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Customer Quotes That Compel and Sell in Case Studies

In a customer story, quotes are the very voice of the customer, your sound bites. Without them, a story can feel flat.

Studies have even shown that people who skim tend to read text that's called out in quotes more than the rest of a story.

How do you use quotes for maximum impact? Here are a few tips:

Get in Three 'Marquee' Quotes

In every case study, if there’s space, try to include at least three key quotes that cover these topical areas:

  • Challenge/Pain - Show the pain or challenge the customer faced before the solution came along. Here's your chance to get in some emotion related to the customer's challenge.
  • Decision – Feature a quote that speaks to why the customer chose the solution - a great opportunity to call out your competitive differentiators.
  • Benefit – Choose a comment that speaks to the main benefit or benefits the customer experienced. This could then be the quote that you pull out to highlight in other marketing collateral.

Add More for Emphasis

Of course you can include more quotes, but first try to hit those three key areas to add power to your story. Other quotes can reinforce more benefits and customer experiences. Additional ones might touch on other benefits the customer experienced.

Don't Over- or Under-Quote

Direct quotes add interest to stories and enhance their credibility. But it’s important to use them in the right way, as points of emphasis or insight within the rest of the text.

I’ve seen customer stories that are almost entirely customer quotes, with just a little bit of surrounding text for context. There, quotes lose their impact because they don’t really stand out.

Other stories go too light on quotes.

What's most effective?

  • A one-page story includes 1-3 quotes
  • A two-page story, 5-6

Just make sure that your quotes are strong and add to the story, versus just repeating what was already said.

Who to Quote

Ideally, quote someone that is similar to your target decision-maker. Ideally, match title to title. If your target buyer is a VP, quote a VP.

If there are multiple decision-makers, you can quote more than one person from the customer organization. For example, quote several people that were involved in the decision and usage of the product. Maybe a manager chose it and then someone else installs it and then others use it day to day

Keep it Concise

Keep quotes manageably long, from 1 to 3 sentences. Try not to go too long on a single quote because a big block of text, even if it’s the customer’s voice, can look daunting to a reader.

In short, quotes are one of the most powerful parts of your stories. Choose and use them wisely. 

Next up: What license do you have to alter customer quotes?

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More Stories By Casey Hibbard

Casey Hibbard is the founder and president of Compelling Cases, Inc. and author of "Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales & Marketing Asset." She has helped dozens of companies create and manage nearly 500 customer case studies and success stories over the past decade. Casey is featured in numerous books, articles, and teleclasses. She consults with organizations one-on-one and conducts online customer-story classes.