Understanding Customer Problems

If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask… for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.

Albert Einstein, but it’s highly debated.

Creating a lasting product or service means first having a deep understanding of a problem.

Unfortunately, clients often call with a solution in mind. This means it’s your job to get them to take a few steps back.

Walking clients through the steps to a solution looks like this:

1. Identify the problem

A problem exits when a goal cannot be reached. When there’s a gap between a person and their goal.

What’s the issue? What can’t be solved or accomplished?

A client may come to you and ask, “we’d like you to install a chatbot onto our e-commerce website.” This is broad and vague. Plus it’s a solution.

You’re job is to get them to tell you why so you can identify the real problem.

2. Prioritize the problem

Not all problems are equal. Some may be a minor annoyance and others a major aggravation.

What’s important to understand is where on the spectrum does client aggravation fall as well as what they’ll currently doing to solve the problem.

If aggravation is low, then the problem is low priority.

If aggravation is high, but if existing solution eliminates aggravation, then priority is low.

If aggravation is high AND there are no (or poor) existing solutions, then the priority should be high.

3. Define the problem

What is the client trying to do? What is their end goal? What does their workflow look like currently? What does success look like?

These are the sorts of questions you need to have answered to fully understand the problem.

Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

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