In an organization, a single, powerful story can help land new business, get PR, win awards, train new sales reps, and reinforce the company’s vision among all employees. Yet so many stories go unrecorded – and lost as people leave the company.
You need a process for capturing them, and a place to do so.
I just learned about Zahmoo, a simple, cost-effective way for organizations to collect and keep their stories. Created by fellow story practitioner, Shawn Callahan of Anecdote, the web-based tool looks about as easy as it gets.
It lets you…
- Collect stories from folks throughout your organization in one place
- Share, rate, comment on and reuse stories
- Tag and search stories
- Collaborate with others on prioritizing stories
- Find the right story to share with audiences when you need it
Moreover, it’s a very affordable way for small to mid-size organizations – without a big CRM or ERP system – to collect stories. Or even for larger organizations that want to make collaboration simpler.
Oh, there’s also a less-expensive family version for your personal stories.
It's no wonder that customer case studies are a staple in marketing and selling technology products and services.
Technology is complex, pricey and usually requires decent time to ramp up. On top of that, it demands ongoing support when something goes awry.
The customer case study uniquely demonstrates that a technology works well in a customer's environment and the experience has been positive.
But what really needs to go into a technology case study to satisfy the audience's questions and concerns?
Just like consulting services, there are certain elements that typically should go into customer stories on technology. Over a decade of crafting customer stories for technology companies, I've noticed that the same themes occur again and again when selling software, hardware or technology services.
Technologies vary widely, but here are some common elements that audiences need:
Depending on the technology, implementing it into a customer's environment can take hours or months, or longer. Decision-makers have to know the details. What and who was involved? Was there training? How will the vendor support them through it all, and do it better than others.
Ease of use/maintenance
Technology decision-makers need to know what it takes to use and maintain the product once it's in place. How easy is it for users to learn? Who's responsible for maintenance and upgrades, and how often are they required?
Integration with other applications or compatibility
Often, the technology must integrate with existing products or applications in the customer’s environment. With what does it integrate and how easily? Is lots of coding involved or do they fit together readily?
Ongoing customer support and service
Support is a major driver for technology decision-makers. When it matters most, does the vendor come through? How quickly and thoroughly are needs addressed?
That's my list. What else is essential for a technology case study?