Providing Creative Solutions to Customers

“Always strive to provide service above and beyond what the average salesperson would give. It will help you build long-term relationships, trust, and referral business.” – Tom Hopkins

Staying connected with your customers and understanding how best to keep them engaged, is perhaps two of the most important parts of a successful and sustainable business. An in-depth understanding will enable a company to provide the most creative solutions to customers, which is what any customer seeks when they form an association with a company. Providing such innovative remedies is no less than an art and a science, and therefore must receive careful consideration. In an attempt to please customers, some companies dive headlong into providing quick fix solutions, which on many occasions do not prove beneficial over time. This not only frustrates customers, but also proves costly and damaging for the company. Providing creative solutions to customers is about ensuring long-term performance and efficacy of the solutions.

There is so much talk about change being the only constant. Unless a company moves with the times and keeps pace with customers through consistent innovation, it could find itself in trouble. The other point to remember is that innovation is not limited to redefining products – it is also about putting ‘out there’ creative solutions to customers – even the potential ones and those that a company may not even know exist. With the dominance of the internet and the ‘virtual world’, there is information aplenty and customers are often able to retrieve data they require post sifting through a sea of it. With so many ideas and ‘creative solutions’ surfacing daily, convincing customers of the efficacy of the creativity of the solutions provided by your company is no mean task. It is therefore critical that companies focus on understanding their customers and target audience thoroughly to convince them of your company’s commitment to fulfilling their expectations. Providing the most creative solutions to customers each time would enhance their trust and confidence in your company, leading to engagement and loyalty. Being unable to get innovative and creative, could lead your customers to your competitors, who are already lying in wait to ‘steal’ them at the slightest hint of trouble.

With so much competition and similar offerings, it would seem that companies would have made it their mission to provide creative solutions to customers in a speedy manner. However, data about even some large companies reveals that companies are severely lacking and failing at mastering the art of getting creative in the solutions they provide. Customer reviews clearly indicate disillusionment, dissatisfaction, and even ire – they did not receive the kind of service and solutions they expected. This is indeed strange, since every company has the ability and the means to communicate directly with their customers and connect with their target audience. It really depends on whether a company is committed and driven enough to give customers what they want and consistently think of creative solutions for them.

In order to give customers what they need and want, companies need to look at their own future especially from the point of view of growing competition.  This inside out focus helps as it allows companies to understand the jeopardy they could put themselves in by not giving customers what they want. Irrespective of the strength of the company or the industry within which it operates, it is imperative for it to give consistently to customers, what they value. Providing creative solutions to customers means having the ability to manage factors internally that could prevent seamless service to them. When customers spend time and money with a company, they expect a full range of services and solutions that are the most innovative. At the same time, they are not concerned with the internal operations, the running of a business, and neither would they like to deal with too many different people within the organization.

When a company provides solutions and ‘fixes’ for its customers, irrespective of how innovative and creative they may be, these solutions might not be acceptable unless they convey trustworthiness. The ‘creative solutions to customers’ must convey to customers that the company is ready to do whatever it takes to help them, and that customers must rest easy in the knowledge that they are with a company that will stand by them. The solutions must display the company’s commitment to make the lives of customers easier and provide a swift recovery from any future issues too.  All these factors put together reflect the company’s ability to be attentive to their issues – even before they arise. Attentiveness to customers ensures that the business they give to the company is highly appreciated and they would be treated with the respect they deserve, and the company would handle the business from a humane angle at all times. Providing creative solutions to customers shows company’s flexible and adaptive approach – willing to change their strategies depending upon the needs of the customer.

A company that cares enough to provide creative solutions to customers would be one that is customer-focused. A company focused on the needs of customers would first ensure that it knows which problem must be resolved first – that is which one is most urgent in the eyes of the customer. By asking the right questions, a company can figure out the immediate needs and priorities of customers, and ascertain what the company can do to get better at service and make their products and offerings as pertinent to the needs of customers as possible. Post asking the right questions and listening attentively to the responses, a company would be able to analyse effectively the problem – all the way to the root cause. Very often, the most apparent problem is symptomatic and a thorough examination would enable the company to know the real cause and find solutions for it, rather than ‘attacking’ the symptom. This method is more effective, saves costs and time, and portrays a more efficient ‘face’ of the company – customers come to appreciate this quality and tend to stay with the company.

Finding the root cause would enable the company to come with many creative solutions for customers. Post assessing the pros and cons of each, the customer would be in a better position to choose the one that they would be most comfortable with. Being able to come up with many solutions to a single problem establishes the company as an authority and displays its expertise, and customers love to be in the ‘company’ of competence. The more confidence customers have in a company, the longer they are bound to stay. The length of the association would make customers move from satisfaction to engagement and finally to loyal brand ambassadors – and everyone knows the power of customer brand ambassadors.

From all the above, it seems like common sense for a business to remain competent and committed, with a focus on providing creative solutions to customers at all times. No amount of fancy advertising or ‘flashy’ promotions will gain and retain customers, unless they can see actual value in what a company offers. Understand customers, assess their needs, and then give them what they want, with a number of options to choose from – keep your customers for life.

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