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Solve Customers' Problems and Reap the Business Benefits
  • 12 April 2018
  • Tiffany C Wright

Solve Customers' Problems and Reap the Business Benefits

Many small business owners start their businesses because they love doing a certain type of work. Maybe it’s providing services such as marketing – or accounting – for individuals and businesses, or perhaps it’s renovating houses or small commercial buildings. Once you decide to create the business, to be profitable and successful, you must shift your attention to running your business and focusing on your current and prospective clients. The best way to do this is to identify then solve customers' problems.


Be a problem solver

Every business solves some type of problem for its customers. Most solve multiple problems. Otherwise, they likely wouldn’t be in business.

What problems are you solving? Dive deeper by asking yourself a series of questions:

  • Why do customers choose me?

  • Who are these customers? What do they look like? Demographics, income, housing, education, etc.

  • Does my company offer a service that is difficult for customers to handle on their own, such as marketing or IT?

  • Does the service I provide save customers time? Money? Both? Neither?

  • Does my business reduce hassle for customers?

  • Where would customers go/what would customers do – if my business wasn’t around? Would they handle it themselves? Go to a competitor?

Now that you’ve gone through this exercise, you want to create a plan for communicating a message that aligns with the needs of your customers, and in marketing, go after more customers with similar needs.

Really understand the problem

In order to effectively communicate your problem solving prowess, you have to make sure you thoroughly understand those problems from your customers' perspective. Here, you’ll want to talk with your customers.

Pick ten of your best customers and ask:

  • Can you tell me why you originally chose us/this firm?

  • What are ways that we help you? (gets at the problem without coming off negatively)

  • Why do you come back?

  • What do we do well?

  • What is it about [what you do well answer] that sets us apart from other businesses?

By asking open-ended, conversational questions to your customers, you can delve into what’s really important to them and get to the root of their problems. You’ll identify the things your customers most value – whether it’s your firm’s responsiveness, flexibility, choice of offering/solutions, or ability to handle things from start to finish. You’ll gain insight into what the decision drivers or points are that lead customers to your business.

Benefit: Better Targeted Marketing

When you’re regularly checking in with your customers and have a good pulse of how your company solves their problems, you can better articulate this value proposition in your marketing, business development and other outreach activities.

Let’s say for example, you’re a plumber. In talking with a customer, she conveys how she appreciates that you’re able to show up and fix her sink/shower/etc. quickly, regardless of the time of day she calls. If this is the type of feedback you regularly hear from customers, you’ll want your marketing to highlight the reliability you offer in situations of urgency for customers. Consider including testimonials attesting to this. You might identify keywords to include in website content or in paid search advertising – like “emergency shower repair” or “after hours plumber”.

To help build your business’ credibility online, encourage satisfied customers to share their feedback via different reviews or ratings. Be sure to submit and claim your business listings online, especially in directories like Google, Bing, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau.

Benefit: Higher Prices

Understanding your customers' problems and using that to more specifically communicate your value to customers also allows you to charge a higher premium for your services. Instead of pursuing anyone that might need your services, as many small business owners do, you target your focus on those who truly value the services you offer and are willing to pay more for the quality, convenience, service, etc.

In the plumber example, instead of focusing on work that could be performed anytime in the next 2 weeks or month, you'd focus on work that needs to be done immediately or within a few days because that is what your customers truly value. You would also need to shore up your internal operations to support last minute and near-term scheduling to maintain your ability to support this service as you grow.

When a business has ongoing, open dialog with customers to truly understand their needs, and why they do business with you, you gain access to valuable information that can help you drive your business forward. Savvy business owners take this kind of information to drive their marketing, promotion, operations and more, all while strengthening relationships with customers along the way.

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