Customer interview questions for awesome case studies

Written by Meghan Downs

So, you want to speak to your customers to get detailed testimonials or case studies. First of all, that’s a great idea. But before you chat, you need to be prepared. The worst thing that can happen during a customer interview is if you go blank halfway through and leave the call kicking yourself about forgetting something. 

This blog post gives you a step-by-step guide on how to ask for, plan, and deliver a great customer interview, including some sample questions you can tweak and use yourself.

Benefits of customer case studies

Case studies have multiple uses. The first and most obvious is sharing them online to showcase your expertise and great customer results. 

But the second one is lesser-known, and can be one of the best research methods for your messaging… It’s asking your customer questions to hear their point of view, also known as ‘voice of customer (VOC) research’. VOC research gives you direct insights you can use both in a specific case study and in your overall messaging. 

As a copywriter, I interview my clients’ customers to gather information about their business. Hearing directly from your customers is such a powerful tool. During my full website copywriting process, I interview at least 3 clients on your behalf, often upgrading these to written case studies to get more bang for your buck. 

So I’ve had a lot of experience interviewing people and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are my top tips to make the process as useful as possible. 

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How to ask your customers to get involved

I get it – it’s awkward to ask for help. But most people are happy to help, and what’s the worst that could happen?

So the best way to arrange customer interviews is to simply reach out to people. Contact your best clients, asking if they would spare 15-20 minutes to discuss their experience working with you for your marketing purposes. You could email, call, or message: whichever channel you’d usually speak to them through. 

Note: ‘Best’ means customers who perfectly fit your ideal customer profile and people who you’d love to clone (if it were legal). ‘Best’ doesn’t mean your mates! Your case studies and customer messaging research should align with your goals to attract more of the right people, whatever that means for your business. 

Explain how helpful it would be, as you love working together (compliments are always well-received here) and you dream of attracting more people like them. This case study interview will be a marketing tool to achieve this goal.

Depending on your clients, they may need a small incentive to get involved. You could offer a small gift card, a business-related freebie, or a brownie hamper as a thanks for their time. If you know your clients are always very busy, you could mention this in your first ask to encourage people to say ‘yes’ easily. 


Sample email for a customer case study request

To make things super easy for you, I’ve written a sample email to ask your customers to get involved. It’s in my tone of voice, so you will probably change bits to sound more like you, but here’s the general idea: 


Hey [First name], 

How are you? 

I’m getting in touch to ask a favour. I LOVED working with you on [project description] and we achieved such good results together.

So I can work with more amazing people like you (because sadly, there’s only one of you), I’m hoping to produce some customer case studies for marketing purposes.

My ask: Please can you spare 15-20 minutes of your time for a Zoom call in the next week or two? 

The aim is to hear how you found working together in your words, so I’ll ask you a few questions. The case study will also be good exposure for your brand, as I’ll shout about how awesome you are. 

If you’re happy to, please hit reply with some dates/times that work for you. Alternatively, I can send you my calendar booking link if that’s easier. 

Many thanks,

[Your name]


Now you have no excuse not to ask 😉 

When they say yes, which hopefully most people will do, it’s time to move on to the next step…


Preparing for a customer interview call

The best thing to do is to prepare. You know the saying, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail; this also applies to carrying out great customer interviews. 

1. Remove any distractions 

This is a simple but important first step, so you don’t feel flustered during the conversation. Make sure you can give your customer your full attention during the call, so turn on your do-not-disturb mode, ask anyone in your office to leave you alone, and close down all your other tabs. 

2. Get your interview questions ready (with examples)

Some people naturally need more prompting to get what you want from them, so if you plan your questions in advance and make a note of key information you’d like to discuss, you won’t go off track.

If you’re speaking to a few customers, your set of questions might change between each one. So get your questions prepped in advance for each call you do. 

Sample customer interview questions 

These examples give you 10 main customer interview questions and some sub-questions if people need more of a prompt.


1. Why did you reach out to a professional [job title/company type]?

    • What challenges were you facing?
    • What emotions were you feeling?
    • Why was the timing right?


2. Have you ever worked with a [job title/company type] before?

    • (If yes) How was this experience compared to that one?


3. Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted? 

    • What was that goal?
    • What was the biggest problem you had to overcome to reach that goal?


 4. How did you find the overall process with [your name]?

    • You had [insert specifics about the service]. How did that work for you?
    • Which aspect was most helpful and why?


5. Were there any unexpected challenges?

    • How did you find the changes were dealt with?

6. How would you describe the value for money? 

    • Did you have a strict budget for this project?

7. Did you feel supported throughout the project to reach your end goal?

    • Is there anything that could have been done better?


8. What was your favourite part about the process, or the aspect that delivered the most value?


9. Are you happy with the results, and would you recommend our services to others?

    • Do you feel as if you could have reached these results without our professional help?


10. Is there anything else you’d like to say about the experience of working together?


Feel free to adapt these sample interview questions as you wish. 


3. Check your tech 

Another thing to do is check your tech is working. Personally, I use Zoom Pro for a video call as it can be recorded directly to my computer or on the cloud storage. Most people are now familiar with Zoom, so it’s fairly easy for people to access. 

I also use to record the call at the same time, which can be linked to your Zoom account. Doing both means my paranoid fear of something not working is satisfied… if you’re braver than I am, you could pick one platform.

Check it’s all set up before you start talking, so you don’t get any frustrating tech issues. Oh, and don’t forget to hit record! 

Image of a woman in front of a laptop looking annoyed

Hosting a customer interview – during the call

Now you’re ready to go, here’s what to do during the call…


1. Start the call the right way 

When I carry out calls on behalf of my clients, I usually have information upfront about the customer. Likewise, if they are your customers, you’ll always know some things before you chat. 

But for the purpose of this customer interview, I ask them to describe things as if I know nothing about them. That way, they explain things more clearly and it leads to a better interview transcript that can be turned into a great case study with more direct quotes, rather than a slightly coded discussion between friends. 

Also make sure you double-check the person is happy for the call to be recorded. Even if you’ve mentioned it before, a quick reminder at the beginning is usually appreciated. Some people may ask what you’re using the recording for; I tend to predict this by mentioning that it’s only for me to listen back to so I can type up the quotes accurately. 


2. Work through your questions 

I always prefer to take minimal notes and let the recording software do the heavy lifting. The first few times I conducted customer interviews, I felt the pressure to write everything down as I didn’t record the calls (looking back, no idea why I didn’t). 

But since deciding to trust the tech, I’ve been more present during these conversations, which leads to a much better response. Listening actively through the conversation means you can spot any good follow-up questions to dig deeper into a topic. You might miss these opportunities if you’re still typing or writing.

When you have prepared your questions, work through them and allow your customers time to speak. Don’t rush through them or cut them off mid-flow! You’ll often get to the last few and they’ve answered them already, which is a sign of a more natural conversation. But for those people who need more guidance on what to say, they’re still there. 

Remember the information you noted down before the call? When you get to the end of your questions and it’s not been addressed in as much information as you’d have liked, use them as prompts to ask more questions. 

E.g. We worked together on X, can you tell me a little more about why this was important to you?

Tip: It’s perfectly ok to take a few seconds to check you have what you need before moving on. 


3. Sign off the call and explain the next steps

Always give people a chance to chat freely at the end, asking a more general ‘Is there anything else you’d like to say?’. This is usually where something insightful comes up, as they’re more relaxed. 

Depending on your clients, they may need anything they say to promote a company checking before you publish it, so it’s also good to have this discussion upfront to avoid any miscommunication. Explain what you plan to do with this information and check if they want to see the case study before you publish it. 


Evaluate your interview for voice of customer insights 

Now we get back to the VOC research part. It’s worthwhile spending time analysing calls with multiple customers to spot trends and key phrases/words that appear. When you filter through transcripts of your customer interviews, it’s amazing how often a new strapline or headline pops up from something your customer said as an off-hand comment. 

For more information on how to do this, check out my guide on how to use voice of customer research for a more compelling message


Write your case study and share it with your audience 

Writing your case study is now going to be so much easier, as you have direct words from your customer interview. You can quote anything that’s been said directly, and use other phrases and words that they used. 

The traditional case study format follows: 

  • Problem or challenge 
  • Solution or approach 
  • Results or outcome 

A top tip for case study writing is to always focus on one core message or result. Even if you worked with someone who ended up getting 3 big wins, which one made the most difference? You could explain all within the main case study, but for your headline and subheadings, focusing on the main one makes it more effective as it avoids being confusing. 

Now it’s ready to share with your audience, you can use it on your social media platforms and through email marketing to tell everyone how awesome you are. 


Get a copywriter to conduct customer interview calls for you 

You might have read all this and still think, ‘Nah, I want someone else to do it for me’. If that’s you, get in touch and I can conduct these customer interviews on your behalf. It takes away that awkward feeling of asking someone to praise you… Contact me (Meghan) for a customer case study

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