The modern consumer enjoys ease, craves comfort, and dreads dilemmas. Your business exists to offer a product or service that will fill a need and hopefully provide a piece of the puzzle to remediation. Here is the problem: Customers are no longer looking for you to fill a piece of the puzzle, they want the entire problem solved and expect you to have the solution.
I have heard the term in various places, but this phenomenon is what the marketplace now refers to as “solution economy.” It only makes logical sense this customer expectation would arise as most of their minimal, daily questions can be answered within a millisecond of typing up an internet search. Our society is used to fast, instant answers. In order for your business to survive and truly excel, providing a resource and not a solution may not cut it, rather your brand needs to offer the solution- based customer service.
What does solution-based customer service look like?
A Shift in Customer Understanding
Many brands have a decent understanding of who their target audience is, what their interests are, what their problems are, and other helpful demographic information. This information is not going to cut it in the solution economy. Your brand should be asking more questions than ever with the ultimate goal being to fully understand your desired client’s every desire and every problem. Sounds unrealistic? It is not. It takes a new form of intel, a continuous form, that follows the changes as they come and allows your business to better predict the next ones. Focus groups and surveys can be a helpful tool, but it takes more than just adopting the perspective of your client, it takes predicting a problem they could have before it arises. Ongoing data collection is a must.
Stop Selling, Start Helping
If your business answers the phone, is there a script? Do you have a help center whereby the employee is glued to specific words rather than actually answering the consumer’s questions? Ditch it. Ditch it fast. No more scripts, no more referrals to one of the hundred unnecessary departments. Tell your employees to offer help to the best of their ability and use their critical thinking skills. If your business doesn’t offer the services the customer is looking for, don’t just tell them, guide them, give them a source for a solution even if it’s not you. You are NOT losing business if you can’t help them anyway, instead,d you are revealing your brand as trustworthy and committed to providing authentic solutions, whether that involves you or not.
Be Efficient, but Be Explanatory
As you know quite well by this point, time is always of the essence. To do something well and fast is a skill that will move mountains. However, if your customer wants answers, and a lot of them, do not rush through to get the purchase. This not only can offend your clients, but it portrays you as distant, money-motivated, and rude. While it can be frustrating to be bombarded with questions, your job is to inform the customer from your area of expertise. A true solution-based thinker will clarify, anticipate questions, and make themselves available with the confidence to provide whatever help the consumer may need.
With this service, your customers will notice a shift in service and mindset. Your business will not only retain customers, but build a solid brand reputation built on trust, care, and attention to detail. Not to mention, your employees will feel more confident in being able to answer questions freely, and genuinely bringing up a higher performance rate.
Don’t just offer an answer, be the answer.