Emily Aborn Content Copywriting and Consulting Services

Guide to Great Customer Success Stories

Case studies, portfolio pages, testimonials, blogs, and more!

There’s a business story we could all stand to tell a little more often…

The story of a happy and satisfied project and the customer on the other side of it. 

Great customer success stories help you to stand out and share your expertise in a creative way while showing social proof. 

This blog will walk you through how to share great customer success stories through case studies, portfolio pages, testimonials, and more! 

In a recent Content with Character episode, I share four ways to structure your content depending on what you’re creating and where you’re showing up. In that episode, one of the structures I shared was: 

Situation | Need | Action | Result 

In a nutshell (in case you didn’t listen and don’t plan to go back to):

With this structure, you describe the situation at hand, what needs to happen from here, the action you took or would take to solve the problem, and then the result. 

Here’s an example of my husband doing this in a social media post. He’s a residential painter and it’s an incredibly effective way for him to show the transformation in his work. 

This structure doesn’t only lend itself to short-form content, it also can be used in blogs, emails, and on portfolio pages. 

As a copywriter for interior designers, I use the Situation | Need | Action | Result structure frequently for my interior design clients when putting together project pages that highlight their work.

Why is it important to tell great customer success stories? 

First off, we need to talk about why, the benefit to you and the benefits to them: 

  1. It builds credibility and social proof as you share experience with real people doing real work! 
  2. If SEO is part of your strategy, project and portfolio pages can play an important role in your SEO (something I help you with!) 
  3. Telling client stories answers a lot of questions as they highlight your approach, your style, and the unique types of problems you encounter and help with 
  4. It helps people feel seen and heard when they’re dealing with something similar
  5. These stories show how you take time to listen, understand, and problem-solve for each case, working to find the right unique solution for them. 
All of that goes together for the recipe of what makes you different and why they might choose YOU to work with! 

Industries that have great customer stories to tell: 

  • Website design
  • Graphic design
  • Home trades 
  • Photographers 
  • Organizers 
  • Coaches and Consultants 
  • Copywriters
  • [insert your industry here] because the possibilities are endless! 
The overall structure for telling great customer stories (when in doubt, just remember, situation, need, action, result): 
  1. Show or describe the before and describe any issues they were having – set up the situation 
  2. Share how we took time to learn the needs 
  3. What actions needed to be taken?
  4. The result or outcome and how it made them feel on the other side, or the benefits
How to lay it all out… 

There are tons of ways to lay out your case study, testimonial, portfolio or project page. I LOVE doing these for clients, I often do them for interior designers with their portfolio pages where we show off home design projects they’ve worked on. Example of a Sensory Interior Designer’s Portfolio

I mix up my approach with some of the fun stuff we do along the way, but they all pretty much include: 

  1. A title and intro that brings in the reader or listener 
  2. The client’s backstory – reason for contacting you, issues they were having, any pertinent details 
  3. The solution or action that needed to take place: You can detail the approach or solution that was implemented to address the problem. Explain the steps taken, strategies employed, and any innovative or unique aspects of the solution.
  4. How you implemented it, if applicable – or any steps in your process you want to highlight 
  5. Result – how they feel now, what it allows them to do, features, benefits, etc. 
  6. Conclusion – any closing thoughts, key points, lessons learned, or future implications
  7. A Call to Action
Other things to consider including when telling your client success stories: 

> Quotes

> Visuals – photos, floorplans, 

> Video testimonials 

> Interlinks to other, similar projects, or to the services you’re promoting 

Now, how do we get this rave feedback from our clients!? 

Here are a few tips on asking your clients and customers to share their stories and then I’ll give you some questions you can send them: 

Tip #1) Timing is Key

Reach out to clients shortly after completing a project or delivering a service while their experience is fresh in their minds. This increases the likelihood of receiving a prompt and enthusiastic response. Make your reach out personal so they know this isn’t just something you mass send out. 

Tip #2) Make it Easy

Simplify the process for clients to provide testimonials. Provide clear instructions and offer multiple channels for submitting testimonials, such as email, online forms, or direct messages on social media. We’re also going to give them specific questions (see below). Feel free to provide them with examples of others too! 

Tip #3) Make sure they know their privacy will be respected. 

Always respect your clients’ privacy and obtain their consent before using their testimonials publicly. Clearly communicate how and where their testimonials will be used and give them the option to opt out if they prefer not to participate.

If you don’t receive a response to your initial request, or if they said, “Yes” but then left you hanging… don’t be afraid to follow up politely with a reminder. Sometimes clients may forget or overlook your request amidst their busy schedules.

After the fact: Express gratitude and thanks! 
Questions to Ask to Get Customer Stories: 

Note: you will find a TON more so I recommend you look this up and find the ones that apply for you! 

Here are ten I like to get you started… 

  1. Location, occupation, position, name, any details like that you’ll need 
  2. What problem or challenge were they facing prior to working with you? 
  3. What were they feeling prior to working with you? What problems was it causing them? 
  4. How did they find you? 
  5. Why did they choose YOU to solve this problem or help them overcome this challenge?
  6. What did they enjoy about your process? 
  7. How did they feel in working with you? 
  8. What was the result on the other side? 
  9. How did they feel after working with you? 
  10. Anything else they’d like to add? 

With their responses, it’s up to you (or me if you hire me ;)) to craft their answer into a testimonial, case study, portfolio page, and beyond! 

I’ll even give you bonus points if you repurpose it into a social media post or two! 

Great customer success stories are some of the best stories you can tell in your business because they help others relate to your work, build your social proof, and show clearly what sets you apart and makes you the unique flavor of genius you are!