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4 Customer Service Case Studies to Inspire You

Customer service case studies help attract new customers to your business by showing them how your company can help them. Instead of simply telling customers what you can do for them, you demonstrate it with storytelling and draw them in.

November 24, 2022

6 mins read

If you’ve researched any brand it’s more than likely you’ve come across a customer service case study. Real-life customer experiences are a powerful way to advertise a brand and showcase the real interactions customers have when approaching a company’s customer service department.

Instead of simply telling a customer what it’s like to benefit from a company’s customer service, they demonstrate genuine examples of customers who have submitted tickets to their customer service team. 

On the surface of it, one company can appear much like another without powerful customer service case studies to demonstrate its impact. Customers will be required to actually sign up to your service before they can experience your customer support for themselves. 

What is a customer service case study?

A customer service case study is a strategy to show the experiences of customers that have actually signed up to use your product or service and have actually witnessed your customer service for themselves. 

Potential customers who are researching what your company has to offer will benefit from the case studies of customers that have already passed through the buying decision. Instead of a company simply telling prospective customers what they have to offer, they will be able to demonstrate their service in reality. 

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A customer service case study goes beyond being a simple testimonial, however. It’s factual evidence of customers who have implemented your company’s product or service and a demonstration of its ability to actually deliver results. 

Why are customer service case studies important? 

Without customer service case studies, your business will struggle to show how it is helping its customers. A case study shows your prospective customers how the business has performed in a real-life example of customer service, and helps them imagine what it would be like to do business with your company. 

Customer service case studies show potential customers how your business has helped customers to solve their problems and further their business goals. Although there are other ways to market your business, customer service case studies are a solid way to reach out to new prospects and convert them into customers. 

Successful customer case studies showcase successful examples of customer service that persuade your prospects to actually buy. They show prospects how well your customer service actually works and highlights your product’s value. 

How do you write a customer service case study?

There are a few strategies you need to follow when writing a customer service case study. Having a variety of different case studies will enable you to reach more potential customers which cover a range of situations and needs. 

1. Focus on your personas

You need to consider the type of the customer that you want to attract with your customer service case study. Mapping out your personas is an important part of your marketing strategy because it helps you identify prospects with unique wants and needs. Your customer service may appeal to different types of individuals and it’s crucial to target each one specifically. 

2. Tell a story

At their core, customer service case studies are stories about particular customers. Simply raving about how great your company is wil be boring for your readers, and you need to take them on a journey. Stories need to have obstacles to overcome, and your case study should show how your product or service is the hero of the narrative. 

3. Emphasize benefits

The benefits of your customer service will help to appeal to customers that have a specific pain point to solve. Instead of focusing on products or features it’s important to show how your service will help them. Your customer service case study is likely to be a representative example of a customer that has similar problems to other prospects, and it’s important to help prospective customers visualize using your service. 

4. Highlight the results 

Highlighting the results that your customer service will help your customers achieve means focusing on the before and after of using your service. Genuine improvements to your customer’s business will help to convince them that your product or service is the answer. Showing the results of your customer service helps customers see how they can save or make more money after choosing your business. 

4 interesting customer service case studies

Quick heal and kayako.

Here’s the first interesting customer service case study from Kayako. There was a company called Quick Heal Technologies which was a provider of internet security tools and anti-virus software. They had millions of global users, but they were struggling to deliver outstanding customer service due to a high volume of customer service requests. 

One of their main issues was the absence of a system to track requests from different sources. Agents were checking many different platforms for customer service requests, and lacked a vital overview of the customer experience. They were losing tickets and suffering from incomplete information. There were delays in the customer support experience and the existing system couldn’t manage its workflow. 

Enter Kayako, help desk software. Their Shared Inbox Solution brought together the different customer service platforms such as email, Facebook, Twitter, and live chat. Quick Heal agents were able to support customers seamlessly and minimize the number of tickets that were dropped. They could significantly reduce their ticket response times and accelerate the time to resolution. Agents were able to much more effectively collaborate and reduce duplication of effort. 

Springboard and Help Scout

The next customer service case study is about Springboard, a platform which provides online resources and personalized mentors to help students build their dream careers. Their aim is to make a great education accessible to anyone in the world. 

So far, they have worked with 250 mentors to train more than 5,000 students over 6 continents. Their success has depended on their ability to create an open environment where students feel comfortable requesting feedback and discovering course information on their own. 

Springboard needed a solution that could help them build relationships with their students, even if it’s over email, and they decided that Help Scout was the answer. They chose Help Scout because it means they can have human conversations rather than treating their students like a ticket number. 

They make use of Help Scout’s help desk features to find key insights into students’ conversations, as well as their Docs knowledge base which provides answers to common questions. As a result, students are able to more effectively learn and overcome problems when they arise. 

We’ve got another customer service case study from an airline – in this case, JetBlue. They really know how to make their customers smile with small gestures and ensure they can win customers for life. 

One customer called Paul Brown was flying with JetBlue from the smaller terminal at Boston’s Logan airport. He realized that he couldn’t grab his usual Starbucks coffee because there was no Starbucks at the terminal. On a whim, he sent a tweet to JetBlue asking them to deliver his venti mocha, and to his surprise they obliged! Within minutes JetBlue customer service representatives had delivered the coffee to Paul’s seat on the plane. 

This example of customer service shows that JetBlue is willing to go the extra mile for customers and will ensure that the company can continue to attract more customers.

Gympass and Slack

Gympass is an international platform that gives companies and their employees 50% to 70% off a global network of fitness studios, digital workouts, and mental health and nutrition services. It was founded in 2012 and has experienced steady growth, now worth more than USD $1 billion. Users of Gympass have access to 50,000 gyms and studios in more than 7,000 cities, so they can work out while they are on the move. 

The problem with this growing company was communication across the globe. The company was overly reliant on emails which led to silos and employees missing out on vital information. The solution to this problem was Slack, a communications platform which is made accessible to all new employees so they have everything they need right from the start. 

Now, teams at Gympass work across a range of 2,000 Slack channels which are open to 1,000 employees. They can share documents, messages and information, keeping connected across locations and facilitating new projects like event planning. It’s enabled Gympass to build a strong culture of collaboration and ensure that every employee can find the information they need. 

Wrapping up

Customer service case studies help attract new customers to your business by showing them how your company can help them. Instead of simply telling customers what you can do for them, you demonstrate it with storytelling and draw them in. Showing your customers benefits and outcomes support them to make the decision to purchase. 

Before they actually have a trial of using your product or service, it’s hard for customers to know what it would be like. Case studies can give a valuable preview into what it would be like to work with your company and highlight customers that have already achieved success. 

Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She often writes case studies, help documentation and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at

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Customer Experience

5 Case Studies to Improve Your Customer Service


As more and more customer transactions occur virtually, the quality of online help desks and customer service support is becoming an essential differentiator for companies. An estimated  73% of consumers say a good experience is critical in influencing their brand loyalties.

Customer satisfaction directly impacts the bottom line, too, as 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue.

Apart from the stats, it is important to look for examples of company success stories improving customer service and productivity. Having high-performance customer service is essential for any company, regardless of industry. Check out these five case studies that will help you improve this process in your business.

How Quick Heal optimized their customer service, extending support hours and responding to inquiries faster

Quick Heal Technologies is a leading provider of internet security tools and anti-virus software, serving millions of users worldwide. Like many fast-growing companies, they experienced bottlenecks in their customer service process due to the high volume of requests.

  • No system to track requests from different sources. 
  • Agents could not maintain a global view of the customer request, negatively impacting customer service.  
  • High incidence of lost tickets and incomplete information.
  • Customers were not happy with the support delays.  
  • The existing system did not manage its workflow.

Quick Heal researched several options yet didn’t find a solution with the right blend of factors. That’s when the team signed up for a free trial of Kayako. Before the free trial even ended, Quick Heal decided that Kayako was the right solution.

Kayako’s Shared Inbox Solution creates a frictionless experience by unifying interactions from different sources like email, Facebook, Twitter, and live chat. The Shared Inbox Solution means QuickHeal agents can serve customers more efficiently while preventing dropped tickets and lost conversations.

Kayako Benefits for Quick Heal:

  • Reduced ticket response and resolution times
  • Improved collaboration and reduced duplication of effort
  • Extended support hours
  • Consolidated conversations from multiple sources
“Without Kayako, we would not be able to manage all of the incoming ticket requests in an organized manner nor provide the quality of support we stand for. Kayako is far more efficient than our previous help desk system.” Sushant Dashputre, Assistant Manager of Technical Support at Quick Heal

Are you ready to deliver Friction-Free Customer Service? Capture your customer’s entire journey in a way a support ticket or traditional help desk never could. Discover Kayako Single View

Increasing NameCheap’s agent productivity through a self-service knowledge base

Namecheap is a leading domain registrar and technology company that offers domain registration, hosting packages, and related services. Customer support is vital to Namecheap, especially because they serve many repeat customers. Scaling personalization in support is imperative to avoid customer churn.

  • No optimized workflow for the high volume of requests led to customer complaints.
  • Due to a complicated and overwhelming process when responding to customer tickets, Agents became stressed. 
  • Low productivity for service agents.

Namecheap began to look for a reliable, unified customer service software solution. They had difficulty finding an option that fit all their needs. The Namecheap team then learned about Kayako and decided to try it.

After Namecheap integrated Kayako into their website, they saw an immediate improvement in agent productivity. They implemented a Self-Service Portal with tools like macro-libraries of responses, automated replies, and a self-help knowledge base to help customers get helpful answers anytime they need help.

Kayako’s SingleView gives agents a complete visualization of the entire customer journey, from initial purchase to most recent customer service inquiry for individualized customer questions needing personalized support. Kayako enables Namecheap to scale personalized customer service, the holy grail for companies with a high volume of repeat customers.

Kayako Benefits for Namecheap:

  • Improved self-service knowledge base.
  • Streamlined ticket management.
  • Boosted productivity.
  • Increased customer satisfaction.
“One of the things we most value about Kayako is how carefully they have thought about real-life support processes. In all aspects, Kayako provides us with value in buckets.” Nata Trusova, Director of Customer Support at Namecheap

How Envato manages multiple customer bases in one place and resolves tickets faster

Envato is a world-leading online community for creatives. The company’s steady growth since 2006 outpaced its existing resources for support requests. Envato tried building their own help desk and quickly saw that a DIY solution would be prohibitively expensive in terms of time and money.

They began to search for an existing customer service software solution that could meet their needs and fit their budget.

  • Existing support system not keeping up with the volume of requests. 
  • Support requests were hard to track, sometimes going to individual emails. 
  • Envato managed multiple customer databases and needed a way to coordinate them.

Using Kayako’s SingleView dashboard, Envato could access multiple customer databases in just one place. SingleView provides a complete view of the customer journey so that customer service agents can provide personalized support to every customer.

Using features like Kayako’s ticket parsing rules, Smart Routing and internal collaboration tools helps Envato efficiently give customers accurate answers every time. With Kayako, the Envato team handles more requests in less time while increasing the quality of customer service. Best of all, Kayako is a scalable solution that can grow with Envato.

Kayako Benefits for Envato:

  • Resolved tickets faster.
  • Managed all customer databases in a single system.
“Kayako has allowed us to extensively customize our help desk. This really meant that we can just make our help desk work in the way we want, rather than coming up with an elaborate system to fit into the technical requirements of other help desks. It has functionality that other support providers have not been able to match.” Jordan McNamara, Community Manager, Envato

Increasing Texas Tech´s customer satisfaction with a communication and collaboration platform

Texas Tech University is a top institution focused on advancing higher education, research, and health care. With more than 10,000 employees and over 36,000 students, their support team was overwhelmed with the volume of service requests.

  • Support staff, students, faculty, and many other stakeholders were frustrated because the system couldn’t handle the high volume of support requests. 
  • The situation reflected poorly on their brand as a top higher education institution. 
  • Staff was trying to manage support requests using a shared Outlook account.
  • They had no way to collaborate internally on support requests.

After comparing different options, Texas Tech chose Kayako because it offered  Kayako Collaborators Feature they needed to coordinate internal communications and to serve customers with faster responses.

Their team quickly implemented Kayako’s out-of-the-box features and immediately saw improvement.

“Once we implemented Kayako, we immediately noticed an increase in the quality of communication and collaboration, especially between our support and development team. Our customers also praised the improved communication.” Kevin Eyck, Enterprise Server Administrator, Texas Tech University

Kayako’s integrated self-service feature helped Texas Tech reduce the number of live-agent.

tickets by assisting customers in helping themselves. Texas Tech also leveraged Kayako’s customization options, using a custom LoginShare and integrating it with the intranet and applications used on their campus.

Kayako didn’t just help Texas Tech improve the support experience for the customer; it also enhanced their internal team’s productivity.

With Kayako, Texas Tech University handles all of its support requests quickly and easily resolves customer problems. Customers also benefit from the improved processes for ticket management and communication.

Kayako Benefits for Texas Tech University:

  • Reduced the number of support tickets.
  • Improved internal collaboration.
  • Gained self-service capability.

How Kayako helped CoinStop reduce average response time and implement omnichannel customer support

Coinstop is a trusted provider of cold storage cryptocurrency hardware wallets. After launching in 2016, Coinstop experienced extremely rapid growth.

They soon struggled to manage and respond to all of the support inquiries and questions from potential customers. The Coinstop team began searching for a customer service software solution that was easy to use and implement.

  • Rapid growth was putting a strain on the existing bare-bones support process.
  • Coinstop must spend time educating customers as well as selling to them.
  • Customer service practices did not scale with the company.
  • Coinstop was providing customer support using a single email account. 
  • Manually responding to hundreds of emails per day wasn’t a productive use of time. 
  • There was no way to track the progress of support requests, they couldn’t standardize responses across the various agents, and they found themselves asking repetitive questions that frustrated their customers. 

Coinstop needed a help desk and live chat software to organize and optimize their support. They chose Kayako customer support software because it offers the best experience for both support agents and customers.

Using the Kayako dashboard, agents can interact with customers across multiple social platforms, email, and live chat. Agents can see the customer’s history from all channels, not just chat or email.

Everyone on the Coinstop team has immediate access to all the information they need to provide quick, personalized support to customers with Kayako’s SingleView.

Kayako Benefits for Coinstop:

  • Reduced average response time.
  • Managed a higher volume of tickets with the same number of agents.
  • Improved collaboration between departments.
  • Implemented omnichannel support.
“You need one place to browse every single conversation you have had with each customer. Kayako is very well organized. You can tie everything into it, including emails, social media, and team members.” Christopher Pavlesic, Co-Founder of Coinstop

Are you ready to increase your team’s efficiency? Provide a better employee experience and speed up internal support with Kayako HelpDesk. Discover Kayako Self Service

Common Challenges, Custom Solutions for Customer Service Help Desk

As you can see, companies across a spectrum of industries often share similar challenges with customer service. Do you have questions about improving your customer service process? Join world-class customer support teams like the companies in these case studies using Kayako to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Book a Demo today.

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Customer Service Case Studies: Real-Life Examples Of Service Scenarios.

Published by eSoft Skills Team on 7:14 pm 7:14 pm

Customer Service Case Studies

Are you looking for real-life examples of customer service scenarios that can help you improve your own customer service skills? Look no further!

In this article, we will explore a series of case studies that highlight different aspects of effective customer service. These case studies will provide you with valuable insights into how to handle challenging situations, resolve issues, and create positive experiences for your customers.

Customer service plays a crucial role in the success of any business. It is not just about answering phone calls or responding to emails; it is about building relationships and exceeding customer expectations. By studying real-life examples, you can gain a deeper understanding of the importance of effective customer service and learn strategies to enhance your own skills.

In each case study, we will delve into different scenarios and examine how businesses successfully handled them. From resolving product quality issues to dealing with difficult customers, these case studies will showcase various approaches and solutions that you can apply in your own work.

Get ready to dive into these insightful stories that demonstrate the power of exceptional customer service!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Effective customer service is crucial for the success of a business.
  • Empathy and proactive customer service are essential aspects of providing excellent customer service.
  • Prompt resolution of product quality issues, with notification and compensation for affected customers, helps maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Handling difficult customers with a calm and empathetic approach, offering alternatives, and empowering them to make choices can build trust and loyalty.

The Importance of Effective Customer Service

You can’t underestimate the impact of great customer service – it’s like a warm cup of coffee on a chilly morning, instantly making you feel valued and appreciated.

In today’s competitive business landscape, providing effective customer service is more important than ever. Customers have numerous options at their fingertips, and one bad experience can send them running to your competitors. That’s why empathy plays a crucial role in customer service.

When customers feel understood and cared for, they’re more likely to become loyal advocates for your brand. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. In customer service, this means putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and genuinely listening to their concerns.

By showing empathy, you demonstrate that you value their emotions and are committed to finding a solution that meets their needs. This not only helps resolve issues effectively but also builds trust and strengthens the relationship with your customers.

Proactive customer service is another essential aspect of providing exceptional support. Instead of waiting for customers to come to you with problems or complaints, proactive customer service involves anticipating their needs and addressing any potential issues before they arise.

This approach shows that you’re dedicated to delivering an outstanding experience from start to finish. By taking the initiative, you can prevent problems from escalating and create positive interactions that leave a lasting impression on your customers.

The importance of effective customer service cannot be overstated. Empathy allows you to connect with your customers on a deeper level by understanding their emotions and concerns. Proactive customer service demonstrates your commitment to going above and beyond expectations by anticipating needs before they become problems.

By prioritizing these aspects in your approach to customer service, you can foster loyalty, build strong relationships with customers, and ultimately drive success for your business.

Case Study 1: Resolving a Product Quality Issue

Resolving a product quality issue can be challenging, but did you know that 86% of customers are more likely to repurchase from a company that resolves their complaint? When faced with a product quality issue, it’s important for companies to take immediate action and address the problem effectively.

One notable case study involves a product recall due to safety concerns. The company promptly notified customers about the recall through multiple channels such as email, social media, and website announcements. This proactive approach not only ensured customer safety but also demonstrated the company’s commitment to resolving the issue.

To further enhance customer satisfaction during this challenging time, the company offered compensation to affected customers. The compensation included a full refund for the recalled product as well as additional discounts on future purchases. By going above and beyond in compensating their customers, the company not only mitigated any potential negative feelings but also showed genuine concern for their customers’ wellbeing.

In addition to addressing individual complaints, the company took steps towards preventing similar issues in the future. They implemented stricter quality control measures throughout their production process and conducted thorough inspections before releasing any products into the market. This proactive approach reassured customers that their concerns were taken seriously and instilled confidence in the brand’s commitment to delivering high-quality products.

By resolving a product quality issue promptly and ensuring customer satisfaction through compensation and preventive measures, companies can not only retain existing customers but also build trust with new ones. It’s crucial for businesses to recognize that effective customer service goes beyond simply resolving complaints; it requires taking responsibility for failures, implementing meaningful solutions, and continuously improving processes to prevent similar issues from arising again in the future.

Case Study 2: Handling a Difficult Customer

Navigating through challenging interactions with clients can be a test of your company’s ability to handle difficult situations. Dealing with angry customers requires a delicate balance of empathy, patience, and problem-solving skills.

One real-life example of a company successfully managing a difficult situation involved an irate customer who had received a damaged product.

In this case, the customer contacted the company’s customer service department immediately after receiving the damaged product. The representative on the phone remained calm and empathetic throughout the conversation, acknowledging the customer’s frustration. They apologized sincerely for any inconvenience caused and assured the customer that they would resolve the issue promptly.

The representative then offered several options to address the problem, including sending a replacement or providing a refund. By presenting these alternatives, they empowered the customer to choose what solution best suited their needs. This approach helped defuse tension and created an atmosphere of collaboration rather than confrontation.

Ultimately, by effectively managing this difficult situation and prioritizing customer satisfaction, the company not only resolved the issue but also built trust and loyalty with their client base.

Case Study 3: Going Above and Beyond for a Customer

Exceeding expectations and leaving a lasting impression, one company went the extra mile to ensure a memorable experience for a dissatisfied client. The customer, let’s call her Sarah, had purchased a high-end laptop from this company but encountered numerous technical issues soon after receiving it. Frustrated with the product’s performance and the lack of support she received initially, Sarah reached out to the company’s customer service department for assistance.

To address Sarah’s concerns promptly, the customer service representative assigned to her case took immediate action. Recognizing that resolving her technical issues alone would not suffice in restoring Sarah’s trust and satisfaction, they decided to go above and beyond what was expected. The representative personally followed up with Sarah daily to provide updates on their progress in fixing her laptop. They also offered additional compensation for the inconvenience caused by sending her a complimentary accessory package.

In addition to their exceptional level of communication, this company created a personalized experience for Sarah through small gestures that left an indelible mark on her overall perception of their brand. One example was when they surprised her by upgrading her laptop’s warranty without any additional cost. This unexpected act not only demonstrated their commitment to providing quality products but also highlighted their dedication towards ensuring customer satisfaction.

By going above and beyond in addressing Sarah’s concerns and surpassing her expectations at every turn, this company exemplified outstanding customer service. Their proactive approach not only resolved technical issues efficiently but also left a lasting impression on Sarah concerning how much they valued her as a loyal customer. Through personalized attention, generous compensation, and unexpected upgrades, they not only ensured Sarah’s satisfaction but also fostered a long-term relationship based on trust and loyalty. This case study serves as a powerful reminder that going the extra mile can make all the difference in customer satisfaction and retention.

Case Study 4: Turning a Negative Review into a Positive Experience

If your business has ever received negative feedback, it’s important to know how to turn that experience into a positive one.

In this case study, we will explore how a business addressed a customer’s concerns and transformed their perception from negative to positive.

By taking the necessary steps and going above and beyond, the business not only resolved the issue but also improved their reputation in the process.

The negative feedback received by the business

Despite your best efforts, your business was bombarded with a barrage of scathing feedback that left you reeling. Customers expressed their dissatisfaction with the quality of your products and the poor customer service they received.

These negative reviews not only affected customer retention but also posed a threat to your brand reputation. The negative feedback highlighted areas where improvements were needed. It pointed out flaws in your product design, manufacturing processes, and communication channels.

While it may be disheartening to receive such criticism, it presents an opportunity for you to address these issues and enhance the overall customer experience. By acknowledging the shortcomings and taking immediate action to rectify them, you can regain customers’ trust and loyalty while rebuilding your brand’s reputation.

The steps taken to address the customer’s concerns

After receiving the negative feedback, we quickly took action to address the customer’s concerns and improve our products and services. We understand that addressing customer complaints is essential for maintaining a positive reputation and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Our first step was to reach out to the customer directly, expressing our apologies for any inconvenience caused and assuring them that their concerns were being taken seriously.

To resolve the customer’s issues, we implemented a thorough investigation into the matter. This involved examining the specific details of their complaint, evaluating our internal processes, and identifying any areas where improvements could be made. By conducting this analysis, we were able to pinpoint the root cause of the problem and develop an effective solution.

Once we identified areas for improvement, we promptly made necessary changes to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future. This included updating our training programs for staff members involved in customer service interactions and enhancing quality control measures throughout our production process. We also communicated these updates transparently with all relevant stakeholders to ensure everyone understood our commitment to resolving customer issues.

Addressing customer complaints is not just about solving individual problems; it is about continuously improving our overall products and services. By taking immediate action upon receiving negative feedback, we demonstrate our dedication to providing exceptional experiences for every customer.

We remain committed to resolving any issues promptly while striving to exceed expectations in delivering high-quality products and top-notch service.

The transformation of the customer’s perception and improved reputation

Now that the steps have been taken to address the customer’s concerns, let’s discuss the transformation of their perception and the improved reputation of your business.

By promptly addressing the customer’s issues and providing a satisfactory resolution, you’ve demonstrated your commitment to customer satisfaction. This level of responsiveness not only resolves the immediate problem but also leaves a lasting impression on the customer.

As a result, their perception of your brand is likely to improve significantly. They’ll appreciate your willingness to listen, understand, and take action to rectify any issues they may have faced. This positive experience can lead to increased brand loyalty as customers recognize that you value their feedback and are committed to delivering exceptional service.

To further enhance customer satisfaction and foster brand loyalty, consider implementing these strategies:

  • Personalized follow-up: Reach out to customers after resolving their concerns with personalized messages or phone calls. This gesture shows that you genuinely care about their experience and want to ensure their ongoing satisfaction.
  • Proactive communication: Keep customers informed about any changes or improvements related to the issue they encountered. Sharing updates showcases transparency and builds trust in your ability to continuously improve.
  • Loyalty rewards program: Offer incentives or exclusive benefits for loyal customers who continue choosing your brand despite any initial challenges they may have faced. Rewarding their loyalty encourages repeat business and strengthens long-term relationships.

By investing in improving customer satisfaction and building brand loyalty, you can create a positive reputation for your business while fostering long-term success in an increasingly competitive market.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key elements of effective customer service.

Effective customer service requires several key elements.

One interesting statistic is that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. This highlights the importance of providing exceptional service.

Effective communication plays a crucial role in customer service as it allows you to understand the needs and concerns of your customers, while also conveying information clearly and concisely.

Empathy and understanding are equally important, as they enable you to connect with customers on an emotional level, showing them that their satisfaction is your top priority.

By incorporating these elements into your customer service approach, you can create positive experiences that leave a lasting impression on your customers.

How can companies measure the success of their customer service efforts?

To measure the success of your customer service efforts, you can utilize various customer satisfaction metrics and conduct thorough customer feedback analysis.

Customer satisfaction metrics, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Effort Score (CES), provide valuable insights into how satisfied your customers are with the service they received. These metrics allow you to quantify customer sentiment and identify areas for improvement.

Additionally, analyzing customer feedback through surveys or social media monitoring enables you to understand specific pain points and address them proactively.

By consistently measuring these indicators and taking action based on the results, you can continuously enhance your customer service performance and ensure a positive experience for your customers.

What are some common challenges faced by customer service representatives?

Handling difficult customers and managing high call volumes can be incredibly challenging for customer service representatives. Dealing with irate customers can feel like trying to calm a hurricane with a feather, as their frustrations can reach astronomical levels. It requires an extraordinary level of patience and empathy to navigate through their anger and find a resolution that satisfies both parties.

Additionally, managing high call volumes can feel like juggling flaming swords while walking on a tightrope. The constant influx of calls puts immense pressure on representatives to provide quick and efficient assistance without compromising the quality of service.

However, despite these Herculean tasks, customer service representatives rise above the challenges by employing exceptional communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction.

How can companies improve their customer service skills and knowledge?

To improve their customer service skills and knowledge, companies should invest in comprehensive training programs that provide employees with the necessary tools and techniques to handle different scenarios. These programs can include modules on effective communication, problem-solving, and empathy to ensure that representatives are equipped to handle any customer interactions.

Additionally, implementing feedback systems that allow customers to provide their input and suggestions can also be beneficial. This feedback can help identify areas for improvement and enable companies to make necessary adjustments in their processes or training programs.

By prioritizing ongoing training initiatives and actively seeking customer feedback, companies can continually enhance their customer service skills and knowledge, leading to improved overall customer satisfaction levels.

What are some best practices for handling customer complaints and resolving issues?

When it comes to handling customer complaints and resolving issues, think of yourself as a skilled navigator guiding a ship through stormy waters. Customer feedback is like the wind, sometimes gentle and other times fierce, but always pushing you towards improvement.

Conflict resolution is your compass, helping you find the right path to address concerns and turn unhappy customers into satisfied ones. Actively listen to their grievances, empathize with their frustrations, and offer swift solutions that demonstrate your commitment to their satisfaction.

By taking ownership of the problem and going above and beyond to resolve it, you can transform a dissatisfied customer into a loyal advocate for your brand.

In conclusion, effective customer service is crucial for businesses to thrive in today’s competitive market. As demonstrated by the case studies discussed, handling product quality issues, difficult customers, and negative reviews with empathy and proactive solutions can turn potentially negative experiences into positive ones.

One interesting statistic that highlights the impact of great customer service is that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience (Source: PwC). This statistic evokes an emotional response as it emphasizes the value customers place on exceptional service. By investing in providing top-notch customer service, businesses not only create loyal customers but also have the potential to increase their revenue.

To ensure success in customer service scenarios, it is essential for businesses to empower their employees with proper training and resources. By equipping them with problem-solving skills, effective communication techniques, and a genuine desire to help customers, companies can build strong relationships and foster trust. Additionally, embracing technology solutions such as AI-powered chatbots or self-service options can streamline processes and provide faster resolutions.

In summary, delivering exceptional customer service requires a proactive approach that focuses on resolving issues promptly while exceeding expectations. By prioritizing the needs of customers and going above and beyond to provide personalized solutions, businesses can create memorable experiences that result in increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Remember, investing in superior customer service is not just about satisfying your current customers; it’s about attracting new ones who’re willing to pay more for an outstanding experience.

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eSoft Skills Team

The eSoft Editorial Team, a blend of experienced professionals, leaders, and academics, specializes in soft skills, leadership, management, and personal and professional development. Committed to delivering thoroughly researched, high-quality, and reliable content, they abide by strict editorial guidelines ensuring accuracy and currency. Each article crafted is not merely informative but serves as a catalyst for growth, empowering individuals and organizations. As enablers, their trusted insights shape the leaders and organizations of tomorrow.

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case study about the customer service

6 Interesting Customer Service Case Studies to Inspire You

case study about the customer service

July 18, 2023

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An 11-year-old boy’s experience with LEGO customer service changed the company’s brand perception. It’s not only brought in more customers but also justified their lead position in the market. Here, we will discuss a few more interesting customer service case studies.

One good service can not just help one customer but also influence future customers. Reading others’ stories will help you understand ways to overcome new challenges.

I will start with some popular ones.

Popular customer experience case studies

Customer service is not just limited to providing product-related support anymore. We have passed the line way back. As the market gets more critical, everyone is running a few extra miles. Even the top companies in the field are not compromising anything. 

Let’s start with JetBlue’s customer service case study.

JetBlue sets an example of how you can use social media to provide excellent customer service. They have multiple teams at different levels that are active on Twitter. And there are many examples of it.

Here is one: Paul once tweeted that he couldn’t find Starbucks at the gate while boarding the flight. JetBlue immediately responded with an alternative, which was free for him.

JetBlue's customer service case studies using Twitter.

Another challenge that JetBlue faced was the winter storm in early January of 2017 . They had to cancel a lot of flights at that time. And because of this, thousands of people were impacted.

The challenge here is that JetBlue cannot change the weather or ensure a safe flight during a storm. But they can provide up-to-date information.

So, they started to tweet updates about the storm and the flight schedule the whole time. As a result, even though the passengers were frustrated, they were happy with JetBlue’s service.

Zappos has a good reputation for providing the best customer support. And it has a lot of interesting customer service case studies. One particular service case created a lot of buzz in the market.

Zappos’s service agent talked with a customer for 10 hours in one call. And, surprisingly, Zappos took it in a positive way. The call wasn’t even about any service. 

This long call started with where and how that customer lives. Then, eventually, it turns into clothing and fashion-related conversation. Finally, the customer ended the call with the purchase of a pair of UGG boots.

It breaks all the records and wins a long-running battle. Which one is better, automated calls or live agents? And without a doubt, it’s the personal touch that steals the crown every time.

This customer service case study is a bit more heartwarming. 11-year-old James Groccia has Asperger’s syndrome. He was looking at an expensive LEGO set for his birthday. It’s the exclusive Emerald Night Train set.

James saved money for two years. The money came from his birthday gifts and his participation in research. But he was heartbroken when he found out that it was unavailable.

His mother looked everywhere possible. On Amazon, eBay, or any other platform, it was either out of stock or too expensive. Eventually, with the help of a social worker, James wrote to LEGO.

It was a huge surprise to James that LEGO wrote back. And not just that, they surprised him with the exclusive Emerald Night Train set just before his 11th birthday.

LEGO's customer experience case study for a 11 year old boy.

It wasn’t easy for LEGO as well. It was a discontinued set and a collectible. They had to track it down for him. This extra mile not only made that customer happy but also established a brand perception that cares about its customers.

WPManageNinja’s customer service case study

While we were looking for customer experience stories, we talked with our Support team head, Mr. Kamrul Islam , here at the WPManageNinja office. He shared a few interesting case studies with us.

“I made a full website using your table builder plugin.”

Our support team faces and solves a lot of interesting cases every day. So, from a lot of stories, we have chosen three interesting stories to share with you in this blog. And, we are not going to be technical here at all.

So keep reading.

Story #1: Fluent Form

Let’s start with a simple one. One of our clients creates a ticket with an issue through our Fluent Support helpdesk system . 

Ticket created from customer’s end

I am a Fluent Form user. And I want to create a booking form using your form builder.

Thanks a lot for contacting us. Let us get into it and see what we can do for you. We will get back to you ASAP.

Booking system plugins are typically used for appointment booking. However, our support team needs to find a way to use our form builder plugin to accomplish this task.

But instead of saying, “This is not possible,” to our client, they get to work. Started figuring out a workaround for this. For obvious reasons, a form builder cannot provide a booking system facility, but the team finds a way to use it as a basic date booking system.

Our support team used two date-picker blocks from our Fluent Form builder and used different blocks to pick the starting and ending dates. Our team got in touch with the customer and gave him the solution.

But the customer knocked again.

Ticket continue

I am happy with the solution, but I’m facing an issue. I picked one date from the “Start from” calendar drop-down, but I can still see the previous dates are active in the “End at” drop-down. I want it disabled.

Here is a screenshot.

Customer issue - Customer service case study

We can certainly help you out with this. We will get back to you shortly with a solution. We really appreciate your patience, and thanks a lot for being with us.

As our support specialist stated, they provided a solid solution. They had to write some custom code to implement a new feature in the client’s system.

service provided solution to customer - customer experience case study

That customer not only gave us a 5-star rating for our service but also became one of our loyal customers.

Story #2: Ninja Table and Fluent Form:

Speaking of adding custom features, it’s one of the regular jobs for our support team. Support agents, from time to time, write custom codes to fulfill customer requests.

Once, we got another ticket about a dynamic integration between two of our products. And the request came in multiple layers.

Hi, I am ruining a multi-user-based site, and recently I purchased the Ninja table for my site. I bought this to list my users information in a single table. But after a few tries, I failed to do it. Can you help me?

Thanks a lot for connecting us. We can help you with your issue. We will get back to you ASAP with a solution. Thanks a lot for being with us.

Our support agent needed to create a table from the site’s SQL data that contained user information.

It was an easy fix. Ninja Table has that feature built-in. Our expert agent wrote a few lines of script to pull users’ information. It created a table from SQL data.

The tickets continue.

Now I can see all the users’ information in a single table. But now I want to display only logged-in user information in the table. The rest of the user’s information should be hidden for that user.

Sure, we can do that for you.

So, the support agent created a custom shortcode to embed the table on the display page. That custom shortcode restricted other users’ information to the logged-in user.  

But the client came to our support team again.

Hi, I’m very happy with the output. But now I need one more thing from you. I need another column in the table with a form link in it. If a customer clicks on it, it will open a new page with the form on it. And I need it to be prefilled with the information from the table. I don’t want my customer to fill out the form again.

We can certainly help you with this. Our engineers will get into it and get back to you soon with a solution.

Our support team has two challenges in solving this ticket.

  • A table created using SQL data has a limitation. You cannot add a new column to the table without touching the SQL data. Altering SQL data is not a good idea at all. So, adding a new column in the table with a form link is difficult.
  • Pull the data from the table to prefill a form with logged-in users data. And then make the prefilled input box uneditable.

Our team starts with the first challenge. We cannot create a new column without altering the SQL data. But then they figured out a way to replace particular data with the desired data. And in this case, the desired data is the form page link.

So, they used a column from the SQL data set that did not have important information. Using the custom scripting, they replaced the SQL-pushed data with the form page link. Part one is solved.

For the second challenge, our team used Fluent Form. They integrate the Fluent form with the Ninja table. With the help of some custom scripting, they were able to pull the data from the table into the form’s input box.

The client was really happy with the outcome. Just because of this service, the client bought all of our products. And there is no need to mention that the client became one of our advocates.

Story #3: Ninja Table

Customers can show you totally different use cases for your product. This particular story is the best example of this statement.

Hi, I am using your Ninja Table plugin on my site. I need to link a Google Sheet with the plugin. Is it possible?

Thanks a lot for connecting us. We have a built-in integration facility for Google Sheets in the table settings.

At this point, the WP Manage Ninja team sent a step-by-step video tutorial to show how to do the integration. and the client was happy with this.

But shortly after that, clients connected with our support team again with multiple queries.

I need your help to customize the table. I want to make it look different from a regular table. Specifically, I want to hide the header and border and resize the columns and rows. I also want to know if I can apply custom styling to the data from the Google Sheet and if an image inserted in the Google Sheet will appear in the table. So somehow, I don’t want it to look like a table.

Thanks again for connecting with us. All of your requests are possible. However, it would be helpful if we could have access to the site table on your site. This would allow us to provide you with a better suggestion.

The client shared a link to the site with the support team. The whole team was a bit confused.

Customer's site image - customer service case study

Hi again. Thanks a lot for sharing the site link with us. But we may need a little more information about the site. And please specify where you want to put the final table. Also, can you please give us a link to the actual table?

I gave you the link to the table.

We are very sorry; you just gave us a site link. We cannot see any tables here.

That is the table.

May you please elaborate? What do you mean by that?

I made a full website using your table builder plugin.

After some inspection of the site, our agent realized our client had made a fully functional website using our table builder plugin. We were just amazed by this type of use case.

website made by a table builder - customer service case study

The client also linked the table with a Google Sheet, which we helped them with previously. This means that they do not need to log in to the WordPress dashboard to change any data.

Google Sheet linked with client's site - customer experience case study

The client can simply make changes to the Google Sheet from their phone, and our table plugin will automatically update the data on the site.  

This is so far one of the most unique and clever use cases we have seen for any of our products.

Takeaways customer service case studies

Up until now, we have shared six different customer service case studies. But these are not just stories. These case studies tell us what excellent service is. It teaches us how we can go the extra mile and how it can impact our customers.

Essential qualities of the best customer service reps

So, here are a few takeaways from these case studies:

  • Be responsive. Respond to the customer, even if it’s a tweet. Be quick and efficient.
  • Be helpful. Go above and beyond to help customers, even when they don’t know it’s not required. This could mean offering advice, making recommendations, or just listening.
  • Be transparent. Be honest with customers, even when it’s not good news. Customers always appreciate a direct response, even when they are angry.
  • Be personal. Take the time to get to know the customer’s individual needs. This will help you provide more personalized service. Which will make them feel special.
  • Be human. Don’t hold your personality back; let your human side shine through. Show that you care about the customer and their experience. This could mean using humor, being empathetic, or just being yourself. The personal level of connection is effortless. This will make your service seamless.
  • Go the extra mile. Go above and beyond to help customers. This could mean tracking down a discontinued product, giving a refund, or even just sending a handwritten note. Whether you need to write custom code, provide training, or even just be a sounding board, let it be.
  • Be creative. If you can’t find a solution, that’s fine. Go out of the box and come up with a new one.
  • Be patient. Sometimes, it takes time to find the right solution that works. Be patient with customers and stay with them until they’re happy with it.
  • Be open-minded. Customers may use your product in ways that you never intended. Be open to new ideas.
  • Be impressed. Be amazed by the imagination and creativity of your clients. When you see customers using your product in a unique way, make sure to let them know how impressed you are.

Final thoughts

Being a tech support specialist or service agent is a challenging job, no doubt. A customer can come up with any type of issue. Hance, the service providers have to be sound enough to deal with any surprises.

The service-dependent industries are constantly facing a variety of cases every day. That’s why customer service case studies are a must-read for support and service providers. And, on the other hand, these stories can bring in new customers.

Start off with a powerful ticketing system that delivers smooth collaboration right out of the box.

Md. Ariful Basher

Hi, this is Abir, a web designer and full-time content writer passionate about psycho-thrillers and sci-fi. I focus on creating captivating content and visually stunning websites, ensuring a top-notch customer experience. Also, a food enthusiast!

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Customer Experience

11 great customer service examples in 2023

Excellent customer service is essential for business. In fact, consumers are willing to spend 17 percent more with companies that deliver great customer service, according to American Express .

Unfortunately, it’s true that bad news travels faster than good news, especially in the age of social media. Most customer service stories online are about a bad customer service experience, and consequently, you don’t always hear about companies who are achieving customer satisfaction.

Keep scrolling to find customer service examples that will inspire, as well as tips for improving your customer experience.

What does excellent customer service look like?

The definition of “good” customer service is flexible, because it entirely depends on the level of expectation that customers have for your brand. This can be affected by variables such as your industry, product cost, brand reputation and more.

For example, if you’re flying in Economy, you don’t expect a 5* service with champagne and snacks - but if you were flying Business class, you’d be annoyed if those things weren’t provided for the higher cost of your seat.

What consumers expect from your customer service experience is the key factor in whether they perceive your brand to be great or terrible. Do they want to be able to resolve issues on multiple channels, or do they go to one channel for specific problems? Is your average response time more important to them, or is it how many self-service options you provide that matters? Is poor customer service the main reason why they might try a competitor?

Your support teams are your front line, shaping customer experience on a day-to-day basis. They can be proactively helpful in providing customer service that’s memorable, and turn a bad customer service experience around.

Investing in great service is worth your while. Don’t lose customers and brand loyalty by failing to meet and exceed expectations - grow your business’ revenue by ensuring that your excellent service keeps customers coming back.

Examples of good customer service experiences are more often than not the result of a kind, customer-centric service agents who are good at the following things:

Good customer service examples

  • Responding quickly: A customer will appreciate fast response times when they want to ask a question or highlight a problem.
  • Acting on customer feedback: When a customer support agent acts on the feedback they’ve received, it shows them that their opinion mattered.
  • Showing empathy: Employees that try to understand a customer’s point of view make a customer feel valued, and can turn an angry customer into a happy one.
  • Maintaining customer self-service options: Sometimes customers would prefer to find their own answer to problems rather than getting in touch with your customer service center. Having an up-to-date FAQ page or knowledge article base can be very helpful.
  • Providing omnichannel support: Different communication channels can support customers that have busy schedules or want flexibility in how they connect with businesses. Your customer service teams need to be prepared to offer support through email, phone, live chat, and social media.
  • Going the extra mile: When an employee is able to deliver excellent customer service beyond the customer’s expectations or adds a personal touch to the service experience, it can leave a positive impression and increase customer loyalty.

A less generalized amd more specific example of enhancing customer satisfaction and building loyalty is by offering discounts and coupons (depending on your industry and needs).

Why is delivering excellent customer service important?

There are several reasons why great customer service is important for your business. Below we list the most important ones.

Satisfied customers will spend more

According to Hubspot , 68 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from brands associated with excellent customer service. When you invest in delivering great customer service, you’re creating happy customers but also generating enough brand equity to charge a premium for your offering.

Your ROI will improve and profits will increase

Deloitte found that brands that were customer-centric were 60 percent more profitable when they were compared to companies that neglected to focus on customer experience. Your support team should be empowered to provide excellent customer service, not just for the customer’s benefit, but for your brand’s financial benefit as well.

Customers are more likely to forgive you

If you provide good customer service, you can convince customers to return, even if something didn’t go as they expected. Salesforce found that 78 percent of consumers will do business with a brand again after a mistake is made if the customer service is excellent.

Customer loyalty improves with great customer service

Microsoft says that a whopping 96 percent of customers believe customer service is vital when they’re choosing to be loyal to a brand. If you don’t provide customer service that meets expectations when dealing with an upset customer, you risk alienating them from returning to spend more. Quality service will help you to increase customer lifetime value.

A great customer experience means a higher chance of recommendations

Consumers who have a good customer service experience are more likely to recommend your brand to other people. Our own XM Institute found that consumers who rate a brand’s service as “good” are 38% more likely to recommend that company to others.

Real-life examples of great customer service

It's one thing to talk about what good customer service is in theory, and another to apply it to real-world companies. Below are eleven customer service examples from companies that go above and beyond, as well as the customer service tips we’ve taken from their stories.

  • JetBlue - Thank frequent customers with small gestures
  • Tesla - Meet your customers where they're at
  • Adobe - Respond to customer service complaints before they happen
  • Trader Joe's - Help those in time of need
  • Coca-Cola - Get involved in social causes
  • Zappos - Personally reply to every email
  • Us! - Provide an exceptional event experience
  • Sainsbury’s – Don't be afraid to change everything
  • American Express – Give customers benefits that can be used globally
  • Walmart - Invite customers into the company family
  • The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company – Turn customer errors into service opportunities

1. JetBlue - Thank frequent customers with small gestures

Paul Brown was flying JetBlue airlines when he casually tweeted that he couldn’t grab his Starbucks coffee before boarding the plane because he was flying out of the smaller terminal at Boston’s Logan airport. Within seconds of seeing the tweet, JetBlue sprang to action and the airport customer service reps delivered a Starbucks venti mocha to his seat on the plane. Brown was elated and raved about JetBlue on Twitter.

Good customer service takeaway : This is definitely one of those great customer examples other companies can learn from. The main takeaway? Your customers don’t always need large gestures, but just want to know they’re appreciated. In fact, 68 percent of customers leave because they perceive you don’t appreciate them.  I’m sure after knowing his request was heard, Mr. Brown feels appreciated and he’ll be a loyal customer for a long time. Keep your company at the top of your customer’s mind, with good customer care by doing small acts for more people, instead of a few large things for a lot of people. Believe it or not, it's the simple things that count and produce loyal and happy customers.

JetBlue Twitter conversation with customer

2. Tesla - Meet your customers where they’re at

Tesla literally meets customers where they’re at by going to the customer’s home and fixing issues on their car. It’s convenient for the customer because they don’t have to sit around a repair shop and it can be scheduled on their own time. This is an example of excellent customer service.

Flat tire on Sunday. Called Tesla, git a loaner tire within 40 minutes. Today they came to my house to replace the tire in 10 minutes. scheduled to come back to fix a small issue next week. What other car company does this? @elonmusk @TeslaModel3 @Tesla #mobileservice — Chris Kern (@cjk7216) October 31, 2018

3. Adobe - Respond to customer service complaints before they happen

When Adobe had an outage due to an issue with Amazon Web Services, they posted a tweet about it before they started getting customer complaints. The tweet contained a video of a puppy stampede as a distraction and lightened the mood. While there were some comments asking when the program would be running again, many replies focused on the adorable puppies.

Hi all, some Adobe services are down due to the AWS outage: Here's a puppy stampede to take your mind off of it. ? — Adobe Customer Care (@AdobeCare) February 28, 2017

4. Trader Joe's - Help those in time of need

An 89-year-old man was stuck in his house during a snowstorm and his granddaughter was worried he wouldn’t have enough food. She called around to several grocery stores and asked if they would deliver, to no avail. Finally, Trader Joe’s said they normally don’t deliver, but they would help. She read off a big list to the store and they delivered the entire order and more within 30 minutes, free of charge.

Trader Joe's Reddit customer service praise

5. Coca-Cola - Get involved in social causes

Since 1984, Coke has given back more than $1 billion through the Coca-Cola Foundation. What’s great is they give back at the local level and not just to large organizations. For instance, Coke in Ireland initiated the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund , which gives €100K annually to local charities that empower young people, foster sustainability, and encourage diversity and inclusion.

Coke thank you fund

6. Zappos - Personally reply to every email

Zappos responds to every email it receives, even if it’s addressed to the CEO. In this case, a woman sent a request to Tony Hsieh and even though he was unavailable, his representative sent a humorous and engaging email back.

Zappos customer thank you tweet

7. Us!  - Provide an exceptional event experience

During many conferences that we attend, we send our  “Qualtrics Dream Team” to fulfill customers' needs and wishes to make the event a truly exceptional experience. From food and drinks, to swag, to even vacations and massages, our team tries to fulfill as many requests as possible. They also collect customer feedback and make changes for a better event experience, such as room temperature and providing phone chargers.

Not a legal comment, but every other company listed here has some example of a customer thanking them for good customer service. I think our example would be stronger if we had something like that.

Curious to know how we run the Dream Team using our own software, or why we bring it to events like #CXOLeadersSummit ? Stop by our booth and we'll share all the secrets! Our team is here till 4pm AEST. — Qualtrics (@Qualtrics) August 8, 2018

8. Sainsbury’s – Don't be afraid to change everything

When Sainsbury’s, a UK supermarket chain, received a letter from three-and-a-half-year-old Lily Robinson, they ended up rebranding one of their products entirely. Lily thought their "tiger bread" didn’t resemble a tiger’s stripes at all – it looked more like the pattern on a giraffe. Sainsbury’s responded that the little girl was right and made new labels to share Lily's insight with other customers.

Sainsbury's customer letter

9. American Express – Give customers benefits that can be used globally

American Express maintains their position as a top-tier credit card company by offering its customers plenty of extra benefits: complimentary travel flight credit, insurance, and access to airline lounges to name a few. Combine these worldwide benefits with American Express's 24/7 support line and its global partners network and you have a company that truly connects with you wherever you are.

AmEx card beside laptop computer

10. Walmart - Invite customers into the company family

Walmart has a reputation for being focused on providing value to everyday families. They live out their family focus through the way they treat their employees. When one of their associates turned 101 years old, they shared the news on Facebook and invited customers to participate in the celebration.

case study about the customer service

11. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company – Turn customer errors into service opportunities

Ritz-Carlton employees are allowed up to $2,000 to fix any guest problem, no questions asked. One example was told by customer John DiJulius, who left his charger behind at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. He received a next-day air package with his charger and a note saying ‘Mr. DiJulius, I wanted to make sure we got this to you right away. I am sure you need it, and, just in case, I sent you an extra charger for your laptop.’

How to provide great customer service

The best way to provide a good customer service experience is to gather feedback, set metrics and take action on your overall customer experience (CX) .

Why not check out our free survey template to collect feedback for customer service and contact centers? You can download it here.

With Qualtrics, you can track key metrics with a customer service benchmark report to help you to understand how your service is improving over time. Track interactions and feedback across the customer journey and customer service experience, and set action into motion to gain customer trust and loyalty.

Best customer service practices: Improving agent effectiveness

Diana Kaemingk

Diana Kaemingk is a contributor to the Qualtrics blog.

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The next frontier of customer engagement: AI-enabled customer service

How to engage customers —and keep them engaged—is a focal question for organizations across the business-to-consumer (B2C) landscape, where disintermediation by digital platforms continues to erode traditional business models. Engaged customers are more loyal, have more touchpoints with their chosen brands, and deliver greater value over their lifetime.

About the authors

This article is a collaborative effort by Avinash Chandra Das, Greg Phalin , Ishwar Lal Patidar, Malcolm Gomes, Rakshit Sawhney, and Renny Thomas , representing views from McKinsey’s Operations Practice.

Yet financial institutions have often struggled to secure the deep consumer engagement typical in other mobile app–intermediated services. The average visit to a bank app lasts only half as long as a visit to an online shopping app, and only one-quarter as long as a visit to a gaming app. Hence, customer service offers one of the few opportunities available to transform financial-services interactions into memorable and long-lasting engagements.

Those customers are getting harder to please. Two-thirds of millennials expect real-time customer service, for example, and three-quarters of all customers expect consistent cross-channel service experience. And with cost pressures rising at least as quickly as service expectations, the obvious response—adding more well-trained employees to deliver great customer service—isn’t a viable option.

Companies are therefore turning to AI to deliver the proactive, personalized service customers want, when and how they want it—sometimes even before they know they want it. For transformed organizations, AI-enabled customer service can increase customer engagement, resulting in increased cross-sell and upsell opportunities while reducing cost-to-serve. In global banking alone, research from McKinsey conducted in 2020 estimates that AI technologies could potentially deliver up to $1 trillion of additional value each year , of which revamped customer service accounts for a significant portion. 1 “ AI bank of the future: Can banks meet the AI challenge ,” McKinsey, September 19, 2020.

While a few leading institutions are now transforming their customer service through apps, and new interfaces like social and easy payment systems, many across the industry are still playing catch-up. Institutions are finding that making the most of AI tools to transform customer service is not simply a case of deploying the latest technology. Customer service leaders face challenges ranging from selecting the most important use cases for AI to integrating technology with legacy systems and finding the right talent and organizational governance structures.

But done well, an AI-enabled customer service transformation can unlock significant value for the business—creating a virtuous circle of better service, higher satisfaction, and increasing customer engagement.

Would you like to learn more about our Operations Practice ?

The perils and promise of ai customer engagement.

Multiple converging factors have made the case for AI-based customer service transformation stronger than ever. Among the most important: increased customer acceptance of (and even preference for) machine-led conversational AI interactions. Meanwhile, related technologies such as messaging platforms are becoming more accessible, and customer behaviors are becoming more understandable with the relentless expansion of data pools institutions can collect and analyze.

Three challenges

But challenges also loom. First, complexity . The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a major catalyst for migration to self-service digital channels, and customers continue to show a preference for digital servicing channels as the “first point of contact.” As a result, customers increasingly turn to contact centers and assisted-chat functions for more complicated needs. That raises the second issue: higher expectations . Customer confidence in self-service channels for transactional activities is leading them to expect similar outcomes for more involved requests. Businesses are therefore rapidly adopting conversational AI, proactive nudges, and predictive engines to transform every point of the customer service experience. Yet these moves raise demand for highly sought-after skills, generating the third challenge: squeezed labor markets that leave customer service leaders struggling to fill crucial roles.

How leaders fulfill AI’s customer engagement promise

What ai-driven customer service maturity looks like.

A few leading institutions have reached level four on a five-level scale describing the maturity of a company’s AI-driven customer service.

Level 1: Manual and high-touch, based on paper forms and offered largely via assisted channels.

  • Reactive service, with the majority of interactions on human-assisted channels
  • Paper use is still prevalent

Level 2: Partly automated and basic digital channels, with digitization and automation of servicing in assisted channels.

  • Reactive service, with limited self-servicing opportunities
  • Lower adoption of available self-service channels
  • Lower availability of digital or straight-through-processing (STP)

Level 3: Accessible and speedy service via digital channels, with self-servicing on select channels and a focus on enabling end-to-end resolution.

  • Somewhat proactive, but limited engagement
  • Self-service channels such as mobile apps, interactive voice response (IVR) systems, and internet sites handle half of all interactions, and can support STP.

Level 4: Proactive and efficient engagement deploying AI-enabled tech, with self-servicing enabled by proactive customer interactions and conversational user experience (UX).

  • Proactive, with high customer engagement on digital channels
  • Self-service channels such as mobile apps, IVR systems, and internet sites handle 70-80 percent of interactions and can support most requests and transactions

Level 5: Personalized, digitally enabled engagement, bringing back the human touch via predictive intent recognition.

  • Engagement via service interactions that are personalized and proactive at the individual customer level
  • Digital touchpoints drive service-based engagement, for example via enhanced cross-selling and upselling
  • More than 95 percent of service interactions and requests can be solved via digital and STP channels

Leaders in AI-enabled customer engagement have committed to an ongoing journey of investment, learning, and improvement, through five levels of maturity. At level one, servicing is predominantly manual, paper-based, and high-touch. At level five—the most advanced end of the maturity scale—companies are delivering proactive, service-led engagement, which lets them handle more than 95 percent of their service interactions via AI and digital channels (see sidebar, “What AI-driven customer service maturity looks like”).

The most mature companies tend to operate in digital-native sectors like ecommerce, taxi aggregation, and over-the-top (OTT) media services. In more traditional B2C sectors, such as banking, telecommunications, and insurance, some organizations have reached levels three and four of the maturity scale, with the most advanced players beginning to push towards level five. These businesses are using AI and technology to support proactive and personalized customer engagement through self-serve tools, revamped apps, new interfaces, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR), and chat.

Woman holding laptop and listening on smartphone

Myth busters: Unexpected insights on contact centers

Toward engaging, ai-powered customer service.

To achieve the promise of AI-enabled customer service, companies can match the reimagined vision for engagement across all customer touchpoints to the appropriate AI-powered tools, core technology, and data. Exhibit 1 captures the new model for customer service—from communicating with customers before they even reach out with a specific need, through to providing AI-supported solutions and evaluating performance after the fact.

The human factor in AI-supported service

AI-powered does not mean automation-only. It’s true that chatbots and similar technology can deliver proactive customer outreach, reducing human-assisted volumes and costs while simplifying the client experience. Nevertheless, an estimated 75 percent of customers use multiple channels in their ongoing experience . 2 “ The state of customer care in 2022 ,” McKinsey, July 8, 2022. A reimagined AI-supported customer service model therefore encompasses all touchpoints—not only digital self-service channels but also agent-supported options in branches or on social-media platforms, where AI can assist employees in real time to deliver high-quality outcomes.

Even before customers get in touch, an AI-supported system can anticipate their likely needs and generate prompts for the agent. For example, the system might flag that the customer’s credit-card bill is higher than usual, while also highlighting minimum-balance requirements and suggesting payment-plan options to offer. If the customer calls, the agent can not only address an immediate question, but also offer support that deepens the relationship and potentially avoids an additional call from the customer later on.

AI service in the field: an Asian bank’s experience

Put together, next-generation customer service aligns AI, technology, and data to reimagine customer service (Exhibit 2). That was the approach a fast-growing bank in Asia took when it found itself facing increasing complaints, slow resolution times, rising cost-to-serve, and low uptake of self-service channels.

Over a 12-month period, the bank reimagined engagement. It revamped existing channels, improving straight-through processing in self-service options while launching new, dedicated video and social-media channels. To drive a personalized experience, servicing channels are supported by AI-powered decision making, including speech and sentiment analytics to enable automated intent recognition and resolution. Enhanced measurement practices provide real-time tracking of performance against customer engagement aspirations, targets, and service level agreements, while new governance models and processes deal with issues such as service request backlogs.

Underpinning the vision is an API-driven tech stack, which in the future may also include edge technologies like next-best-action solutions and behavioral analytics. And finally, the entire transformation is implemented and sustained via an integrated operating model, bringing together service, business, and product leaders, together with a capability-building academy.

The transformation resulted in a doubling to tripling of self-service channel use, a 40 to 50 percent reduction in service interactions, and a more than 20 percent reduction in cost-to-serve. Incidence ratios on assisted channels fell by 20-30 percent, improving both the customer and employee experience.

Seizing the opportunity

To leapfrog competitors in using customer service to foster engagement, financial institutions can start by focusing on a few imperatives.

  • Envision the future of service, keeping customers and their engagement at the core while also defining the strategic value to be attained—for example, a larger share of wallet with existing customers? Expansion of particular services, lines of business, or demographics?
  • Rethink every customer touchpoint, whether digital or assisted, together with opportunities to enhance the experience while also increasing efficiencies.
  • Maximize every customer service interaction, to deepen customer relationships, build loyalty, and drive greater value over the customer’s lifetime.
  • Leverage AI and an end-to-end technology stack, to provide a more proactive and personalized customer service experience that supports self-service and decision-making for customers as well as employees.
  • Adapt agile and collaborative approaches to drive transformation, comprised of SMEs from different business and support functions of the organization.

Holistically transforming customer service into engagement through re-imagined, AI-led capabilities can improve customer experience, reduce costs, and increase sales, helping businesses maximize value over the customer lifetime. For institutions, the time to act is now.

Avinash Chandra Das is an associate partner in McKinsey’s Bengaluru office, where Malcolm Gomes is a partner and Ishwar Lal Patidar is an expert. Greg Phalin is a senior partner in the Charlotte office, Rakshit Sawhney is an associate partner in the Gurugram office, and Renny Thomas is a senior partner in the Mumbai office.

The authors wish to thank Amit Gupta, John Larson, and Thomas Wind for their contributions to this article.

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How to write a case study — examples, templates, and tools

case study about the customer service

It’s a marketer’s job to communicate the effectiveness of a product or service to potential and current customers to convince them to buy and keep business moving. One of the best methods for doing this is to share success stories that are relatable to prospects and customers based on their pain points, experiences, and overall needs.

That’s where case studies come in. Case studies are an essential part of a content marketing plan. These in-depth stories of customer experiences are some of the most effective at demonstrating the value of a product or service. Yet many marketers don’t use them, whether because of their regimented formats or the process of customer involvement and approval.

A case study is a powerful tool for showcasing your hard work and the success your customer achieved. But writing a great case study can be difficult if you’ve never done it before or if it’s been a while. This guide will show you how to write an effective case study and provide real-world examples and templates that will keep readers engaged and support your business.

In this article, you’ll learn:

What is a case study?

How to write a case study, case study templates, case study examples, case study tools.

A case study is the detailed story of a customer’s experience with a product or service that demonstrates their success and often includes measurable outcomes. Case studies are used in a range of fields and for various reasons, from business to academic research. They’re especially impactful in marketing as brands work to convince and convert consumers with relatable, real-world stories of actual customer experiences.

The best case studies tell the story of a customer’s success, including the steps they took, the results they achieved, and the support they received from a brand along the way. To write a great case study, you need to:

  • Celebrate the customer and make them — not a product or service — the star of the story.
  • Craft the story with specific audiences or target segments in mind so that the story of one customer will be viewed as relatable and actionable for another customer.
  • Write copy that is easy to read and engaging so that readers will gain the insights and messages intended.
  • Follow a standardized format that includes all of the essentials a potential customer would find interesting and useful.
  • Support all of the claims for success made in the story with data in the forms of hard numbers and customer statements.

Case studies are a type of review but more in depth, aiming to show — rather than just tell — the positive experiences that customers have with a brand. Notably, 89% of consumers read reviews before deciding to buy, and 79% view case study content as part of their purchasing process. When it comes to B2B sales, 52% of buyers rank case studies as an important part of their evaluation process.

Telling a brand story through the experience of a tried-and-true customer matters. The story is relatable to potential new customers as they imagine themselves in the shoes of the company or individual featured in the case study. Showcasing previous customers can help new ones see themselves engaging with your brand in the ways that are most meaningful to them.

Besides sharing the perspective of another customer, case studies stand out from other content marketing forms because they are based on evidence. Whether pulling from client testimonials or data-driven results, case studies tend to have more impact on new business because the story contains information that is both objective (data) and subjective (customer experience) — and the brand doesn’t sound too self-promotional.

89% of consumers read reviews before buying, 79% view case studies, and 52% of B2B buyers prioritize case studies in the evaluation process.

Case studies are unique in that there’s a fairly standardized format for telling a customer’s story. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for creativity. It’s all about making sure that teams are clear on the goals for the case study — along with strategies for supporting content and channels — and understanding how the story fits within the framework of the company’s overall marketing goals.

Here are the basic steps to writing a good case study.

1. Identify your goal

Start by defining exactly who your case study will be designed to help. Case studies are about specific instances where a company works with a customer to achieve a goal. Identify which customers are likely to have these goals, as well as other needs the story should cover to appeal to them.

The answer is often found in one of the buyer personas that have been constructed as part of your larger marketing strategy. This can include anything from new leads generated by the marketing team to long-term customers that are being pressed for cross-sell opportunities. In all of these cases, demonstrating value through a relatable customer success story can be part of the solution to conversion.

2. Choose your client or subject

Who you highlight matters. Case studies tie brands together that might otherwise not cross paths. A writer will want to ensure that the highlighted customer aligns with their own company’s brand identity and offerings. Look for a customer with positive name recognition who has had great success with a product or service and is willing to be an advocate.

The client should also match up with the identified target audience. Whichever company or individual is selected should be a reflection of other potential customers who can see themselves in similar circumstances, having the same problems and possible solutions.

Some of the most compelling case studies feature customers who:

  • Switch from one product or service to another while naming competitors that missed the mark.
  • Experience measurable results that are relatable to others in a specific industry.
  • Represent well-known brands and recognizable names that are likely to compel action.
  • Advocate for a product or service as a champion and are well-versed in its advantages.

Whoever or whatever customer is selected, marketers must ensure they have the permission of the company involved before getting started. Some brands have strict review and approval procedures for any official marketing or promotional materials that include their name. Acquiring those approvals in advance will prevent any miscommunication or wasted effort if there is an issue with their legal or compliance teams.

3. Conduct research and compile data

Substantiating the claims made in a case study — either by the marketing team or customers themselves — adds validity to the story. To do this, include data and feedback from the client that defines what success looks like. This can be anything from demonstrating return on investment (ROI) to a specific metric the customer was striving to improve. Case studies should prove how an outcome was achieved and show tangible results that indicate to the customer that your solution is the right one.

This step could also include customer interviews. Make sure that the people being interviewed are key stakeholders in the purchase decision or deployment and use of the product or service that is being highlighted. Content writers should work off a set list of questions prepared in advance. It can be helpful to share these with the interviewees beforehand so they have time to consider and craft their responses. One of the best interview tactics to keep in mind is to ask questions where yes and no are not natural answers. This way, your subject will provide more open-ended responses that produce more meaningful content.

4. Choose the right format

There are a number of different ways to format a case study. Depending on what you hope to achieve, one style will be better than another. However, there are some common elements to include, such as:

  • An engaging headline
  • A subject and customer introduction
  • The unique challenge or challenges the customer faced
  • The solution the customer used to solve the problem
  • The results achieved
  • Data and statistics to back up claims of success
  • A strong call to action (CTA) to engage with the vendor

It’s also important to note that while case studies are traditionally written as stories, they don’t have to be in a written format. Some companies choose to get more creative with their case studies and produce multimedia content, depending on their audience and objectives. Case study formats can include traditional print stories, interactive web or social content, data-heavy infographics, professionally shot videos, podcasts, and more.

5. Write your case study

We’ll go into more detail later about how exactly to write a case study, including templates and examples. Generally speaking, though, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing your case study.

  • Be clear and concise. Readers want to get to the point of the story quickly and easily, and they’ll be looking to see themselves reflected in the story right from the start.
  • Provide a big picture. Always make sure to explain who the client is, their goals, and how they achieved success in a short introduction to engage the reader.
  • Construct a clear narrative. Stick to the story from the perspective of the customer and what they needed to solve instead of just listing product features or benefits.
  • Leverage graphics. Incorporating infographics, charts, and sidebars can be a more engaging and eye-catching way to share key statistics and data in readable ways.
  • Offer the right amount of detail. Most case studies are one or two pages with clear sections that a reader can skim to find the information most important to them.
  • Include data to support claims. Show real results — both facts and figures and customer quotes — to demonstrate credibility and prove the solution works.

6. Promote your story

Marketers have a number of options for distribution of a freshly minted case study. Many brands choose to publish case studies on their website and post them on social media. This can help support SEO and organic content strategies while also boosting company credibility and trust as visitors see that other businesses have used the product or service.

Marketers are always looking for quality content they can use for lead generation. Consider offering a case study as gated content behind a form on a landing page or as an offer in an email message. One great way to do this is to summarize the content and tease the full story available for download after the user takes an action.

Sales teams can also leverage case studies, so be sure they are aware that the assets exist once they’re published. Especially when it comes to larger B2B sales, companies often ask for examples of similar customer challenges that have been solved.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about case studies and what they should include, you may be wondering how to start creating great customer story content. Here are a couple of templates you can use to structure your case study.

Template 1 — Challenge-solution-result format

  • Start with an engaging title. This should be fewer than 70 characters long for SEO best practices. One of the best ways to approach the title is to include the customer’s name and a hint at the challenge they overcame in the end.
  • Create an introduction. Lead with an explanation as to who the customer is, the need they had, and the opportunity they found with a specific product or solution. Writers can also suggest the success the customer experienced with the solution they chose.
  • Present the challenge. This should be several paragraphs long and explain the problem the customer faced and the issues they were trying to solve. Details should tie into the company’s products and services naturally. This section needs to be the most relatable to the reader so they can picture themselves in a similar situation.
  • Share the solution. Explain which product or service offered was the ideal fit for the customer and why. Feel free to delve into their experience setting up, purchasing, and onboarding the solution.
  • Explain the results. Demonstrate the impact of the solution they chose by backing up their positive experience with data. Fill in with customer quotes and tangible, measurable results that show the effect of their choice.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that invites readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to nurture them further in the marketing pipeline. What you ask of the reader should tie directly into the goals that were established for the case study in the first place.

Template 2 — Data-driven format

  • Start with an engaging title. Be sure to include a statistic or data point in the first 70 characters. Again, it’s best to include the customer’s name as part of the title.
  • Create an overview. Share the customer’s background and a short version of the challenge they faced. Present the reason a particular product or service was chosen, and feel free to include quotes from the customer about their selection process.
  • Present data point 1. Isolate the first metric that the customer used to define success and explain how the product or solution helped to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 2. Isolate the second metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 3. Isolate the final metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Summarize the results. Reiterate the fact that the customer was able to achieve success thanks to a specific product or service. Include quotes and statements that reflect customer satisfaction and suggest they plan to continue using the solution.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that asks readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to further nurture them in the marketing pipeline. Again, remember that this is where marketers can look to convert their content into action with the customer.

While templates are helpful, seeing a case study in action can also be a great way to learn. Here are some examples of how Adobe customers have experienced success.

Juniper Networks

One example is the Adobe and Juniper Networks case study , which puts the reader in the customer’s shoes. The beginning of the story quickly orients the reader so that they know exactly who the article is about and what they were trying to achieve. Solutions are outlined in a way that shows Adobe Experience Manager is the best choice and a natural fit for the customer. Along the way, quotes from the client are incorporated to help add validity to the statements. The results in the case study are conveyed with clear evidence of scale and volume using tangible data.

A Lenovo case study showing statistics, a pull quote and featured headshot, the headline "The customer is king.," and Adobe product links.

The story of Lenovo’s journey with Adobe is one that spans years of planning, implementation, and rollout. The Lenovo case study does a great job of consolidating all of this into a relatable journey that other enterprise organizations can see themselves taking, despite the project size. This case study also features descriptive headers and compelling visual elements that engage the reader and strengthen the content.

Tata Consulting

When it comes to using data to show customer results, this case study does an excellent job of conveying details and numbers in an easy-to-digest manner. Bullet points at the start break up the content while also helping the reader understand exactly what the case study will be about. Tata Consulting used Adobe to deliver elevated, engaging content experiences for a large telecommunications client of its own — an objective that’s relatable for a lot of companies.

Case studies are a vital tool for any marketing team as they enable you to demonstrate the value of your company’s products and services to others. They help marketers do their job and add credibility to a brand trying to promote its solutions by using the experiences and stories of real customers.

When you’re ready to get started with a case study:

  • Think about a few goals you’d like to accomplish with your content.
  • Make a list of successful clients that would be strong candidates for a case study.
  • Reach out to the client to get their approval and conduct an interview.
  • Gather the data to present an engaging and effective customer story.

Adobe can help

There are several Adobe products that can help you craft compelling case studies. Adobe Experience Platform helps you collect data and deliver great customer experiences across every channel. Once you’ve created your case studies, Experience Platform will help you deliver the right information to the right customer at the right time for maximum impact.

To learn more, watch the Adobe Experience Platform story .

Keep in mind that the best case studies are backed by data. That’s where Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform and Adobe Analytics come into play. With Real-Time CDP, you can gather the data you need to build a great case study and target specific customers to deliver the content to the right audience at the perfect moment.

Watch the Real-Time CDP overview video to learn more.

Finally, Adobe Analytics turns real-time data into real-time insights. It helps your business collect and synthesize data from multiple platforms to make more informed decisions and create the best case study possible.

Request a demo to learn more about Adobe Analytics.

Southwest Airlines: A Case Study in Great Customer Service

Table of contents.

case study about the customer service

Southwest Airlines serves over 126 million passengers each year, provides service to 121 airports across 11 countries and has maintained its nearly 72,000-employee roster with no involuntary furloughs or layoffs in its history. In addition to its commercial and financial success, Southwest Airlines is known for its excellent customer service. Southwest has built an impeccable reputation by putting customers first and ensuring its employees are content and financially secure.

This model of exceptional customer service can be extrapolated to fit the needs of almost any industry if you employ strategies that work for your business. We’ll explain why Southwest is so successful as a company and a customer service provider to help other businesses understand and implement its tenets. 

Southwest treats its employees well

Great customer service starts with happy employees. Southwest treats its employees well by backing individual employees’ decisions and providing everyone with quality employee benefits . For example, the company offers a 401(k) plan and matches contributions dollar-for-dollar up to 9.3 percent of the employee’s eligible earnings. It also offers a profit-sharing plan, an employee stock purchase plan, health and well-being rewards, as well as quality medical, vision and dental coverage.

In addition to benefits, Southwest also encourages professional development through in-person and online classes, mentorship programs, and even a Career Mobility Center that supports internal career advancement through advisement sessions and interview prep resources. The company also prioritizes community outreach, encouraging and incentivizing employees to give back to causes that matter to them.

Making employees brand advocates is your best defense against bad customer service.

Southwest makes excellent customer service its mission

According to a mission statement on Southwest’s website, “The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride and Company Spirit.” 

Southwest outperforms competitors in customer service

In its last survey of the airline industry from 2018, the Temkin Group compared nine U.S. airlines on the quality of their customer experience – the sum of all a customer’s experiences and interactions with a brand. The strategy of focusing on customer experience is built around the needs of the individual customer over the lifetime of the customer-brand relationship.

The Temkin Group’s survey ranked each airline on the criteria of functionality (how well experiences meet customer needs), accessibility (how easy it is for customers to do what they want to do) and emotion (how customers feel about the experience).

Southwest Airlines earned the highest score every year the Temkin Experience Ratings were published from 2011 to 2018, except for 2015. In the most recent rankings, the company received the highest score in the airline industry, 76 percent – 10 percentage points higher than the industry average score of 66 percent. 

Over the years, Southwest Airlines has maintained high ratings among customers, even amid a global pandemic and overall declines in passenger satisfaction. According to the 2023 J.D. Power North American Airline Satisfaction Study , Southwest ranked highest in customer satisfaction for a second consecutive year for the economy and basic economy segment.

How Southwest Airlines emphasizes the customer experience

Southwest Airlines takes the following crucial steps to prioritize the customer experience:

  • Southwest offers multiple avenues for customer support. Customer experience is no longer just an in-person interaction or a phone call. It’s now online, in live chat and more. In addition to multiple phone numbers for different customer service issues, Southwest offers live chat (via mobile app), email and a self-help resource center, allowing multiple touch points and opportunities to delight customers .
  • Southwest adapts to meet customers’ evolving expectations. The airline invested over $2 billion to improve the customer experience. From improved real-time travel communications to bag tracking to bolstered self-service options, Southwest proactively meets passenger needs to make traveling more convenient and comfortable.
  • Southwest empowers employees. Southwest takes care of its employees, which, in turn, helps employees take care of its customers. Providing robust financial and wellness benefits and ongoing career development allows Southwest’s team to perform at its best and effectively support its customers.

Examining Southwest Airlines as a customer service case study can help other companies learn to provide a great customer experience and place customer service at the forefront of their mission and company culture.

How to provide excellent customer service

All businesses should strive to achieve Southwest’s exceptional customer service. However, many of its specific strategies are tailored to the airline industry and may not work for your organization. Here are a few additional methods any business can implement to give its customers the service they deserve.

1. Be responsive to issues.

Nothing is more frustrating than being put on hold for over an hour, especially if you’ve already paid for a product or service. Remember that your customer relationships don’t end after money has been exchanged. These relationships are long-term commitments that must be cultivated over time.

If you don’t have the time to answer calls all day, consider staffing your business with more agents or outsourcing customer service calls. Ensure all customer service reps and outsourced service agents use one of the best CRM software platforms to ensure consistency and informed help. You can also streamline your communication channels and preferences to accommodate as many customer inquiries as possible. For example, it’s easy to set up a chat feature or an FAQ page on your website to avoid being overwhelmed by calls. 

With so many options available to help your customers, there’s no excuse for leaving them in the dark when they have an issue.

2. Communicate beyond complaints.

Responding to problems swiftly is vital to maintaining a high level of customer service, but communicating with your audience shouldn’t stop there. Starting a weekly email newsletter or using X (formerly Twitter) as a customer support channel are great ways to stay in touch with your base.

A simple “thank you for thinking of us” when a customer tags your brand on social media can go a long way. It’s a simple, cost-free measure to set your business apart as one that truly cares about customer service.

Use proven customer service metrics and KPIs like customer satisfaction scores, net promoter scores and customer effort scores to improve your overall customer service.

3. Get to know your customers.

Customers love a personalized experience because it makes them feel heard. However, to ensure the personalized experience stays positive, you should understand the customer’s wants and needs. Maintaining this mindset will help ensure the customer trusts you and your company in the long run.

Almost every customer service representative has some kind of script they must stick to, but there are opportunities to veer off-book and personalize the experience. You could ask customers what they’ve been up to lately or why they chose your company, or just find a way to make them laugh. If you’re willing to go that extra mile, it can be the difference between keeping a customer and losing them.

4. Keep a positive attitude.

When trying to keep a positive attitude toward the customer, it can help to inhabit a service persona. How you speak to your customers can sometimes be more important than what you say. This approach allows you to connect with the customer on an emotional level. You’ll understand their explicit needs and better understand their overall attitude toward you and the company. If you focus on positive thinking and a positive attitude, customers will likely respond in kind.

Danielle Fallon-O’Leary contributed to this article. 


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Your guide to creating customer case studies (+ some show-stopping examples).

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Teams are constantly looking for ways to stand out in crowded markets. Customer case studies may be just the differentiator companies have been seeking to give them that competitive edge. Not only do customer case studies showcase the types of pain points that a product or service can address, but they also highlight the results and successes real-life users have seen.

To put it simply, a customer case study is a real-life, detailed story that spotlights a customer’s opinions and achievements based upon the usage of a product or service. 

case study about the customer service

Typically, customer case studies follow this format:

  • Introduction: Setting the stage with situational context 
  • Challenge: Evaluating the problem at hand
  • Solution: Providing an overview of how the product or service was used
  • Benefits: Highlighting the key advantages
  • Results: Recapping the aftereffect once the product or service was implemented

Similar to how competitive comparison landing pages provide trust and credibility for a brand through real-life recommendations, customer case studies deliver the same effect. These studies are people-focused, factual, and stray away from the promotional lingo that prospective customers have seen time and time again during their product search. After all, what prospect wouldn’t want some insight on the successes users have seen thus far? 

Now that you have a better understanding of what a customer case study is, let’s dive into why they are important from a competitive standpoint and explore some tips on how to incorporate them into your marketing strategy.  

The importance of customer case studies 

Competition is heating up more quickly than ever before and is not expected to cool off anytime soon. Our 2021 State of Competitive Intelligence Report found that 53% of businesses say that the majority of their deals are competitive–an 8% increase from last year. 

Sales teams need the help of marketers more than ever before to combat the growing number of industry rivals. To be successful in prospective calls, in particular, they need to be equipped with loads of marketing collateral, battlecards to guide them through objection-handling, and more. Customer case studies may be that piece of collateral they didn’t realize was missing from their stack to help seal the deal. 

According to Eccolo Media’s 2015 B2B Technology Content Survey Report , customer case studies rank as the fifth most influential content marketing type in the purchase process for both small technology businesses and large enterprises. That’s an impressive ranking when it's being compared to assets such as product brochures, emails, and white papers. In fact, 42% of respondents said that in the last six months of the survey, they had consumed customer case studies as a way to evaluate a technology purchase. 

As I’m sure you can see, there’s no doubt that customer case studies can help you stand out from your competitors. Let’s take a look at some examples that you can model yours after. 

Successful customer case study examples

While some customer case studies come in the written form (typically distributed as a PDF), other organizations opt to turn it into a video–or do a combo of both. 

Check out these examples from Zoom, Hootsuite, and AT&T below:

1. Zoom featuring Groupon

In this example, Zoom opted for a video case study. It opens up with a multimedia services manager at Groupon discussing the company’s pain points and then goes into how Zoom helped solve them. The video is professional, to-the-point, and highlights how Zoom has provided Groupon with a standardized platform that meets the needs of its video-first culture.


As you can see above, Zoom also has an entire web page dedicated to case study videos–all highlighting different industries but with the same end-goal–streamline companies’ telecommunications needs. It’s clear that the page can resonate with a variety of audiences and that’s the key to success.

2. Hootsuite featuring The British Museum


This case study example from Hootsuite is a combination of both text and video. When you first open the page, it provides some context at the top describing who is being spotlighted and why ( The British Museum ). The page then immediately dives into a video. Following that video are the following sections: “What They Did," “How They Did It," and “The Results." This approach appeals to prospects looking for both a quick synopsis (the video) or more in-depth information (the written portion).


Looking at the example above, the page ends with some impressive statistics bolded to grab a reader's attention and a quote provided by a member of the customer’s leadership team. Prospects will walk away with a comprehensive understanding of how the platform could benefit them and the types of results customers have achieved.

3. AT&T featuring Birkey's Farm Store


AT&T chose a more traditional route for a customer case study with Birkey’s Farm Store –a PDF format. This format ensures that all of the information is organized, clearly displayed and that the key elements are emphasized. This format allows for a visual representation of data and easy scanning for important details. For those in a time crunch, chances are they’ll prefer this format–just be sure you’re engaging readers through graphics, bolded text, colors, etc. 

Historically, customer case studies were in written form but as technology evolves, videos have come into play, stealing the spotlight. While there is no right or wrong format to use (it truly does depend on a reader’s preference), it is important to note that HubSpot estimated that over 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands more than any other type of content. My vote goes to a combination of both like the Hootsuite example!

5 tips for creating a customer case study

Now that you’ve checked out some examples of what a good customer case study looks like, let’s dive into some tips on how to be successful in creating one. 

1. Determine your target persona(s) upfront

Before putting pen to paper, pinpoint the groups within your target audience that your case study should resonate with. Catering your studies to specific personas will ensure that the right audience is reached and that it is relevant to your readers.

2. Connect with your team

Be sure to connect with your company’s customer success and sales teams to hear what customers they think are best to target. After all, they will have great insight since they are the day-to-day contacts. You’ll want to choose customers with whom you have strong relationships and who, of course, have seen great results based upon implementing your solution. While the case study would be “free advertising” for them, there’s no doubt that they’d be doing you a favor by going out of their way to help you bring this asset to life.

3. Create case study interview questions

Once you’ve got your customer(s) selected for the case study (and they’ve agreed to participate), take some time to draft out universal interview questions. Ideally, these questions can be used in the future and are general enough to translate to all industries that would be spotlighted on your page.

Your customer(s) will also be appreciative of your preparedness. It’s important to make the process as easy as possible for them and coming in prepared with a list, will ensure that your conversation is focused and strategic. After all, your case study needs a beginning, middle, and an end–make sure you gather enough information to put it all together into a full story.

4. Utilize statistics

Although your customer’s “results” won’t be revealed until the end of the case study, don’t shy away from using stats throughout it–in fact, it’s encouraged! Statistics stick out to any viewer and can be helpful for those trying to sway decision-makers. For example, when setting the scene, describe how many employees and locations the customer has and make those numbers stand out. Although it may seem minute, these stats can help readers determine whether their company is similar and the results achieved are comparable.

5. Build out a case study web page 

It’s important to showcase your case studies in a strategic, organized, and easily accessible way (scroll back up to the Zoom example as an example). Create a designated case study hub on your website. When building out this page, it’s important to have a plethora of customer case studies–that way there will always be a case study that a prospect can relate to. Be sure that all types of industries you work with are represented and that your page is broad enough to appeal to the masses.

Incorporate case studies into your marketing plan

Marketing teams are always looking for ways to express the benefits of a product or service authentically and creatively. This type of non-promotional collateral can make a major impact on the number of leads generated and can add a new level of credibility to your brand name. It paints a picture of the types of success a prospect could have and that’s the recipe to success for any deal getting closed.

Not only do customer case studies showcase the value of your product or service, but potential customers are provided with a better sense of how real customers leverage it to excel their business. And as a bonus, it’s free publicity for your customers – that's a win-win in my book! 

If you have any other tips for creating a successful customer case study, let us know in the comments below!

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28 Case Study Examples Every Marketer Should See

Caroline Forsey

Published: March 08, 2023

Putting together a compelling case study is one of the most powerful strategies for showcasing your product and attracting future customers. But it's not easy to create case studies that your audience can’t wait to read.

marketer reviewing case study examples

In this post, we’ll go over the definition of a case study and the best examples to inspire you.

Download Now: 3 Free Case Study Templates

What is a case study?

A case study is a detailed story of something your company did. It includes a beginning — often discussing a conflict, an explanation of what happened next, and a resolution that explains how the company solved or improved on something.

A case study proves how your product has helped other companies by demonstrating real-life results. Not only that, but marketing case studies with solutions typically contain quotes from the customer. This means that they’re not just ads where you praise your own product. Rather, other companies are praising your company — and there’s no stronger marketing material than a verbal recommendation or testimonial. A great case study is also filled with research and stats to back up points made about a project's results.

There are myriad ways to use case studies in your marketing strategy . From featuring them on your website to including them in a sales presentation, a case study is a strong, persuasive tool that shows customers why they should work with you — straight from another customer. Writing one from scratch is hard, though, which is why we’ve created a collection of case study templates for you to get started.

Fill out the form below to access the free case study templates.

case study about the customer service

Free Case Study Templates

Showcase your company's success using these three free case study templates.

  • Data-Driven Case Study Template
  • Product-Specific Case Study Template
  • General Case Study Template

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Click this link to access this resource at any time.

There’s no better way to generate more leads than by writing case studies . But without case study examples to draw inspiration from, it can be difficult to write impactful studies that convince visitors to submit a form.

Marketing Case Study Examples

To help you create an attractive and high-converting case study, we've put together a list of some of our favorites. This list includes famous case studies in marketing, technology, and business.

These studies can show you how to frame your company offers in a way that is both meaningful and useful to your audience. So, take a look, and let these examples inspire your next brilliant case study design.

These marketing case studies with solutions show the value proposition of each product. They also show how each company benefited in both the short and long term using quantitative data. In other words, you don’t get just nice statements, like "This company helped us a lot." You see actual change within the firm through numbers and figures.

You can put your learnings into action with HubSpot's Free Case Study Templates . Available as custom designs and text-based documents, you can upload these templates to your CMS or send them to prospects as you see fit.

case study template

1. " How Handled Scaled from Zero to 121 Locations with the Help of HubSpot ," by HubSpot

Case study examples: Handled and HubSpot

What's interesting about this case study is the way it leads with the customer. That reflects a major HubSpot cornerstone, which is to always solve for the customer first. The copy leads with a brief description of why the CEO of Handled founded the company and why he thought Handled could benefit from adopting a CRM. The case study also opens up with one key data point about Handled’s success using HubSpot, namely that it grew to 121 locations.

Notice that this case study uses mixed media. Yes, there is a short video, but it's elaborated upon in the other text on the page. So while your case studies can use one or the other, don't be afraid to combine written copy with visuals to emphasize the project's success.

Key Learnings from the HubSpot Case Study Example

  • Give the case study a personal touch by focusing on the CEO rather than the company itself.
  • Use multimedia to engage website visitors as they read the case study.

2. " The Whole Package ," by IDEO

Case study examples: IDEO and H&M

Here's a design company that knows how to lead with simplicity in its case studies. As soon as the visitor arrives at the page, they’re greeted with a big, bold photo and the title of the case study — which just so happens to summarize how IDEO helped its client. It summarizes the case study in three snippets: The challenge, the impact, and the outcome.

Immediately, IDEO communicates its impact — the company partnered with H&M to remove plastic from its packaging — but it doesn't stop there. As the user scrolls down, the challenge, impact, and progress are elaborated upon with comprehensive (but not overwhelming) copy that outlines what that process looked like, replete with quotes and intriguing visuals.

Key Learnings from the IDEO Case Study Example

  • Split up the takeaways of your case studies into bite-sized sections.
  • Always use visuals and images to enrich the case study experience, especially if it’s a comprehensive case study.

3. " Rozum Robotics intensifies its PR game with Awario ," by Awario

Case study example from Awario

In this case study, Awario greets the user with a summary straight away — so if you’re feeling up to reading the entire case study, you can scan the snapshot and understand how the company serves its customers. The case study then includes jump links to several sections, such as "Company Profile," "Rozum Robotics' Pains," "Challenge," "Solution," and "Results and Improvements."

The sparse copy and prominent headings show that you don’t need a lot of elaborate information to show the value of your products and services. Like the other case study examples on this list, it includes visuals and quotes to demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s efforts. The case study ends with a bulleted list that shows the results.

Key Learnings from the Awario Robotics Case Study Example

  • Create a table of contents to make your case study easier to navigate.
  • Include a bulleted list of the results you achieved for your client.

4. " Chevrolet DTU ," by Carol H. Williams

Case study examples: Carol H. Williams and Chevrolet DTU

If you’ve worked with a company that’s well-known, use only the name in the title — like Carol H. Williams, one of the nation’s top advertising agencies, does here. The "DTU," stands for "Discover the Unexpected." It generates interest because you want to find out what the initials mean.

They keep your interest in this case study by using a mixture of headings, images, and videos to describe the challenges, objectives, and solutions of the project. The case study closes with a summary of the key achievements that Chevrolet’s DTU Journalism Fellows reached during the project.

Key Learnings from the Carol H. Williams Case Study Example

  • If you’ve worked with a big brand before, consider only using the name in the title — just enough to pique interest.
  • Use a mixture of headings and subheadings to guide users through the case study.

5. " How Fractl Earned Links from 931 Unique Domains for in a Single Year ," by Fractl

Case study example from Fractl

Fractl uses both text and graphic design in their case study to immerse the viewer in a more interesting user experience. For instance, as you scroll, you'll see the results are illustrated in an infographic-design form as well as the text itself.

Further down the page, they use icons like a heart and a circle to illustrate their pitch angles, and graphs to showcase their results. Rather than writing which publications have mentioned during Fractl’s campaign, they incorporated the media outlets’ icons for further visual diversity.

Key Learnings from the Fractl Case Study Example

  • Let pictures speak for you by incorporating graphs, logos, and icons all throughout the case study.
  • Start the case study by right away stating the key results, like Fractl does, instead of putting the results all the way at the bottom.

6. " The Met ," by Fantasy

Case study example from Fantasy

What's the best way to showcase the responsiveness and user interface of a website? Probably by diving right into it with a series of simple showcases— which is exactly what Fantasy does on their case study page for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They keep the page simple and clean, inviting you to review their redesign of the Met’s website feature-by-feature.

Each section is simple, showing a single piece of the new website's interface so that users aren’t overwhelmed with information and can focus on what matters most.

If you're more interested in text, you can read the objective for each feature. Fantasy understands that, as a potential customer, this is all you need to know. Scrolling further, you're greeted with a simple "Contact Us" CTA.

Key Learnings from the Fantasy Case Study Example

  • You don’t have to write a ton of text to create a great case study. Focus on the solution you delivered itself.
  • Include a CTA at the bottom inviting visitors to contact you.

7. " Rovio: How Rovio Grew Into a Gaming Superpower ," by App Annie

Case study example from App Annie

If your client had a lot of positive things to say about you, take a note from App Annie’s Rovio case study and open up with a quote from your client. The case study also closes with a quote, so that the case study doesn’t seem like a promotion written by your marketing team but a story that’s taken straight from your client’s mouth. It includes a photo of a Rovio employee, too.

Another thing this example does well? It immediately includes a link to the product that Rovio used (namely, App Annie Intelligence) at the top of the case study. The case study closes with a call-to-action button prompting users to book a demo.

Key Learnings from the App Annie Case Study Example

  • Feature quotes from your client at the beginning and end of the case study.
  • Include a mention of the product right at the beginning and prompt users to learn more about the product.

8. " Embracing first-party data: 3 success stories from HubSpot ," by Think with Google

Case study examples: Think with Google and HubSpot

Google takes a different approach to text-focused case studies by choosing three different companies to highlight.

The case study is clean and easily scannable. It has sections for each company, with quotes and headers that clarify the way these three distinct stories connect. The simple format also uses colors and text that align with the Google brand.

Another differentiator is the focus on data. This case study is less than a thousand words, but it's packed with useful data points. Data-driven insights quickly and clearly show how the value of leveraging first-party data while prioritizing consumer privacy.

Case studies example: Data focus, Think with Google

Key Learnings from the Think with Google Case Study Example

  • A case study doesn’t need to be long or complex to be powerful.
  • Clear data points are a quick and effective way to prove value.

9. " In-Depth Performance Marketing Case Study ," by Switch

Case study example from Switch

Switch is an international marketing agency based in Malta that knocks it out of the park with this case study. Its biggest challenge is effectively communicating what it did for its client without ever revealing the client’s name. It also effectively keeps non-marketers in the loop by including a glossary of terms on page 4.

The PDF case study reads like a compelling research article, including titles like "In-Depth Performance Marketing Case Study," "Scenario," and "Approach," so that readers get a high-level overview of what the client needed and why they approached Switch. It also includes a different page for each strategy. For instance, if you’d only be interested in hiring Switch for optimizing your Facebook ads, you can skip to page 10 to see how they did it.

The PDF is fourteen pages long but features big fonts and plenty of white space, so viewers can easily skim it in only a few minutes.

Key Learnings from the Switch Case Study Example

  • If you want to go into specialized information, include a glossary of terms so that non-specialists can easily understand.
  • Close with a CTA page in your case study PDF and include contact information for prospective clients.

10. " Gila River ," by OH Partners

Case study example from OH Partners

Let pictures speak for you, like OH Partners did in this case study. While you’ll quickly come across a heading and some text when you land on this case study page, you’ll get the bulk of the case study through examples of actual work OH Partners did for its client. You will see OH Partners’ work in a billboard, magazine, and video. This communicates to website visitors that if they work with OH Partners, their business will be visible everywhere.

And like the other case studies here, it closes with a summary of what the firm achieved for its client in an eye-catching way.

Key Learnings from the OH Partners Case Study Example

  • Let the visuals speak by including examples of the actual work you did for your client — which is especially useful for branding and marketing agencies.
  • Always close out with your achievements and how they impacted your client.

11. " Facing a Hater ," by Digitas

Case study example from Digitas

Digitas' case study page for Sprite’s #ILOVEYOUHATER campaign keeps it brief while communicating the key facts of Digitas’ work for the popular soda brand. The page opens with an impactful image of a hundred people facing a single man. It turns out, that man is the biggest "bully" in Argentina, and the people facing him are those whom he’s bullied before.

Scrolling down, it's obvious that Digitas kept Sprite at the forefront of their strategy, but more than that, they used real people as their focal point. They leveraged the Twitter API to pull data from Tweets that people had actually tweeted to find the identity of the biggest "hater" in the country. That turned out to be @AguanteElCofler, a Twitter user who has since been suspended.

Key Learnings from the Digitas Case Study Example

  • If a video was part of your work for your client, be sure to include the most impactful screenshot as the heading.
  • Don’t be afraid to provide details on how you helped your client achieve their goals, including the tools you leveraged.

12. " Better Experiences for All ," by HermanMiller

Case study example from HermanMiller

HermanMiller sells sleek, utilitarian furniture with no frills and extreme functionality, and that ethos extends to its case study page for a hospital in Dubai.

What first attracted me to this case study was the beautiful video at the top and the clean user experience. User experience matters a lot in a case study. It determines whether users will keep reading or leave. Another notable aspect of this case study is that the video includes closed-captioning for greater accessibility, and users have the option of expanding the CC and searching through the text.

HermanMiller’s case study also offers an impressive amount of information packed in just a few short paragraphs for those wanting to understand the nuances of their strategy. It closes out with a quote from their client and, most importantly, the list of furniture products that the hospital purchased from the brand.

Key Learnings from the HermanMiller Case Study Example

  • Close out with a list of products that users can buy after reading the case study.
  • Include accessibility features such as closed captioning and night mode to make your case study more user-friendly.

13. " Capital One on AWS ," by Amazon

Case study example from Amazon AWS

Do you work continuously with your clients? Consider structuring your case study page like Amazon did in this stellar case study example. Instead of just featuring one article about Capital One and how it benefited from using AWS, Amazon features a series of articles that you can then access if you’re interested in reading more. It goes all the way back to 2016, all with different stories that feature Capital One’s achievements using AWS.

This may look unattainable for a small firm, but you don’t have to go to extreme measures and do it for every single one of your clients. You could choose the one you most wish to focus on and establish a contact both on your side and your client’s for coming up with the content. Check in every year and write a new piece. These don’t have to be long, either — five hundred to eight hundred words will do.

Key Learnings from the Amazon AWS Case Study Example

  • Write a new article each year featuring one of your clients, then include links to those articles in one big case study page.
  • Consider including external articles as well that emphasize your client’s success in their industry.

14. " HackReactor teaches the world to code #withAsana ," by Asana

Case study examples: Asana and HackReactor

While Asana's case study design looks text-heavy, there's a good reason. It reads like a creative story, told entirely from the customer's perspective.

For instance, Asana knows you won't trust its word alone on why this product is useful. So, they let Tony Phillips, HackReactor CEO, tell you instead: "We take in a lot of information. Our brains are awful at storage but very good at thinking; you really start to want some third party to store your information so you can do something with it."

Asana features frequent quotes from Phillips to break up the wall of text and humanize the case study. It reads like an in-depth interview and captivates the reader through creative storytelling. Even more, Asana includes in-depth detail about how HackReactor uses Asana. This includes how they build templates and workflows:

"There's a huge differentiator between Asana and other tools, and that’s the very easy API access. Even if Asana isn’t the perfect fit for a workflow, someone like me— a relatively mediocre software engineer—can add functionality via the API to build a custom solution that helps a team get more done."

Key Learnings from the Asana Example

  • Include quotes from your client throughout the case study.
  • Provide extensive detail on how your client worked with you or used your product.

15. " Rips Sewed, Brand Love Reaped ," by Amp Agency

Case study example from Amp Agency

Amp Agency's Patagonia marketing strategy aimed to appeal to a new audience through guerrilla marketing efforts and a coast-to-coast road trip. Their case study page effectively conveys a voyager theme, complete with real photos of Patagonia customers from across the U.S., and a map of the expedition. I liked Amp Agency's storytelling approach best. It captures viewers' attention from start to finish simply because it's an intriguing and unique approach to marketing.

Key Learnings from the Amp Agency Example

  • Open up with a summary that communicates who your client is and why they reached out to you.
  • Like in the other case study examples, you’ll want to close out with a quantitative list of your achievements.

16. " NetApp ," by Evisort

Case study examples: Evisort and NetApp

Evisort opens up its NetApp case study with an at-a-glance overview of the client. It’s imperative to always focus on the client in your case study — not on your amazing product and equally amazing team. By opening up with a snapshot of the client’s company, Evisort places the focus on the client.

This case study example checks all the boxes for a great case study that’s informative, thorough, and compelling. It includes quotes from the client and details about the challenges NetApp faced during the COVID pandemic. It closes out with a quote from the client and with a link to download the case study in PDF format, which is incredibly important if you want your case study to be accessible in a wider variety of formats.

Key Learnings from the Evisort Example

  • Place the focus immediately on your client by including a snapshot of their company.
  • Mention challenging eras, such as a pandemic or recession, to show how your company can help your client succeed even during difficult times.

17. " Copernicus Land Monitoring – CLC+ Core ," by Cloudflight

Case study example from Cloudflight

Including highly specialized information in your case study is an effective way to show prospects that you’re not just trying to get their business. You’re deep within their industry, too, and willing to learn everything you need to learn to create a solution that works specifically for them.

Cloudflight does a splendid job at that in its Copernicus Land Monitoring case study. While the information may be difficult to read at first glance, it will capture the interest of prospects who are in the environmental industry. It thus shows Cloudflight’s value as a partner much more effectively than a general case study would.

The page is comprehensive and ends with a compelling call-to-action — "Looking for a solution that automates, and enhances your Big Data system? Are you struggling with large datasets and accessibility? We would be happy to advise and support you!" The clean, whitespace-heavy page is an effective example of using a case study to capture future leads.

Key Learnings from the Cloudflight Case Study Example

  • Don’t be afraid to get technical in your explanation of what you did for your client.
  • Include a snapshot of the sales representative prospects should contact, especially if you have different sales reps for different industries, like Cloudflight does.

18. " Valvoline Increases Coupon Send Rate by 76% with Textel’s MMS Picture Texting ," by Textel

Case study example from Textel

If you’re targeting large enterprises with a long purchasing cycle, you’ll want to include a wealth of information in an easily transferable format. That’s what Textel does here in its PDF case study for Valvoline. It greets the user with an eye-catching headline that shows the value of using Textel. Valvoline saw a significant return on investment from using the platform.

Another smart decision in this case study is highlighting the client’s quote by putting it in green font and doing the same thing for the client’s results because it helps the reader quickly connect the two pieces of information. If you’re in a hurry, you can also take a look at the "At a Glance" column to get the key facts of the case study, starting with information about Valvoline.

Key Learnings from the Textel Case Study Example

  • Include your client’s ROI right in the title of the case study.
  • Add an "At a Glance" column to your case study PDF to make it easy to get insights without needing to read all the text.

19. " Hunt Club and Happeo — a tech-enabled love story ," by Happeo

Case study example from Happeo

In this blog-post-like case study, Happeo opens with a quote from the client, then dives into a compelling heading: "Technology at the forefront of Hunt Club's strategy." Say you’re investigating Happeo as a solution and consider your firm to be technology-driven. This approach would spark your curiosity about why the client chose to work with Happeo. It also effectively communicates the software’s value proposition without sounding like it’s coming from an in-house marketing team.

Every paragraph is a quote written from the customer’s perspective. Later down the page, the case study also dives into "the features that changed the game for Hunt Club," giving Happeo a chance to highlight some of the platform’s most salient features.

Key Learnings from the Happeo Case Study Example

  • Consider writing the entirety of the case study from the perspective of the customer.
  • Include a list of the features that convinced your client to go with you.

20. " Red Sox Season Campaign ," by CTP Boston

Case study example from CTP Boston

What's great about CTP's case study page for their Red Sox Season Campaign is their combination of video, images, and text. A video automatically begins playing when you visit the page, and as you scroll, you'll see more embedded videos of Red Sox players, a compilation of print ads, and social media images you can click to enlarge.

At the bottom, it says "Find out how we can do something similar for your brand." The page is clean, cohesive, and aesthetically pleasing. It invites viewers to appreciate the well-roundedness of CTP's campaign for Boston's beloved baseball team.

Key Learnings from the CTP Case Study Example

  • Include a video in the heading of the case study.
  • Close with a call-to-action that makes leads want to turn into prospects.

21. " Acoustic ," by Genuine

Case study example from Genuine

Sometimes, simple is key. Genuine's case study for Acoustic is straightforward and minimal, with just a few short paragraphs, including "Reimagining the B2B website experience," "Speaking to marketers 1:1," and "Inventing Together." After the core of the case study, we then see a quote from Acoustic’s CMO and the results Genuine achieved for the company.

The simplicity of the page allows the reader to focus on both the visual aspects and the copy. The page displays Genuine's brand personality while offering the viewer all the necessary information they need.

  • You don’t need to write a lot to create a great case study. Keep it simple.
  • Always include quantifiable data to illustrate the results you achieved for your client.

22. " Using Apptio Targetprocess Automated Rules in Wargaming ," by Apptio

Case study example from Apptio

Apptio’s case study for Wargaming summarizes three key pieces of information right at the beginning: The goals, the obstacles, and the results.

Readers then have the opportunity to continue reading — or they can walk away right then with the information they need. This case study also excels in keeping the human interest factor by formatting the information like an interview.

The piece is well-organized and uses compelling headers to keep the reader engaged. Despite its length, Apptio's case study is appealing enough to keep the viewer's attention. Every Apptio case study ends with a "recommendation for other companies" section, where the client can give advice for other companies that are looking for a similar solution but aren’t sure how to get started.

Key Learnings from the Apptio Case Study Example

  • Put your client in an advisory role by giving them the opportunity to give recommendations to other companies that are reading the case study.
  • Include the takeaways from the case study right at the beginning so prospects quickly get what they need.

23. " Airbnb + Zendesk: building a powerful solution together ," by Zendesk

Case study example from Zendesk

Zendesk's Airbnb case study reads like a blog post, and focuses equally on Zendesk and Airbnb, highlighting a true partnership between the companies. To captivate readers, it begins like this: "Halfway around the globe is a place to stay with your name on it. At least for a weekend."

The piece focuses on telling a good story and provides photographs of beautiful Airbnb locations. In a case study meant to highlight Zendesk's helpfulness, nothing could be more authentic than their decision to focus on Airbnb's service in such great detail.

Key Learnings from the Zendesk Case Study Example

  • Include images of your client’s offerings — not necessarily of the service or product you provided. Notice how Zendesk doesn’t include screenshots of its product.
  • Include a call-to-action right at the beginning of the case study. Zendesk gives you two options: to find a solution or start a trial.

24. " Biobot Customer Success Story: Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida ," by Biobot

Case study example from Biobot

Like some of the other top examples in this list, Biobot opens its case study with a quote from its client, which captures the value proposition of working with Biobot. It mentions the COVID pandemic and goes into detail about the challenges the client faced during this time.

This case study is structured more like a news article than a traditional case study. This format can work in more formal industries where decision-makers need to see in-depth information about the case. Be sure to test different methods and measure engagement .

Key Learnings from the Biobot Case Study Example

  • Mention environmental, public health, or economic emergencies and how you helped your client get past such difficult times.
  • Feel free to write the case study like a normal blog post, but be sure to test different methods to find the one that best works for you.

25. " Discovering Cost Savings With Efficient Decision Making ," by Gartner

Case study example from Gartner

You don't always need a ton of text or a video to convey your message — sometimes, you just need a few paragraphs and bullet points. Gartner does a fantastic job of quickly providing the fundamental statistics a potential customer would need to know, without boggling down their readers with dense paragraphs. The case study closes with a shaded box that summarizes the impact that Gartner had on its client. It includes a quote and a call-to-action to "Learn More."

Key Learnings from the Gartner Case Study Example

  • Feel free to keep the case study short.
  • Include a call-to-action at the bottom that takes the reader to a page that most relates to them.

26. " Bringing an Operator to the Game ," by Redapt

Case study example from Redapt

This case study example by Redapt is another great demonstration of the power of summarizing your case study’s takeaways right at the start of the study. Redapt includes three easy-to-scan columns: "The problem," "the solution," and "the outcome." But its most notable feature is a section titled "Moment of clarity," which shows why this particular project was difficult or challenging.

The section is shaded in green, making it impossible to miss. Redapt does the same thing for each case study. In the same way, you should highlight the "turning point" for both you and your client when you were working toward a solution.

Key Learnings from the Redapt Case Study Example

  • Highlight the turning point for both you and your client during the solution-seeking process.
  • Use the same structure (including the same headings) for your case studies to make them easy to scan and read.

27. " Virtual Call Center Sees 300% Boost In Contact Rate ," by Convoso

Case study example from Convoso

Convoso’s PDF case study for Digital Market Media immediately mentions the results that the client achieved and takes advantage of white space. On the second page, the case study presents more influential results. It’s colorful and engaging and closes with a spread that prompts readers to request a demo.

Key Learnings from the Convoso Case Study Example

  • List the results of your work right at the beginning of the case study.
  • Use color to differentiate your case study from others. Convoso’s example is one of the most colorful ones on this list.

28. " Ensuring quality of service during a pandemic ," by Ericsson

Case study example from Ericsson

Ericsson’s case study page for Orange Spain is an excellent example of using diverse written and visual media — such as videos, graphs, and quotes — to showcase the success a client experienced. Throughout the case study, Ericsson provides links to product and service pages users might find relevant as they’re reading the study.

For instance, under the heading "Preloaded with the power of automation," Ericsson mentions its Ericsson Operations Engine product, then links to that product page. It closes the case study with a link to another product page.

Key Learnings from the Ericsson Case Study Example

  • Link to product pages throughout the case study so that readers can learn more about the solution you offer.
  • Use multimedia to engage users as they read the case study.

Start creating your case study.

Now that you've got a great list of examples of case studies, think about a topic you'd like to write about that highlights your company or work you did with a customer.

A customer’s success story is the most persuasive marketing material you could ever create. With a strong portfolio of case studies, you can ensure prospects know why they should give you their business.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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5 mini case studies about understanding and serving the customer

Understanding What Customers Want: 5 mini case studies

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter .

Mini Case Study #1: 34% increase in conversion for powdered health drink company by helping customers come to their own conclusions

A single-product company that sells high-quality, all-natural, powdered health drinks engaged MECLABS Institute to help better understand their potential customers and increase the conversion rate of prospects reaching the homepage.

The original homepage took a claims-driven approach – it provided several bold statements about what the product would do for a customer with no information about the product to help the customer understand why it would work for them. Here is a look at the upper left of the original homepage.

Creative Sample #1: Upper left of original homepage for health drink company

Creative Sample #1: Upper left of original homepage for health drink company

The MECLABS team created a version of the homepage that took a conclusion-driven approach – instead only trying to convince potential customers with only bold claims about the product, the homepage copy included information about the product to help customers understand why the product would help them.

Creative Sample #2: Upper left of treatment homepage for health drink company

Creative Sample #2: Upper left of treatment homepage for health drink company

The team tested this version as the treatment against the original homepage (the control) to help better understand what communication style customers would respond to.

The treatment generated a 34% increase in conversion rate.

This experiment highlights a classic disconnect between customers and marketers. If you work in a company or with a client, you have intimate knowledge of the product and believe in its effectiveness. You spend all day thinking about it. You personally know some of the people who designed it. Your paycheck depends on the success of the product.

A customer does not have this same understanding or belief in the product. They have a significant gap in their knowledge about your product. Bold claims alone are not enough to close that gap. They have to understand why the product will work and come to their own conclusions about the company’s ability to deliver on its promises.

You can learn more about this experiment in The Conversion Heuristic Analysis: Overcoming the prospect’s perception gap from MarketingExperiments (MarketingSherpa’s sister publication).

Mini Case Study #2: Bags company increases conversion 191% by adding clarity to homepage

“I'm the CEO of Doubletake , a tennis and pickleball bag company, but I spent the majority of my career focused on messaging and research, consulting as a strategist for top brands for the last 10 plus years, and in-house prior to that. I'm almost embarrassed that I have this example to share, but I thankfully came to my senses!,” Shawna Gwin Krasts told me.

“It is interesting that crafting messaging/copy for products that aren't ‘your baby’ is so much easier – there is just more distance to see it for what it is. If this wasn't so near and dear to my heart, I would have caught it in a second.”

The team launched its homepage with only the headline “Sports Meets Style” over a photo of a bag. The headline was meant to differentiate the brand from competitors that were either only sporty or fashionable. Below the headline was a call-to-action (CTA) button with the word “shop.”

Creative Sample #3: Previous homepage copy for bag company

Creative Sample #3: Previous homepage copy for bag company

Internally it seemed obvious that the company sells tennis and pickleball bags since a bag was in the photo.

But they came to realize that it might not be as clear to website visitors. So the team added the subhead “Gorgeous Yet Functional Tennis and Pickleball Bags.” They also added the word “bags” to the CTA so it read “shop bags.”

Creative Sample #4: New homepage copy for bag company

Creative Sample #4: New homepage copy for bag company

These simple changes increased the website's conversion rate by 191%.

“It is so important for marketers to get out of their own heads,” Krasts said. “I suppose this is why I struggle with messaging so much for Doubletake. I am the target customer – I have the answers in my head and I suppose my natural curiosity isn't as strong. But clearly, I also have to remember that I've seen my homepage 10,000 more times than my customers, which means things that seem obvious to me, like the fact that Doubletake is a tennis brand not a reseller, might not be obvious.”

Mini Case Study #3: Online motorcycle gear retailer doubles conversion with personalized emails

There are ways to better tap into what customers perceive as valuable built into certain marketing channels. Email marketing is a great example. Marketers can build off information they have on the customer to send more relevant emails with information and products the customer is more likely to value.

"Very early in my marketing career I was taught, 'You are not the target audience' and told to try to see things from my customer's perspective. Empathizing with customers is a good start towards seeing products from the customers' perspective, but marketers really need to focus on quantifiable actions that can help identify customers' needs. That means continuous testing across messaging, price points, packaging, and every other aspect of a product. This is where personalization can really shine. Every time a marketer personalizes a message, it brings them closer to their customer and closes that gap," said Gretchen Scheiman, VP of Marketing, Sailthru.

For example, 80% of the email messages RevZilla sent were generic. But the website sells motorcycle parts and gear to a wide range of riders, each with their own preference in brand and riding style. The online motorcycle gear retailer partnered with Sailthru to better connect with customer motivations. The team started by upgrading the welcome series for new customers by personalizing the email messages based on the customers’ purchases and preferences.

The company has tested and added many new triggers to the site, and now has 177 different automation journeys that include triggers for browse and cart abandonment as well as automations for different product preferences, riding styles and manufacturer preferences.

The conversion rate from personalized email is double what RevZilla was getting for generic batch-and-blast sends. Automated experiences now account for 40% of email revenue. Triggered revenue is up 22% year-over-year and site traffic from triggers has increased 128% year-over-year.

"Customizing the buyer journey isn't about one long flow, but about lots of little trigger points and tests along the way. For any marketer that is intimidated about getting started with personalization, it's important to realize that it's more like a lot of small building blocks that create a whole experience. We started with a custom welcome series using testing and built from there. We're still adding new tests and new trigger points, but it's with the same concept that we started with,” said Andrew Lim, Director of Retention Marketing, RevZilla.

Mini Case Study #4: Pet protection network increases revenue 53% thanks to survey feedback

Huan makes smart tags for pets to help owners find their pets if they go missing. Initially, the company focused on the technical features in its homepage copy. For example, the tags don’t emit harmful radiation, are water-resistant and have a replaceable one-year battery.

From customer feedback surveys, the team discovered that customers purchased the product because they were worried they wouldn’t be able to find their pet if the pet went missing. This discovery prompted the team to change its messaging.

The new messaging on the homepage read, “Keep your pet safe and prevent heartbreak. Huan Smart Tags help you find your missing pet automatically.”

Revenue increased 53% increase following the change in messaging. “We immediately saw an increase in engagement on our website, with a lower bounce rate, higher click-through rate and a higher conversion rate. There were also a few people who messaged us on social media saying how our new message resonated with them,” said Gilad Rom, Founder, Huan.

Mini Case Study #5: Talking to new customers leads SaaS to change strategy, increase sales 18%

When Chanty launched, the marketing messages focused on pricing since the Saas company is 50% less expensive than the best-known competitor. However, when the team started talking to customers, they discovered most people had switched from the competitor for different reasons – ease of use, better functionalities in the free plan, better experience with the customer support team, and a better mobile app.

The team changed its marketing to focus around these product attributes and only listed pricing in the end as an additional benefit.

“It turned out that this was the way to go because we attracted people who wanted a better experience, rather than just customers who wanted to save money. After six months of implementing this new marketing and sales strategy, our sales grew by 18%,” said Jane Kovalkova, Chief Marketing Officer, Chanty.

Related resources

The Prospect’s Perception Gap: How to bridge the dangerous gap between the results we want and the results we have

Customer-First Marketing: Understanding customer pain and responding with action

Marketing Research Chart: How customer understanding impacts satisfaction

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3 Case Studies to Improve Your Customer Service

First Case Study – Striving to Delight

While purchasing an item from a big box retailer, I asked the salesperson if there was a way that I could get a lower price. She explained to me that if I could show that I met certain conditions, the price could be cut in half. But I had to have the appropriate documentation.

Upon returning to the store with the documentation, we accessed the system and were told that I wasn’t eligible. The salesperson and the customer service person overrode the system and gave me the credit. Petty cool!

I stopped by later on and told the salesperson that I gave her a good review online. She noted that she had seen it and thanked me.

What can the big box retailer learn? First, that whatever they’re doing is working. I will return for future purchases and recommend them.

Clearly, this is something that can be done in person, and might be hard to do online. Hooray for brick and mortar.

But an extended learning might be to reward that salesperson. If someone gets all 10’s and a great review, more than just a “pat on the back” is in order.

Second Case Study – Having Good Systems

I logged on to my investment account at a large retail financial services company to discover that one of my investments had lost two thirds of its value. Upon further exploration on my part, I found out that there had been a stock split. When I contacted my advisor, he suggested to wait a few days for the system to catch up.

What can the financial services company learn? First, if there is a problem, telling someone to wait a few days to see if it will be magically fixed probably isn’t the best suggestion.

But worse than that, in this world of real-time data, having a system that needs a few days to make corrections sends an unsettling message about how the company approaches the financial markets. Is this the company I want to manage my money?

Third Case Study – Responding to Feedback

When I started using the new one, I realized that it did not have the capabilities of the older one. When I noted that to management, the response was, “We haven’t quite worked the kinks out of the new one – I’ll pass this along. Maybe someone can do something.”

What can this business tools company learn? First, if you want my opinion, really act on it. Offer to set up a call with one of your experts. Give me a personal email and ask that I provide further documentation.

Additionally, they should have a formal case file system to log issues. In the second situation, we should have opened a file and followed the issue through to resolution.

When I have a problem now, I don’t bother to talk to anyone. I just move forward on my plan to replace them. I really don’t think they care.

What Your Business Can Do

Want to improve your business? Here are three things you can implement:

  • If a customer is delighted, reward the delighter(s).
  • Understand that your systems reflect your business. Make sure they work as they should.
  • If you get negative feedback, work to solve the problem. Avoid excuses or obfuscations. Create either a formal or informal system to get the feedback to the developers or support personnel so the problem is known and fixed.

None of these are particularly difficult to do, but they demonstrate that you care about your customer and the quality of the service you provide. That is what keeps your customers happy and referring your business to others. And isn’t that what we want as business owners?

How do you handle customer feedback in your company?

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According to the  Harvard Business Review , simple actions, such as responding to tweets quickly, can increase the amount of money people are willing to pay doing business with an organization. Quality customer service builds loyalty and increases profits. Sometimes, however, even major brands have moments when their service goals go horribly wrong, teaching lessons for everyone else. The three bad customer service incidents below have recently sent major brands scrambling to preserve their image. Here's what we all can learn from their mistakes.

An Air Transat flight sat on the tarmac for hours without service

In July 2017, passengers aboard two Air Transat flights were diverted to Ottawa. While the airline had no control over the diversion itself, they had a responsibility for the fair treatment of their passengers following landing. Yet passengers reported being stranded on the tarmac for over four hours, on one flight without any food, air conditioning, or water. This incident caused at least one passenger to call 911 in an effort to force the airline to act.

Following the incident, the airline was fined and held responsible by the Canadian Transportation Agency. During the hearing, however,  customers and the press noted  that the airline and airport continually came up with excuses and tried to blame each other, which led customers to say they will not fly with Air Transat again.

Lesson to learn

Air Transat didn’t just make a mistake when they failed to provide comfort and necessities to their customers during the unexpected delay on the tarmac, they failed to take responsibility for their actions or make proper amends with their customers. Mistakes and incidents can happen to any business, but how you respond to the issue and treat your customers will have a lasting impact. Refusing to accept responsibility or focusing solely on the bottom line to the detriment of the customers can cause serious harm to your brand.

T-Mobile changed a customer’s name on their account to “Idiot” 

T-Mobile had a customer calling about a billing issue with his new phone. When he didn’t get the desired help, he decided to reach the phone carrier through Twitter. Although most people would agree that customer service can be a very challenging job, the T-Mobile team certainly could have handled the situation more appropriately. The rep dealing with the issue apparently changed the customer’s name to “Idiot,” which the customer saw the next time he logged into his account. He posted his account of the incident online, which reasonably led to  poor press for T-Mobile .

Providing customer service can make many people frustrated enough to scream. What is not acceptable, however, is doing anything that could get back to the customer. Brands should work to provide excellent service, even behind the scenes, to create an outstanding experience for customers. It’s important to have the right team with the right training to handle customer issues with grace and diplomacy. It’s not about the customer always being right – but the customer always deserves your respect.

Apple reduced the speed of their older devices

Apple decided to slow down their older devices without telling their customers. Although they may have had an understandable reason for this action, their failure to notify customers led to outrage among users.

Apple claimed the action was taken to preserve the battery life in the older phones. While this might have been true, it was the lack of transparency that angered customers. The brand ended up  apologizing to customers  and offering discounted battery replacements.

Despite good intentions, if your actions negatively impact customers, you need to err on the side of transparency. If Apple had let customers know upfront that their devices would eventually slow down and why, it would have been less of a scandal. Instead, since customers discovered it on their own, it left them feeling suspicious about what else the company isn’t telling them. Trust is one of the most important qualities in your relationship with customers. Don’t give them any reason to doubt you.

Customer service remains a critical component of any successful brand. If you want to grow, you need to focus on outstanding customer care during every interaction. Bad customer service will cost you more than just the customer directly involved, so take the lessons learned from these recent disasters and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.

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Deconstructing Customer Value Propositions for the Circular Product-as-a-Service Business Model: A Case Study from the Textile Industry

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  • Published: 14 February 2024

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  • Päivi Petänen   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Henna Sundqvist   ORCID: 2 &
  • Maria Antikainen   ORCID: 1  

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Offering products as a service is a way to implement circular economy principles in business models and promote sustainability. However, in many markets, the model is still in its infancy in terms of market maturity and lacks customer acceptance. More understanding is needed of how product-as-a-service companies can enhance and reconfigure their competitive position by proposing meaningful customer value. For this purpose, this study focuses on customer value propositions (CVPs) as a strategic management concept in the circular economy. The aim of the study is to outline a deconstruction framework for systematically identifying the strategically manageable components of CVPs in circular product-as-a-service business models. The framework establishes a link between the elements of circular product-as-a-service business models and competitive CVPs. The framework is developed and validated with seven product-as-a-service business cases in the textile and clothing industry context. The results of the study provide insights into how product-as-a-service companies in the textile field aim to differentiate, how they structure customer value by identifying customer benefits and sacrifices, and what kind of resources and capabilities are needed for competing in the circular economy context.

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Offering products as a service instead of product ownership is a way to implement circularity, prolong product lifecycles, and support efficient resource use [ 1 , 2 ]. Product-as-a-service business models are typically based on renting or leasing products and sharing them with a group of customers [ 2 , 3 ]. Ideally, in the product-as-a-service business model, the product is made as material- and cost-efficient as possible while creating environmentally and socially sustainable service offerings [ 2 ]. Recent evidence suggests that the product-as-a-service model is still in its infancy in terms of market maturity, and linear business models remain dominant in most markets [ 4 ]. Several barriers exist to customer adoption of the product-as-a-service model, such as a lack of awareness and the dominance of ownership-based culture [ 4 ].

To drive customer acceptance and gain space in the markets, product-as-a-service companies need to understand how to compete by proposing meaningful customer value [ 5 , 6 ]. For this purpose, this study focuses on customer value propositions (CVPs) that are considered managerial concepts at the core of a company`s business model [ 7 , 8 ]. CVPs are tools for strategically guiding a company on how it creates value for its customers and achieves differentiation from competing offerings [ 6 , 8 , 9 , 10 ]. Despite the widely acknowledged importance of a company’s ability to manage how customer value is proposed in a competitive way [ 10 ], CVPs as strategic management concepts in the circular economy have not been widely studied. While prior studies have provided insights into articulating and designing value propositions in the circular economy [ 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 ], a detailed view of how companies can manage differentiation and the structure of customer value while offering products as a service is missing. Moreover, the current literature has acknowledged the need for a strategic and customer-oriented perspective on circular economy value propositions [ 11 , 13 ] and on frameworks and tools for developing circular economy business models [ 15 ].

To address this critical gap, the purpose of this study is to outline a deconstruction framework for strategic CVP management in product-as-a-service business models. The deconstruction approach aims to explicitly identify CVP elements by systematically taking them apart [ 16 ]. The study contributes to the existing literature by offering an approach for systematically analysing CVPs for the circular product-as-a-service model and dissecting them into manageable components that can guide strategic managerial decision-making. The research question is: How are CVPs strategically managed in circular product-as-a-service models?

Circular business models are innovated and exist in a malleable and complex market that is continuously changing [ 17 ]. Therefore, the deconstruction framework is based on the notion that the strategic management of circular business models needs to adapt continuously to the changing market logics during the ongoing circular economy transformation. The purpose of the framework is to enable this kind of reconfiguration of CVPs for product-as-a-service business models. As a concept, deconstruction enables rethinking key parts of strategy and how customer value is proposed [ 16 , 18 ]. Therefore, in this study, we argue and demonstrate that applying the deconstruction approach to product-as-a-service CVPs enables a rigorous structure for identifying which elements of the CVPs accelerate differentiation and how product-as-a-service models are positioned in the market, which customer benefits are aimed to be increased, which customer sacrifices are aimed to be decreased, and what kinds of resources and capabilities are required from companies to create customer value competitively in the circular economy.

The proposed framework is developed and validated with seven product-as-a-service business cases in the textile industry context. The textile and clothing industry is a crucial empirical setting for investigating the topic, as the industry is identified as one of the most pollutant-releasing industries in the world and a circular economy transition is critically needed [ 19 , 20 ]. From an environmental perspective, the challenge is that the prevailing operating models of the textile and clothing industry are based on linear economy principles with the mass production of textiles and wasteful fast fashion [ 19 ]. The textile and clothing field in general is characterized by frequent consumption, quickly changing demands and trends, and short-lived product use [ 19 , 20 ]. It is estimated that globally, customers discard annually up to USD 460 billion by throwing away usable clothing [ 21 ]. In the fashion field, new service-based business models such as “clothing as a service” are seen as promising models for shifting the fast-fashion mindset towards a more durable perception of clothing [ 22 ].

This paper is structured as follows: First, we provide theoretical background on the circular product-as-a-service models and CVPs. Second, a framework for deconstructing product-as-a-service CVPs is presented. Third, the methodology section describes the case study in the textile industry context. Fourth, the results section presents the findings from the deconstruction of product-as-a-service CVPs in the textile industry. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion, implications, and future research directions.

Theoretical Background

Circular product-as-a-service business models.

Substituting product ownership with services and incorporating service elements such as logistics or maintenance are one of the mechanisms for realizing circular economy principles in business models [ 23 ]. The circular product-as-a-service model enables slowing resource loops as the lifecycle or usage period of the product is extended [ 24 ]. The model aims to reduce the total number of products needed, as the products are reused, consequently lowering the material and energy input required for production [ 3 , 25 ]. Additionally, these models are suggested to enable a second life for products that can be achieved through recovery activities such as repair [ 26 ].

Product-as-a-service models have especially been discussed in the literature streams for Product Service Systems (PSS) [ 2 , 3 ] and servitization [ 27 ]. The basic idea of a product-as-a-service business model is that the product ownership remains with the service provider and the products do not stay in the possession of customers after usage. The focus is shifted to services and delivering functionality and product use [ 28 ]. Therefore, customers are not seen as owners but instead as users, and the value of products is represented by the number of functional units that they can provide in the lifecycle [ 29 ]. Overall, the product-as-a-service concept is an integration or mix of products and services [ 2 ]. The model typically engages intermediate actors of the value chain to facilitate the product-service mix, for example to execute product delivery, reverse logistics, take-back processes, or product validation [ 30 , 31 , 32 ]. Therefore, the value propositions of product-as-a-service models aim for shared and mutual value creation among actors and joint fulfilment of customer needs [ 2 , 32 ].

The product-as-a-service model is categorized as a use-oriented PSS, which is based on product leasing, renting, sharing, and pooling. In these contexts, the repetitive process of companies providing and customers sequentially using products is considered pivotal [ 2 , 3 , 33 ]. The payment system in use-oriented services is based on pay-per-unit of the used service, which creates an economic incentive for producers to decrease the amount of processed resources [ 34 ]. In use-oriented services the items can be shared by several users [ 3 ]. Thus, the product-as-a-service model applies the principles of sharing and collaborative economy, in which the usage level of products is increased as the products are shared among a group of actors [ 35 ]. Moreover, the model offers access to products for customers; therefore, the term access-based consumption is used in prior literature to refer to these models [ 36 , 37 ].

The share of product-as-a-service models in many markets is currently low [ 4 ]. For example, in the textile industry, fashion rental models are currently considered a niche market, whereas traditional, linear models such as fast fashion are considered mainstream [ 4 , 38 , 39 ]. While product-as-a-service models are generally perceived as having potential for increasing circularity and improving environmental sustainability, prior literature acknowledges that these impacts can only be achieved by increasing consumer adoption and, thus, acquiring a bigger market share [ 38 , 40 , 41 ]. A deeper understanding of the strategic marketing management of these models is needed for this purpose [ 14 , 17 , 42 ]. Moreover, recent research has identified several issues that affect the management of product-as-a-service models as attempts are made to optimize their environmental sustainability impacts. For example, product-as-a-service models must substitute, not just complement, other more resource-intensive models that are based on ownership [ 1 , 43 ]. Logistics need to be optimized and low-emission transport modes used, particularly related to use-oriented services [ 44 ]. Furthermore, PSS models may even reinforce consumerism and increase consumption [ 44 , 45 ]. Therefore, to reduce environmental sustainability risks it is important that the models are local and encourage sufficiency [ 44 ].

Customer Value Propositions

Customer value propositions (CVPs) are strategic managerial concepts that reflect what a company believes the customers value the most [ 6 , 8 , 10 ]. CVPs rely on identifying the resonation of the offering with the customers’ specific needs and problems and the company`s resources and competences to deliver value to customers in a competitive way [ 6 , 8 , 9 , 10 ]. CVPs are often placed at the core of the company`s business model [ 7 , 8 ], along with other business model components such as value creation, value delivery, and value capture [ 28 ].

To date, only a few studies have investigated CVPs in the circular economy, and they have focused primarily on the process of designing CVPs in the context of circular economy innovations [ 14 ], product longevity [ 12 ], and the environmental impacts of circular business models [ 42 , 46 ]. Even though prior literature highlights the critical role of CVPs at the core of a circular business model, the strategic management dimension of CVPs in the circular economy is currently unexplored.

In this paper, we focus on this dimension and specifically address two complementary perspectives. First, the strategic management of CVPs aims for company positioning and competitive advantage [ 6 , 9 ]. To gain a competitive advantage, CVPs should highlight the uniqueness of the offering and be recognizably different from competing actors [ 10 ]. CVPs are composed of value elements that refer to points of difference or points of parity [ 47 ]. The points of parity are similar features to other offerings in the market and should be included in the CVP to communicate the value that is taken for granted by the customers [ 10 , 47 ]. The points of difference demonstrate the unique elements of the CVP and accelerate the differentiation of the offering compared to other market actors [ 10 , 47 ]. CVPs can also address the resonating focus [ 47 ]. This means that the CVP value elements focus on delivering value that is most important to the target customers instead of highlighting solely points of parity or points of difference.

Second, the strategic management of CVPs aims at structuring customer value by identifying the trade-offs between the benefits and sacrifices that the customer is assumed to perceive of the company`s offering [ 6 , 48 ]. For creating competitive CVPs, companies need to understand the positive and negative consequences for customers of experiencing the offering [ 10 ]. Trade-offs between benefits and sacrifices refer to the suggestion that customer value is created when customers perceive greater positive consequences than negative [ 48 ]. Therefore, effective CVPs should aim to increase the perceived benefits and simultaneously decrease the perceived sacrifices [ 10 ].

Framework for Deconstructing Customer Value Propositions for the Circular Product-as-a-Service Model

Several frameworks and tools have been created to facilitate the development and evaluation of circular business models [ 15 ]. For example, Bocken et al. [ 5 ] have developed a value mapping tool that can be used to identify different forms of value (i.e., value captured, missed/destroyed or wasted, and opportunity) of a business model with relevance to key stakeholder groups (i.e., environment, society, customer, and network of actors). More recently, Manninen et al. [ 46 ] presented a framework for evaluating the environmental value propositions of circular business models. These previous frameworks focused on how diverse forms of value are adapted to the circular economy context. However, these studies do not explore circular value propositions from the strategic management perspective, and a granular view of customer value management is missing. Moreover, there is a need for further investigation of the key components of CVPs, particularly in the context of the circular product-as-a-service model. Therefore, this section presents the framework for deconstructing the CVPs of the circular product-as-a-service business model (Fig.  1 ).

figure 1

A deconstruction framework for CVPs for circular product-as-a-service models

The Deconstruction Concept

The framework adopts the deconstruction approach, which in the context of value propositions involves critically and systematically decomposing socially constructed concepts [ 16 ]. Deconstruction as a mechanism can guide managerial decision-making as value propositions are broken down into manageable components [ 49 ]. Furthermore, key segments of business strategy and understanding what customers value are rethought in the deconstruction process [ 16 , 49 ]. This can increase understanding of the elements of a superior offering [ 16 ], which is hugely important in the context of circular product-as-a-service models, as their superiority needs to be more thoroughly argued and articulated in relation to the traditional offerings that are aimed to be substituted [ 1 , 43 ].

Previous studies have considered the deconstruction concept in the management context mainly from the value-chain perspective [e.g. 18 , 50 ]. Studies considering the deconstruction of value propositions include Payne and Frow`s [ 16 ] single-case study, which focused on the deconstruction of value propositions using the business system framework. Lindič and Marques da Silva [ 49 ] correlated value propositions and innovation through a deconstruction process. In this study, we apply the deconstruction approach to the context of circular economy and focus on the strategic management of circular CVPs. This kind of analysis is missing in the literature on circular business models.

The Deconstruction Framework

Exploitation of the benefits of the circular product-as-a-service model requires rigorous and proactive strategic management decisions that are designed to preserve the value of the product-service mix across and after multiple use cycles [ 2 , 3 , 25 , 26 ]. This requires rethinking value propositions for customers through the lens of circular economy principles [ 24 , 32 , 51 ]. Therefore, the current deconstruction framework integrates theoretical frameworks from the circular product-as-a-service model and CVP literature for a systematic and structured analysis of strategic customer value management. The framework focuses on describing the flow of a focal product within a single cycle, including stages before, during, and after usage and between use cycles — for example one rental cycle of a single product to a single customer. The aim of the deconstruction framework is to describe the service and value elements and customer value trade-offs that occur in each stage of a cycle.

Deriving from the circular product-as-a-service business model literature [e.g. 2 , 3 ], the framework emphasizes two key approaches: the product-service integration and the use-orientation of the model. Concerning the former, the product-as-a-service model is decomposed into focal products and service elements that are then offered to the customer. In prior literature, products and services are considered as the main components of product-as-a-service models and are stated as critical to fulfilling customer needs [ 33 ].

Further, the framework aims to describe the use orientation of product-as-a-service models. In product-as-a-service models, fulfilling customer needs focuses on the use phase. The framework therefore decomposes the process of a customer using and a company providing a focal product. Previous studies have described this process in the PSS context. For example, Lim et al. [ 33 ] identified nine general PSS process steps based on diverse types of PSS cases and prior studies. The limitation with these process descriptions is that they do not consider the reusability of the products, by which we mean the repetitive nature of the process, in which the focal product is offered to and used by the next customer after each use cycle. In the PSS literature on use-oriented services, this is referred to as sequential use of products by different users [ 2 , 3 ]. In the current framework, we follow the suggestion by prior studies and distinctively include a beginning, middle, and end of product use into the framework [ 33 ], and additionally broaden the existing frameworks by adding an intermediate stage to the process to take sequential use into account. Thus, the current deconstruction framework dissects the use orientation into stages that describe 1) the intermediate stage, i.e. the factors between use cycles; 2) the factors before usage, which incorporate preparative components prior to the actual use of products; 3) usage, which highlights the value in use facets; and 4) factors that carry on after usage of products. Additionally, second life of the product and material recycling [ 26 ] are included as complementary elements in the framework. Here, these elements are referred to as the product being detached from the use cycle to either another use function (e.g. second-hand product retail) or material recycling, if the product’s end-of-life is reached.

Based on the literature on strategic management of CVPs, the framework focuses on company positioning and structuring customer value [ 6 , 9 , 48 ]. First, company positioning is addressed, as the CVP is deconstructed by determining the locus of the value elements that include points of parity and points of differentiation [ 47 ]. In the framework, the value elements are determined by defining the key aspects that are either similar to competing actors or accelerate differentiation in each stage of a single product cycle. Previous studies have shown that CVPs in the circular economy tend to incorporate comparisons to linear models. Ranta et al. [ 14 ] state that circular economy CVPs highlight the contrast to linear models by communicating the value that is created when customers adopt novel circular innovations and solutions. This notion is demonstrated in the context of textiles by Fisher et al. [ 52 ], which suggests that customers tend to assess circular offerings using conventional criteria based on traditional, linear models. This statement derives from the suggestion that circular offerings such as the product-as-a-service model are relatively new and currently have a minor role in the markets, compared to the established linear offerings that dominate e.g. the textile industry [ 4 , 19 , 20 ]. Therefore, the framework includes an assumption that product-as-a-service CVPs tend to include value elements that compare circular models to traditional, linear models rather than drawing comparisons between competing circular product-as-a-service actors.

Finally, structuring customer value for strategic management is addressed in the framework, as the CVP is deconstructed from the trade-off perspective to customer value [ 6 , 10 , 48 ]. This includes identifying the company`s view of the customer`s perceived benefits that should be increased and the sacrifices that should be decreased at each stage of a single product cycle. Identifying and understanding these benefit-sacrifice trade-offs is particularly important for company competitiveness in the context product-as-a-service models, as they are substituting ownership-based models and can include novel types of customer value facets [ 1 , 14 , 43 ].


We adopted a qualitative, multiple-case study approach to examine CVPs for the product-as-a-service model and to develop and validate the CVP deconstruction framework. A case study was chosen as a suitable research approach for studying CVPs in the circular economy, because the approach focuses on the characteristics of real-life events in a holistic way and takes the context of the events into consideration [ 53 ]. The textile and clothing industry was considered a relevant empirical setting for the case study from the perspective of the industry`s negative environmental impacts [ 20 ] and the evident need for industry transformation. Additionally, several product-as-a-service models have emerged in the textile market in recent years, enabling the investigation of existing cases.

Case Selection

We investigated seven cases involving Finnish companies from the textile industry (Table  1 ). The textile industry includes versatile products such as garments, household textiles, and furniture, most of which are applicable to offer as a service [ 19 , 20 ]. The business cases included diverse settings of the textiles as a service, such as casual wear, workwear, and interior textiles. The case companies operate in either product-brand-owner or retailer roles. The case selection was limited to include use-oriented circular service business models which are mainly based on renting or leasing textile products. The case study approach was preferred, as the selected cases represent diverse contexts of the addressed phenomenon [ 53 , 54 ]. We followed purposive sampling in the case selection, which allows analytical generalization of the case study [ 53 ], and selected both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) cases to build a comprehensive view of deconstructing CVPs in the product-as-a-service model. In line with the purposive sampling approach, the cases were selected based on predetermined criteria: 1) companies with an established product-as-a-service business model in the selected domain, and 2) positive expectations about the data richness and content [ 55 ]. The cases were identified and the relevant contact persons contacted within four research projects, all of which included the aim of studying the strategic management of product-as-a-service models.

Data Collection

To investigate the CVPs of the case companies’ product-as-a-service models, we collected research data from multiple sources, including company interviews and workshops. Using several data sources allowed us to strengthen the case study evidence [ 53 ]. The data was collected from a continuum of four research projects, which allowed us to apply multiple data collection methods and organize follow-up conversations in certain cases to gain a more detailed view. This included a total of four company workshops and nine company interviews. In all, 10 case company representatives participated in the study. The data was collected in Finland during 2020–2022. All the workshops and interviews were recorded and transcribed.

The aim of the workshops was to collectively identify factors of product-as-a-service CVPs that were not initially obvious to either the participants or the researchers [ 56 ]. The workshops therefore followed a pre-prepared structure based on the themes identified in the product-as-a-service and CVP literature, but the process left room for redefining and moderating the logic of CVP deconstruction. Appendix 1 outlines the structure and themes of the workshops. In the workshops, company representatives actively participated in data production [ 56 ]; two of the authors participated as facilitators. The participants were first asked to deconstruct and describe the product use cycles and service elements. Second, they were asked to describe the benefits and sacrifices for the customer in each deconstructed element. This theme was further elaborated in a discussion between the participants and facilitators concerning the locus of CVP value elements and the required capabilities and resources. The workshop themes were visualized and documented during the workshops using the Miro online whiteboard tool.

The second data collection method included semi-structured interviews with one or two company representatives as interviewees. One or two researchers participated as interviewers. The interviews were semi-structured and followed a protocol [ 57 ] that encouraged flexible and open conversation, allowing the researchers to address specific details or themes raised by the interviewees. The aim of the interviews was to gain an understanding of the case companies` business model, product use cycles, service elements, and elements of the CVPs. Appendix 2 outlines the themes that guided the interviews.

Data Analysis

The data analysis was based on a qualitative content analysis method and thematic coding [ 57 , 58 ]. We conducted several rounds of analysis, starting from recognizing patterns within the cases and continuing with a cross-case analysis [ 54 ]. We applied a directed approach to the content analysis [ 59 ], allowing us to use the existing research on product-as-a-service models and CVPs to guide our initial, thematic coding scheme. Directed content analysis was chosen for developing and validating the CVP deconstruction framework, as the aim of this approach is to validate or extend frameworks that are based on existing theories [ 59 ]. In the initial round of coding, the first author examined the transcribed data by writing memos about observations and categorizing data into tables and on the Miro whiteboard. The initial coding was then discussed and checked with other authors. In the next iterative rounds of coding, the first author continued analysing the data using the Nvivo qualitative data analysis software and returned to joint discussions with other authors to understand and agree on the categorizations. The directed content analysis offered both supporting and extending evidence to existing theoretical concepts concerning product-as-a-service CVPs, as stated by Hsieh and Shannon [ 59 ]. This is why during the analysis process, the researchers continuously discussed the nuances of the CVP deconstruction framework and iteratively elaborated, developed, and validated the framework. Additionally, the analysis provided a descriptive set of evidence of CVP deconstruction in the context of the textile industry.

This section presents the results of the multiple-case study in the textile industry context. The findings are summarized in Table  2 , which follows a similar structure to that suggested in the current CVP deconstruction framework for circular product-as-a-service models (see Fig.  1 ). Deconstruction of the product-as-a-service model CVPs is shown through the four stages of customers using and companies providing textiles: the stage between use cycles, the stage before usage, the stage of usage, and the stage after usage. Further, according to the current deconstruction framework, the locus of value elements, service elements, and key benefits and sacrifices are described for each of these stages.

Between Use Cycles

In the stage between the use cycles of the product-as-a-service model, accessibility to products was identified as one of the benefits and key points of difference compared to the linear models. Further, the perspective of temporality was described as integral, as the customer gains temporal access to the products instead of permanent ownership. The temporality aspect was specifically described to enable preserving the value of the products across multiple use cycles. Especially the B2C case companies described temporal access as a sustainable solution to quickly changing trends of fashion. B2B case companies focused more on highlighting enabling access to suitable products for specific customer needs at a specific moment – for example offering workwear that meets diverse seasonal requirements. Many respondents described that they incorporate a “no commitment required” statement to the product-as-a-service CVP and highlight moving away from ownership. Accordingly, the trade-off between accessibility and ownership emerged as a recurring theme in our data. A case company D respondent commented that the model is based on “making the products accessible to customers” and “offering an option for ownership.” The companies referred to the cultural barriers concerning ownership. According to a Case company B respondent, the “change in the mindset concerning what should be owned” is one of the key barriers to comparing the model with linear ones, which should be tackled in the CVP. Overall, sharing the products with other customers was discussed as a service element that enables temporal access.

Besides sharing, a service element of maintenance and refurbishing was identified as crucial in the stage between use cycles, as the textiles need to be washed, repaired, or remodelled in-between uses and when transferring the products from one customer to another. Here, reducing customers’ risks related to the condition of the products was highlighted as a core benefit. Many companies in our case study stated that the risks and responsibilities related to the condition of the product has shifted from the customer to the company in relation to traditional models, as in the product-as-a-service model the customer does not gain ownership of the product. On the other hand, distrust in the quality of the maintenance and refurbishing process was described as a sacrifice intended to be decreased. This distrust facet tends to embed especially concerns about the hygiene of textiles, deriving from the initial idea of sharing products with other customers. Many companies in our case study aim to decrease this sacrifice through communicating partnerships with professional cleaning and washing companies. For example, casual wear as a service model of Case company A includes service elements that are executed by an antibacterial processing treatment company and laundry operator to tackle the hygiene concerns of customers.

Before Usage

This stage highlights the preparation for the actual usage of products. At this stage, products (i.e., textiles) and the product selection offered to customers were identified as points of parity in the case companies’ CVPs. Points of parity were identified because the product selection of case companies in the textile industry does not significantly differ from the linear offerings in the market.

Here, the service elements include consultancy and delivery. Consultancy enables optimization of the selected products to the specific needs of the customer. What is specific to the product-as-a-service model is that these customer needs are likely to be temporal, and the product optimization process is aimed to fulfil short-term needs. For example, B2C case companies in the fashion field highlighted the enabled flexibility in varying styles or clothing sizes. For some case companies, consultancy was offered as a personalized service, for example by creating personal contacts with the customer during the fitting of clothing. For some case companies, the service was offered in a standardized manner, such as by offering pre-selected product recommendations or bundling product packages for various usage situations. For companies in a retailer role, the product selection itself includes consultancy elements related to the sustainability of product offerings. For example, Case company C has defined sustainability-related criteria for choosing fashion brands that are included in their product selection. Another respondent in a retailer role (Case company D) commented on this aspect as “the curated product sustainability” that seeks to optimize the suitability of product selection to the needs of the sustainability-oriented customer segment.

The incompatibility of product selection with customer needs emerged here as the sacrifice. For example, according to a Case company C respondent from the B2C field, the product selection is limited to a certain style of fashion, and this can lead to limited compatibility in terms of style preferences among certain customer groups. The case companies also described a specific shortage of the product-as-a-service model compared to ownership-based models: for the products to be efficiently circulated across multiple users and use cycles, they cannot be highly customized. For example, in the B2B context, Case company F described that some customers ask for highly customized workwear, which is very challenging to offer as a rent or lease. This is because once the textiles are, for example, highly modified to fit the visual requirements of a certain brand, they cannot be offered for other B2B customers without being heavily modified again. As this would be neither economically profitable nor environmentally sustainable, this scenario would prevent value from being preserved across use cycles and passed on to multiple customers. However, our results show that the case companies aim to compensate this shortage in product-related factors by offering and highlighting the service elements instead. The services are argued to be customizable, differentiate the product-as-a-service model from the linear models, and to be flexible enough to meet the specific needs of target customers.

The service element of delivery was described to include product pick-ups from a service point or logistics service, and these services are typically implemented by an intermediate actor. The case companies highlighted the benefits related to convenience. In addition to the benefits embedded in the utilitarian ease of delivery, also social convenience is linked to delivery. Communality is an example of social convenience, especially in the pick-up model in the B2C setting, in which social interaction takes place. The respondents of case companies that operate in a retailer role commented that the interaction that occurs between the company`s employees and customers in the product pick-up phase in the physical store forms a prerequisite to one of the key social benefits of the CVP. Overall, the case companies described the level of participation and engagement of customers as one of the key differences between product-as-a-service models and traditional models based on ownership. In product-as-a-service models, active customer participation is needed at multiple points along the use process. Compared to traditional models based on buying products and ownership, the product-as-a-service model requires more instances of delivery, as product leasing or renting is generally repetitive. Thus, the model requires more anticipation and planning from customers than do traditional, linear models.

Product usage was identified as a point of parity in relation to linear offerings, as the textile use per se is similarly associated in both models. Overall, enabling product use for customers was highlighted as a prerequisite for the existence of the model. The case companies described emotional, symbolic, and utilitarian forms of value in use. In the context of textiles, the usage of products incorporates benefits as means of self- or brand expression. In the consumer context, this was exemplified by a Case company C respondent: “[…] identifying oneself as the user of these clothes, expressing what kind of person I am […] Sharing with others that, for example, I used this piece at a wedding and this is how I looked.” Additionally, the utilitarian aspects of using textiles were highlighted. For example, in the cases of workwear as a service (Case company F) and children`s wear as a service (Case company E), technical product functionalities like product material durability are considered one of the key aspects. In contrast, the facet of insecurity was identified as a sacrifice. Related to the initial idea of not owning the products and sharing them with others, this facet manifests e.g. in uncertainties about the condition or quality of the products in use or worries over damaging the products.

Guidance on product use or assistance with problems occurring during product usage were identified as the supporting service elements. Offering guidance can give assurance to customers on the correct use of products and thus increase the benefits of the CVP. This was highlighted especially in cases where customers independently maintain (i.e., clean or repair) the products during the usage phase. Fluent handling of customers’ problems or requests for guidance, on the other hand, was seen to minimize the effort of seeking support and thus reduce the sacrifices involved.

After Usage

This stage portrays the elements that occur after actual usage of the products. The process-related aspects – more specifically the circularity of the product-as-a-service model – were highlighted as points of difference in contrast to linear models. The take-back logistics service as part of this stage is a corresponding element to the delivery service in the stage before actual usage. As with the delivery service, in take-back the convenience of the service was emphasized. Here, typically an intermediate actor handles the take-back logistics. Contrary to convenience benefits, temporality was described as a sacrifice, as take-back requires a customer to detach from the product. Some case companies aimed to decrease this sacrifice by promoting and enabling the claiming of rented products for ownership after cycles of use. For example, a Case company B respondent commented that “the customers can test and try the products by renting, and after that make a decision on buying.”

Product validation was identified as a service element that includes the inspection of product condition and documenting product- and use-related data. Product validation is a critical part of improving circularity and developing and validating environmental value propositions. This service element can include data gathering, e.g. on instances of use and length of the product lifecycle, necessary for verifying the sustainability of the model, and articulating (environmental) CVP. For example, Case company G communicates life-cycle assessment (LCA) calculations and related environmental data to their B2B customers for verification purposes. Additionally, product validation acts as a prerequisite for the product maintenance and refurbishing, as the product condition and need for repair and maintenance is defined here. Moreover, product validation can generate product narratives in the CVP, as the history of the product use and users can be narrated in the CVP. The verification of product narratives can emerge as a benefit, especially in the B2C setting. For example, Case company C communicates product-use-related narratives of casual wear rentals, which relates to “relationship-building and a sense of community among the same-minded customers,” as pointed out by a respondent. On the other hand, the data generated in product validation can interfere with the customer`s sense of privacy, which is identified as a sacrifice here. This was described as a sacrifice that is not necessarily applicable in ownership-based models and that might potentially be a barrier to some customers choosing the product-as-a-service model over traditional models.

Finally, lifecycle optimization was included in this stage. It ensures environmentally optimal arrangements for the model. Enabling product second life or material recycling are identified as the service elements that close the use cycle and potentially address another use function or end-of-life of a product. In a wider view, lifecycle optimization enables the product to circulate in the use-oriented loop in an environmentally friendly manner. A Case company G respondent commented on this from the perspective of material resources: “Minimizing textile and other waste throughout the process is highlighted.” A Case company C respondent stated that as a service element, the company ensures that “the textile is used up, with maximal instances of use.” For the customer, this service element offers convenience-related benefits in terms of enabling the environmental sustainability of the model. For example, Case company F, which operates in the B2B field, “takes care of the textile waste for the customer” as part of the service. According to a respondent, this is communicated by “making environmental sustainability easy for the customer.” The sacrifices tend to include questioning and distrust of the positive environmental impact and optimization of e.g. recycling practices, especially in comparison to ownership-based models.

Discussion and Conclusions

Product-as-a-service customer value propositions in the textile industry.

In this section, we discuss the key observations and insights which emerged from the empirical results of our study. The qualitative case study provided a descriptive set of evidence of product-as-a-service CVPs in the context of the textile industry.

In disassembling the value elements of product-as-a-service CVPs in the textile industry, the findings showed that the CVPs include both points of difference (access and process) and points of parity (product and usage). These results indicate that product-as-a-service companies in the textile field seem to aim for a resonating focus type of CVP, which combines both recognizably different and similar value elements to alternative offerings in the market, with the aim of delivering value that is the most important to the customers [ 47 ]. Consistent with the frameworks drawn from the circular economy business model literature, another finding was that the resonating focus seems to be driven by the key underlying concepts of the product-as-a-service model. The CVP elements resonate with the principles of access-based consumption [e.g. 36 , 37 ], sharing and collaborative economy [e.g. 35 ], and the use-oriented product-service systems, i.e., the product-service integration and the process of product usage [e.g. 2 , 3 ]. Overall, the findings support the notion of value in use and shared value that are acknowledged in both the marketing and circular economy value proposition literature [e.g. 5 , 14 , 60 ].

The research question of this study was: How are CVPs strategically managed in circular product-as-a-service models? The strategic level of decision-making was addressed to which the company’s ability to deliver competitive customer value is central [ 6 , 10 ]. For this purpose, the case study showed in detail how company competencies and resources connect to the benefits that the companies aim to increase and the sacrifices that are aimed to be decreased. From the circular economy perspective, two particularly interesting company resources emerged from the findings: the company`s capability to include intermediate actors in the circular value chain and the company`s capability to address sustainability factors. Overall, these resources are linked to the interdependencies in proposing value in the circular economy that includes the environment, society, customers, and stakeholders [ 31 ]. The findings suggest that intermediate actors that are included in e.g. the maintenance, delivery, and take-back service elements facilitate and take part in shared and co-created value propositions, and ultimately have an effect on the proposed benefits and sacrifices. This is what makes it critical for the focal company to have the ability to choose and integrate relevant intermediate actors into the process of proposing customer value.

Similarly, the company`s competence and resources in developing and validating environmental value propositions in the product validation and lifecycle optimization service elements were identified as relevant from the CVP point of view. In consideration of sustainability-related resources, it is important to acknowledge that in contrast to solely creating value, delivering circular value propositions may also destroy value in the sustainability context [ 5 ]. The idea of destroyed sustainability-related value was corroborated in the current empirical study in the identified benefit-sacrifice trade-offs. The resonation with sustainability was especially observed at the after-usage stage. In product validation, damaging customers’ sense of privacy as a sacrifice resonates with the social harm that the product-as-a-service model may cause in contrast to traditional, linear models.

While the use of circular PSS is suggested as a means of reducing environmental impacts compared to linear models, environmental benefits were not strongly present in our data. The environmental impacts of the product-as-a-service model compared to linear models were described to be unclear. While in an ideal product-as-a-service model the product is made as material- and cost-efficient as possible [ 2 ], in reality, many models are still in their infancy, and understanding actual environmental benefits may be limited [ 44 ]. The companies may choose to prioritize economic and business perspectives at the cost of environmental value creation at early stages of market entry, as shown in earlier research on use-oriented product-as-a-service models [ 61 ]. Circular CVPs emphasizing environmental value would benefit from more profound efforts on life-cycle optimization and environmental assessments, particularly as proposing unclear or unsubstantiated environmental claims may not only destroy customer trust but also lead to financial penalties for companies due to the strengthening of anti-greenwashing regulation [ 62 ]. On the other hand, successful utilization of sustainability-related capabilities can result in differentiation in comparison to linear offerings, which in the textile industry are often based on unsustainable options such as fast fashion.

The Customer Value Proposition Deconstruction Framework

In this paper, we introduced a framework for deconstructing CVPs of circular product-as-a-service business models. This section elaborates the theoretical implications of the framework.

The purpose of the CVP deconstruction framework is to offer an approach for systematically supporting the strategic managerial decision-making process of the circular product-as-a-service model. The framework addresses the strategic dimension of managing CVPs, which is acknowledged in prior CVP literature [ 6 ]. This study takes the existing CVP elements into the context of a circular product-as-a-service business, as frameworks from the CVP and circular product-as-a-service business model literature are integrated. Our empirical data indicates that the deconstruction process generates systematically arranged information and a granular view of the manageable components of CVPs of the product-as-a-service model. The proposed CVP deconstruction framework explores how the contextual characteristics of the circular economy are reflected in the strategic management of CVPs. In this way, the CVP deconstruction framework captures the contextual nature of CVPs [ 6 , 8 ].

In this study, we adopted a normative stance initially suggested by Payne and Frow [ 16 ], according to which companies can change and enhance their competitive position by systematically examining their value propositions. The outlined framework is based on the deconstruction concept, which enables strategically redefining what the customers value [ 16 ]. In addition to dissecting the product-as-a-service CVPs, we suggest that the framework can support the redefinition when the CVP is reconstructed after deconstructing. Corroborating the hierarchical CVP model presented by Rintamäki et al. [ 10 ], we suggest that the core of reconstruction after deconstruction may be the selected primary focus of a competitive CVP. The framework can support companies in evaluating which elements of the CVP are most important in terms of competitive advantage and customer acceptance, i.e., which elements the competitive CVP is built upon, and which elements should be highlighted the most.

The aim of the outlined framework is to enable the reconfiguration of CVPs in a circular economy transition context. The market maturity and customer awareness of circular product-as-a-service models are currently low, and the position of these models is expected to change over time [ 4 ]. Changes in market dynamics are expected especially in markets that are undergoing drastic circularity transitions, such as the textile industry [ 19 , 20 ]. For companies, these kinds of changes are likely to require enhancing the existing CVPs or developing new value propositions. In the textile industry, the position of the product-as-a-service models might change, for example, if the number of clothing rental retailers or platforms were to increase significantly in the market or many established textile brands were to expand their business models to offering products as a service as a secondary model. Similarly, for example, a significant increase in offering products that are exclusively offered via renting or leasing might potentially result in market position changes in the textile field.

In the circular economy, the CVP reconfiguration process should be continuous, as customers are being motivated to adopt the product-as-a-service offerings and move from linear to circular models. In line with this notion, the CVP deconstruction framework includes an assumption implying that in the circular economy, companies tend to include linear offerings as the comparison points in their differentiation strategies, instead of significantly comparing their offerings with other circular models. The findings of the current empirical study support this assumption. Overall, the assumption is based on the associated novelty of circular offerings in the markets. Furthermore, this assumption is in line with a recent study by Ranta et al. [ 14 ], which indicates that circular economy CVPs underline value creation opportunities that result from changing use practices from linear to circular, detaching from linear solutions, and adopting novel circular innovations. The underlying purpose of the CVP deconstruction framework is based on the consideration that market tendencies might change over time as the circular economy transition progresses, which could create incentives for changing the logic of building and articulating CVPs.

Managerial Implications

The prior literature has identified that CVPs often form the premises for re-inventing business models [ 7 ]. Thus, from a managerial perspective, the CVP deconstruction framework can be used as a tool for innovating product-as-a-service business models in the circular economy. Moreover, the framework can provide practical support for companies in improving or formulating new CVPs. One of the potential approaches to applying the CVP deconstruction framework could be circular business model experimentation. The framework could be integrated into the process of developing and testing circular value propositions in a real-life context [ 63 ]. Another application area for the CVP deconstruction framework could be circular service design. The framework could provide an integrated tool to investigate e.g. customer touchpoints within product use cycles in relation to CVP elements.

The CVP deconstruction framework could also be used as a supplementary tool with other established circular business model frameworks, such as the value mapping tool [ 5 ] or the environmental value proposition evaluation framework [ 46 ]. The CVP deconstruction framework can offer a more granulated view of these frameworks. For example, integration of the value mapping tool and the CVP deconstruction framework can offer an understanding of the value perspectives while shedding light on which use-orientation phase of the circularity value is being constructed.

Limitations and Future Research

The generalizability of the results of this study is subject to certain limitations. The empirical setting of the study was limited to certain applications of the textile industry. However, overall, the textile and clothing industry includes very diverse products, ranging from apparel to applications for medical or construction purposes [ 19 ], with potentially different structure and content of value propositions. Future research could explore the topic for a wider range of textile products or broaden the investigation to other domains and examine the similarities and differences of diverse settings. Further, the study focused on use-oriented product-as-a-service models. More research is needed to expand the investigation to other types of circular business models, such as product- and result-oriented models.

The CVP deconstruction framework could potentially be used as a practical tool for managers. However, it should be acknowledged that the presented framework can serve a different purpose — as a managerial business model tool for an individual company — from the one it serves for a multiple-case study. In this study, developing and validating the framework was executed as an iterative and parallel process. More research is required to validate the effectiveness and suitability of the tool in innovating and determining circular CVPs in managerial contexts. Future research could be executed by e.g. testing the framework as a practical business model tool in workshops with company representatives.

Finally, it should be acknowledged that the CVP deconstruction framework should be developed further in the future, as the circular product-as-a-service business models develop and understanding of CVPs in the circular economy is deepened. For example, changes in the product-as-a-service model positioning in the market could require alterations in the framework. Moreover, for example, a more profound integration of the ecosystem perspective in the circular economy could be included in the framework in future work. Furthermore, the integration and analysis of environmental aspects in the CVP deconstruction framework is still very limited and would benefit from further efforts. It should also be acknowledged that the deconstruction framework does not provide an integrated view of all the components of circular business models, which along with CVPs include e.g. value creation, value delivery, and value capture [e.g. 28 ]. Future research could broaden the framework by considering these business model components aside from circular CVPs.

Data Availability

The data collected for this study cannot be made available for wider use.

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The authors acknowledge the project research partners, companies who were willing to open up their cases to research. An early, work-in-progress version of this paper was presented at the Spring Servitization Conference 2022. The authors would like to thank research scientist Jouko Heikkilä for his work and comments on the early stages of conducting this study.

Open Access funding provided by Technical Research Centre of Finland. The study was carried out as part of the PaaS Pilots research project, funded by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra; the Telaketju2 research project, funded by Business Finland; the PSS in the Nordics research project, funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers; and the FUTEX research project, funded by a government grant received by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

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The first author planned the study concept and design, collected the data, performed data analysis, and wrote the article manuscript. The second and third authors contributed to the data collection, provided feedback for the research process, and contributed to the article manuscript writing.

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Appendix 1 Themed structure for company workshops

figure 2

Outline of the structure and themes of the company workshops

Appendix 2 Theme guide for company interviews

Background information.

What is the business idea of the company?

What is your (i.e., the interviewee) role in the company?

Is offering products as a service a primary or secondary model for the company?

What are the main drivers for the company to offer products as a service?

Products, Services and Use Cycles

What is included in your product-as-a-service offering; what are the products and the services?

Is there a service package: are some of the services always included in the package, or are some optional to be chosen by customers?

How are the services organized?

Do you involve intermediate actors?

How do the products circulate and how are they used?

What happens to products after use cycles?

Customers, Benefits and Sacrifices

What are the customer segments that you are targeting? Why?

What are the benefits for customers related to your offering?

What drives and motivates customers?

What are the sacrifices for customers related to your offering?

What are the barriers for customers?

How do you persuade customers to choose your offering?

How do you aim to increase the benefits and decrease the sacrifices?

Which service elements are critical for the customers in relation to key benefits to be increased and key sacrifices to be decreased?

Differentiation and Positioning

Who do you consider to be your competitors in the market?

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Petänen, P., Sundqvist, H. & Antikainen, M. Deconstructing Customer Value Propositions for the Circular Product-as-a-Service Business Model: A Case Study from the Textile Industry. Circ.Econ.Sust. (2024).

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Information Technology Services

Office of Internal Audit relies on ITS Managed Desktop Services

By Louise Flinn

Dean Weber chief audit officer in the office of internal audit

The Office of Internal Audit (OIA) at UNC-Chapel Hill is a service unit that assists University management in providing the highest quality education and services to students and the people of North Carolina. Dean Weber, Chief Audit Officer, said that OIA’s underlying premise is that “the University must function at the highest level possible.” The OIA supports this objective by providing independent and proactive analyses of operations, financial activities and systems of internal control. Weber said these analyses evaluate whether resources are used in keeping with State requirements and the University’s mission, goals and objectives.

The Office of Internal Audit has been an ITS Managed Desktop Support (MDS) customer since June 2019. MDS provides IT support to faculty, staff and administrators at UNC-Chapel Hill. The group supplies “fixers” for technical support as well as consultative services, with a focus on security and reliability. It supports 15 different campus departments.

In this customer case study, Weber answered a few questions about the “terrific” partnership between OIA and MDS.

Tell us a little about the Office of Internal Audit.

The University established an internal audit function in 1961 with an internal auditor position in the Division of Business and Finance. Fast forward to 2024, the Office of Internal Audit (OIA) operates as an independent department with the chief audit officer administratively reporting to the University’s chancellor and functionally to the Board of Trustees, Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee.

Why did you enlist ITS Managed Desktop Services?

We turned to MDS to aid in supporting the technology administration of our department. As a smaller unit of eight FTE administratively housed under the Chancellor’s Office, we realized our department lacked the professional expertise necessary to maintain our administrative technology needs. Specifically, we needed to ensure our technology was properly managed, administered, secured and understood by our department’s users. MDS was the solution to meet our needs in providing professional, efficient, knowledgeable and user-friendly staffing to support our desktop computing needs.

What services does MDS provide to your department?

MDS provides support and direction guiding desktop computing needs for our department. This encompasses addressing departmental staff’s immediate technology questions, as well as our technology hardware and software application planning needs. MDS quickly and efficiently responds to our requests to prepare laptops for our team members, comprising wiping and refreshing equipment when changes in staffing occur. They readily respond to user inquiries regarding technology access, software application questions and technology procurement needs.

How does partnering with MDS benefit OIA?

Partnering with MDS as the provider for our department’s administrative desktop hardware and software computing needs has been terrific! As a department focused on cost-effectiveness, the OIA recognizes substantial value in this partnership, both from a financial standpoint and in terms of the knowledge-based expertise offered in technology administration. The utilization of this shared University resource adds significant value to our unit, given that the costs incurred are minimal compared to the alternative of hiring an in-house professional to support our computing needs. This strategic approach allows us to benefit from specialized support while maintaining a prudent fiscal approach.

What about MDS’ support or service has exceeded your expectations?

I am consistently impressed by the professionalism and expertise demonstrated by every member of the Managed Desktop Services Team with whom I interact. Their responsiveness in addressing our inquiries, fulfilling requests and addressing concerns is prompt and delivered in a friendly manner. Our designated representative is readily accessible through various communication channels, including text, email, phone and Teams, making the process of reaching out to MDS remarkably convenient.

The utilization of Teams chat and remote screen sharing between MDS and our staff has proven to be an invaluable resource. This collaborative approach facilitates swift and effective solutions, enabling the resolution of technology concerns or problems in real time. This efficient process allows us to promptly return to our work, supporting our audit activities with minimal disruption.

What would you tell other schools or departments that are considering hiring MDS?

I would tell them that based on my experience, this is certainly a value-added opportunity to successfully meet the desktop computing needs of their team. MDS personnel are extremely professional, knowledgeable, responsive and customer focused. They are a valuable resource possessing the expertise necessary to support and solve your team’s desktop computing issues.

Anything else you would like to say?

In the decentralized University operating environment, leveraging Managed Desktop Services (MDS) offers a steadfast and dependable solution for meeting desktop computing requirements. MDS services stand out as an efficient and cost-effective option, equipped with the expertise to offer guidance and direction in addressing user technology needs. This includes providing swift and effective solutions, along with expert advice on the optimal methods for addressing software and hardware requirements.

MDS and the OIA IT Systems Auditor are collaborating to explore IT audit services that will provide MDS management insight. The audit tool Nessus Professional will be used to assist MDS with evaluating settings in the baseline images for computers they configure. The OIA will provide recommendations from the Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmarks. This collaboration supports our common goals to strengthen controls and add value to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

More From Forbes

The Amazing Ways Walmart Is Using Generative AI

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Walmart is no stranger to adopting new technologies and embracing transformation. You don’t get to be the world’s largest retailer by stubbornly sticking to the “this is how we’ve always done it” mindset. As such, there’s a lot that other organizations – retailers and otherwise – can learn from Walmart. Particularly when it comes to generative AI. Walmart has been busy integrating generative AI right across the business, using the transformative technology to drive performance and deliver a better service to customers.

Let’s explore some of the ways in which Walmart is deploying generative AI.

Improving The Shopping Experience

So much of grocery shopping involves buying the same items on a weekly or regular basis. Walmart knows this, which is why the retailer has introduced voice shopping as an easier way for customers to reorder common items. The Walmart Voice Order service allows customers to connect their mobile devices and home smart speakers to their Walmart account and simply say out loud what they want to order. For example, a customer can say, “Hey Google, please add a dozen eggs to my cart,” and the system will understand the request, identify the customer’s preferred brand from previous purchases, and add the item. Pretty cool, huh?

There’s also a Text to Shop feature that lets customers ask for what they want by texting Walmart. With a simple text chat powered by conversational AI technology, customers can search for items, add or remove products from their cart, reorder products, and schedule a delivery or pickup.

Walmart is also introducing a new online AI shopping assistant designed to help shoppers find the best products for their needs or even plan the perfect event. Whether you want to throw a superhero-themed party for a six-year-old or find a fun Halloween costume for your teenager, the tool will recommend relevant and related products – without you having to do multiple individual searches.

As The Ukrainians Fling 50,000 Drones A Month, The Russians Can’t Get Their Drone-Jammers To Work

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Voice Assistance For In-Store Associates

It’s not just customers who can benefit from generative AI voice assistants. Walmart has introduced a conversational AI called Ask Sam for in-store associates. The AI helper can assist colleagues with all sorts of queries, such as finding a specific product in the store, looking up prices, or questions about the employee’s work schedule. Again, this can all be done with simple questions, such as “What aisle is cinnamon located in?”

Enhancing Customer Service

Most of us are no strangers to customer service chatbots – some of which can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. But generative AI brings a new level of capability to chatbots by allowing them to interpret and respond to requests in a more intelligent and human way. This is why companies, including Walmart, are turning to generative AI to automate certain customer support requests. Since 2020, Walmart says the technology has reduced millions of customer contacts by immediately providing answers to questions about returns, order status, and more. This real-time conversational functionality is available across multiple countries, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and India.

Automating Supplier Negotiations

One particularly interesting use case is in supplier negotiations. Walmart has trialed using a generative AI chatbot to close deals with 89 suppliers of items like shopping carts and other store equipment. Of those suppliers, the chatbot closed deals with 64 percent, gaining an average of 1.5 percent in cost savings and an extra 35 days in extended payment terms. An impressive 83 percent of suppliers actually liked the chatbot negotiation – proving that not only can automated negotiations result in better terms, but they can provide a good experience for vendors, too.

Allowing Employees To Come Up With Their Own Solutions

One thing that a lot of business leaders struggle with is determining where best to use a new technology like generative AI. So why not let your employees tell you where they could best use it? That’s the approach Walmart is taking, opening up its generative AI tool My Assistant to employees who work at corporate facilities. The hope is generative AI will help reduce the load of “ monotonous, repetitive tasks ,” giving employees more time to focus on the customer experience. It’s expected that employees will surface their own practical ways to use the tool in their daily work. So, basically, Walmart is crowdsourcing ideas for generative AI uses from its vast pool of employees, which is a brilliant way to foster creativity and engage people with new technology.

I find it inspiring that Walmart is looking at ways to integrate this transformative technology right across the business. That’s something every organization can learn from.

Bernard Marr

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Blame game —

Air canada must honor refund policy invented by airline’s chatbot, air canada appears to have quietly killed its costly chatbot support..

Ashley Belanger - Feb 16, 2024 5:12 pm UTC

Air Canada must honor refund policy invented by airline’s chatbot

After months of resisting, Air Canada was forced to give a partial refund to a grieving passenger who was misled by an airline chatbot inaccurately explaining the airline's bereavement travel policy.

On the day Jake Moffatt's grandmother died, Moffat immediately visited Air Canada's website to book a flight from Vancouver to Toronto. Unsure of how Air Canada's bereavement rates worked, Moffatt asked Air Canada's chatbot to explain.

The chatbot provided inaccurate information, encouraging Moffatt to book a flight immediately and then request a refund within 90 days. In reality, Air Canada's policy explicitly stated that the airline will not provide refunds for bereavement travel after the flight is booked. Moffatt dutifully attempted to follow the chatbot's advice and request a refund but was shocked that the request was rejected.

Moffatt tried for months to convince Air Canada that a refund was owed, sharing a screenshot from the chatbot that clearly claimed:

If you need to travel immediately or have already travelled and would like to submit your ticket for a reduced bereavement rate, kindly do so within 90 days of the date your ticket was issued by completing our Ticket Refund Application form.

Air Canada argued that because the chatbot response elsewhere linked to a page with the actual bereavement travel policy, Moffatt should have known bereavement rates could not be requested retroactively. Instead of a refund, the best Air Canada would do was to promise to update the chatbot and offer Moffatt a $200 coupon to use on a future flight.

Unhappy with this resolution, Moffatt refused the coupon and filed a small claims complaint in Canada's Civil Resolution Tribunal.

According to Air Canada, Moffatt never should have trusted the chatbot and the airline should not be liable for the chatbot's misleading information because Air Canada essentially argued that "the chatbot is a separate legal entity that is responsible for its own actions," a court order said.

Experts told the Vancouver Sun that Moffatt's case appeared to be the first time a Canadian company tried to argue that it wasn't liable for information provided by its chatbot.

Tribunal member Christopher Rivers, who decided the case in favor of Moffatt, called Air Canada's defense "remarkable."

"Air Canada argues it cannot be held liable for information provided by one of its agents, servants, or representatives—including a chatbot," Rivers wrote. "It does not explain why it believes that is the case" or "why the webpage titled 'Bereavement travel' was inherently more trustworthy than its chatbot."

Further, Rivers found that Moffatt had "no reason" to believe that one part of Air Canada's website would be accurate and another would not.

Air Canada "does not explain why customers should have to double-check information found in one part of its website on another part of its website," Rivers wrote.

In the end, Rivers ruled that Moffatt was entitled to a partial refund of $650.88 in Canadian dollars (CAD) off the original fare (about $482 USD), which was $1,640.36 CAD (about $1,216 USD), as well as additional damages to cover interest on the airfare and Moffatt's tribunal fees.

Air Canada told Ars it will comply with the ruling and considers the matter closed.

Air Canada’s chatbot appears to be disabled

When Ars visited Air Canada's website on Friday, there appeared to be no chatbot support available, suggesting that Air Canada has disabled the chatbot.

Air Canada did not respond to Ars' request to confirm whether the chatbot is still part of the airline's online support offerings.

Last March, Air Canada's chief information officer Mel Crocker told the Globe and Mail that the airline had launched the chatbot as an AI "experiment."

Initially, the chatbot was used to lighten the load on Air Canada's call center when flights experienced unexpected delays or cancellations.

“So in the case of a snowstorm, if you have not been issued your new boarding pass yet and you just want to confirm if you have a seat available on another flight, that’s the sort of thing we can easily handle with AI,” Crocker told the Globe and Mail.

Over time, Crocker said, Air Canada hoped the chatbot would "gain the ability to resolve even more complex customer service issues," with the airline's ultimate goal to automate every service that did not require a "human touch."

If Air Canada can use "technology to solve something that can be automated, we will do that,” Crocker said.

Air Canada was seemingly so invested in experimenting with AI that Crocker told the Globe and Mail that "Air Canada’s initial investment in customer service AI technology was much higher than the cost of continuing to pay workers to handle simple queries." It was worth it, Crocker said, because "the airline believes investing in automation and machine learning technology will lower its expenses" and "fundamentally" create "a better customer experience."

It's now clear that for at least one person, the chatbot created a more frustrating customer experience.

Experts told the Vancouver Sun that Air Canada may have succeeded in avoiding liability in Moffatt's case if its chatbot had warned customers that the information that the chatbot provided may not be accurate.

Because Air Canada seemingly failed to take that step, Rivers ruled that "Air Canada did not take reasonable care to ensure its chatbot was accurate."

"It should be obvious to Air Canada that it is responsible for all the information on its website," Rivers wrote. "It makes no difference whether the information comes from a static page or a chatbot."

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