Brands: Whatever happened to solving the customer’s problem?

Fri, Dec 27, 2013

PR

Last week, I was out shopping for a new phone at a retailer here in the Twin Cities (to be clear, it actually wasn’t Verizon–I just liked the photo below for this post).

As I entered the store, I was welcomed relatively quickly. Check.

I was then greeted by a salesperson warmly. Check.

The salesperson then asked me what I was looking for. I told her I was looking for a new phone–most likely an iPhone, but that many friends had told me I had to check out the new Samsung phones, so I was willing to give those a peek.

Verizon

She then sent me over to another salesperson who had more experience with the Samsung phones. And, he almost immediately started talking about all the “cool features” this phone had.

In fact, he went on and on about it for about 15 minutes.

Not one question about how I like my current phone.

Not one question about how I use my current phone.

Not one question about any problems I have with my current phone.

Not even a question about things I’d like to have in my next phone.

Nope, it was “all features all the time” with this guy.

The funny thing is most of the features of this particular Samsung phone–I didn’t even want or need them. They were completely irrelevant to me.

You want to text, peruse Facebook and watch video at the same time? This Samsung phone can do that.

My reply (literally): I don’t care.

He didn’t take the hint.

Instead, like I said above, he continued to prattle (yes, I said prattle) on about even more useless features (to me).

So I’ll ask the question it’s taken me a while to get to: What ever happened to just solving the customer’s problem?

Isn’t that what your brand’s product or service is all about?

Aren’t products and services DESIGNED to meet a need someone sees in the marketplace?

It’s crazy to me how often this is overlooked by brands (this wasn’t the first experience like this I’ve had with a retailer in town when shopping for a phone).

As marketers, I think it’s important to keep this in mind as we think about our work each day. How does the product or service our company/client is selling solve our customer’s problems?

Do you work in retail? Get out in your stores! Observe some real-life salesperson/customer interactions. See what kinds of questions customers are asking. See how they walk the sales floor. You’ll be amazed what kinds of ideas this kind of thing will spark for you.

Work in health care? Get out in your clinics and hospitals and walk the patient floors (as you’re able, at least). Just observe patient/doctor/nurse behaviors. Again, you’ll be surprised what you learn.

What about B2B? Go on a sales call with one of your reps. Just tell them you want to “audit” a few calls. Again, just be a fly on the wall and observe the interaction. What kinds of questions do the customers have? What’s their body language like? How does the salesperson react?

Remember, we’re all in business to solve our customer’s problems. Period.

Don’t lose sight of that.

photo credit: jfingas via photopin cc

Thanks for installing the Bottom of every post plugin by Corey Salzano. Contact me if you need custom WordPress plugins or website design.

Opt In Image
Get Talking Points Delivered Straight to Your E-mail Inbox!

Get Talking Points--my weekly e-newsletter--delivered straight to your e-mail inbox each Wednesday by signing up above. I'll provide you with insightful posts, useful how-to articles and other information designed to help YOU do your job better.

,
1 comments
ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman

Firstly, I love that you used the word 'prattle.' Secondly, your post brings up a very important point: asking the right questions.  This is such a lost art - either that, or very few brands have figured out how to do it in the first place.