«Return to Blog List Ode to the Sound Bite in Customer Case Studies

Mark Twain is said to have called it, “a minimum of sound to a maximum of sense.”

Who else could so perfectly provide such a sound bite describing sound bites?

If a customer story is the most powerful evidence of a customer’s experience, then the customer’s own quoted comments are the jewels in that crown. They sparkle and stand out above the rest of the story.

Often, it’s all the viewer or reader may remember, so they better be good.

In Writing

GW pull quote

In a written customer case study or success story, sound bites are best highlighted as “pull quotes.” They are literally pulled out of the text and featured larger somewhere in the story.

Most readers are actually skimmers. If they read nothing else, they should take away value from those pull quotes.

In a typical two-page case study, choose a couple of your very best customer quotes to enlarge as your pull quotes – with at least one on the first page.

Further down we talk about types of quotes to feature…

In Video/Audio

Video and audio sound bites can be tougher to get perfect. In writing, you can edit quotes and the customer will approve them later.

In video, you need the customer to say it just right for the camera or recorder. That might take a few “takes.” Most customers don’t speak in perfect sound bites.

It usually takes a little bit of coaching. When the customer is on the right track, ask her to repeat her comment – but stop short of telling her exactly what to say.

You want it to be in the customer’s own words, not yours. And too much guidance makes the customer sound coached and not authentic.

Try to space out your power quotes in the video or audio, so they’re not all at the end. Try to get one early, in the middle and to cap off the story.

Top Sound Bite Themes

So, what customer comments/quotes should you feature? Here are the most powerful types of sound bites in a customer story:

  • The #1 benefit the customer has experienced – Ideally, the customer speaks to measurable benefits or return on investment.
  • Touchy-feely benefits – Prospects in fact do care about the intangibles of working with you – your personality as an individual or company. Is your delivery or support pleasant, quick and easy?
  • Why the customer chose your solution – A customer case study or success story should show your competitive differences. Prospects need to understand why you were chosen over others.

Once you have your powerful quotes, use them everywhere!

Also check out: Just today, the Reference Success blog talks about getting testimonials from customers.

2 Responses to Ode to the Sound Bite in Customer Case Studies

  1. Hi Casey, all good comments; especially the ‘coaching’ for Audio/Video. Twenty minutes of helping a customer to get their point over succinctly is also worth hours of post-production time.

  2. Hi Robin,
    Very true. But it’s tough to provide just the right amount of coaching without giving so much that the quotes sound canned.