from her she was on the fourth revision of this story and the client was unhappy at how long the process was taking.
To me, the message is clear: If clients want interesting and readable customer success stories they must be prepared to have the writer talk to their target customer. Of course, a preparatory call with the client’s sales account representative is also a good idea but the very best stories come from those anecdotes that bubble up during a conversation between customer and writer.
Just something to be thinking about when time is money.