As a local business owner, you understand that social proof (what other people think about their company and say publicly) is a powerful tool for building trust with potential customers. Positive reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers can help to establish your business as reputable and reliable and encourage new customers to give your services a try.
According to Podium, 93% of users have made buying decisions based on an online review.
However, in recent years, the prevalence of fake reviews has made it difficult for consumers to know which reviews are genuine and which have been created artificially or fraudulently. Agility PR says that 67% of consumers think fake reviews are a problem.
As a result, businesses are turning to other forms of social proof, such as case studies, to demonstrate the legitimacy of their services.
So, what is a case study, and why are case studies more credible than reviews or testimonials? Let’s take a closer look.
What is a case study?
A case study is a detailed examination of a customer’s situation, the service provided by the business, and the results achieved. Most reviews or testimonials offer only a few words about a customer’s experience, and some will use a fake name or only customer initials.
A case study, even a simple one, provides a deeper dive into the customer’s specific challenges, the steps taken to address those challenges, and the tangible results.
A typical case study might include information such as the customer’s business or industry, the specific challenges they were facing, the solution provided by the service provider (including products used and strategies employed), and the measurable results achieved because of the service.
Why are case studies more credible and effective?
Case studies offer many benefits for local service businesses looking to establish credibility with potential customers.
Here are just a few reasons why case studies are better than reviews or testimonials:
- Case studies are detailed, specific and sincere: Case studies are more convincing than testimonials or reviews because they provide more detail about a customer’s circumstances. This level of detail is difficult to fake and would require creativity and a lot of effort. Their specific details and problem-focused writing provide a more compelling argument for why potential customers should choose your business.
- Case studies require customer participation: Writing a case study typically involves interviewing the customer and getting their feedback on their experience with your company. This makes it harder to fake a positive review or testimonial without the customer’s knowledge or consent, which makes them much more believable to prospective buyers.
- Case studies showcase expertise: By highlighting a specific customer’s challenges and the solutions provided, case studies can showcase the expertise and capabilities of your business. This can be especially important for businesses looking to differentiate themselves from competitors and position themselves as industry experts. Again, this level of detail is harder to fake.
- Case studies are share-able: Case studies can be shared with potential customers. Unlike reviews or testimonials that are typically posted on third-party websites, case studies can be shared directly with potential customers via your website or even printed marketing materials. This can help build trust and credibility with your target audience.
When might a customer avatar be used?
While case studies are typically more effective when they “name names”, there may be situations where it’s better to use a customer avatar instead.
For example, if the customer you worked with has confidentiality concerns or is unwilling to be named, you may need to use a customer avatar to protect their privacy. Similarly, if your customer has not approved the case study or the specific details you want to share, you may need to use a customer avatar to avoid legal problems.
In some cases, you might also choose to create a generic customer case study, which highlights the common problems your customers face and shows how your service can solve them. You might also use a customer avatar in this instance to represent the average customer you work with.
Conclusion – Reducing the Problem of Fake Reviews and Testimonials using Case Studies
In today’s world of fake reviews and testimonials, it’s more important than ever for local service businesses to provide credible and authentic social proof for potential customers.
By investing in case studies that provide detailed and specific examples of how your service can help customers achieve their goals, you can establish your business as reputable, reliable, and trustworthy.