What’s Your Real Problem? Why Understanding Your Customers Is Crucial For Business Growth

What’s Your Real Problem? Why Understanding Your Customers Is Crucial For Business Growth
SHARE
THIS



Evette Cordy is an innovation expert, registered psychologist, chief investigator and co-founder at Agents of Spring. Cordy is also author of the book Cultivating Curiosity: How to unearth your most valuable problem to inspire growth.

In her first guest post for B&T, Cordy says too many brands try and preempt customer problems and, hence, why the outcomes are so often the wrong ones…

In one of my favourite episodes of the TV series Kitchen Nightmares, famous Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay heads to Scottsdale Arizona, USA, to Amy’s Baking Company, run by husband and wife team Sammy and Amy.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 2.40.25 pm

On the surface, the kitchen looks good. The cakes on display are beautifully presented and Ramsay is greeted by friendly restaurateurs. He declares the kitchen as ‘clean as a doctor’s surgery’, tastes the dessert and remarks, ‘If all your food is as good as this, there is something not quite right here.’

When queried about why her company needs help, Amy tells Ramsay, ‘There are lots of online bullies and haters that come here and attack us … They say things that aren’t true.’

If you took all of this information so far on face value, you would assume the restaurant had an issue with its customers. The problem you might therefore try to solve is: How do we transform our customers’ opinions of us? Yet, Ramsay’s actual experience, when he sits down to eat a meal, uncovers something else entirely.

There are multiple problems that emerge: the culture, customer service, food quality, food service design and timely delivery of dishes. These have nothing to do with customer behaviour – in fact, you really couldn’t blame them for their bad reviews given none of their needs were being met. This is a classic example of how in business we launch into solving problem X, without first slowing down, and observing if the problem is really Y.

Look before you leap

In a 2017 Harvard Business Review article ‘Are You Solving The Right Problems?’ a survey of 106 C-suite executives across 17 countries, uncovered that 85 per cent strongly agreed or agreed that their organisations were bad at problem diagnosis. Plus 87 per cent strongly agreed or agreed that this flaw carried significant costs.

Author Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg remarked, “The pattern is clear: spurred by a penchant for action, managers tend to switch quickly into solution mode without checking whether they really understand the problem.”

The challenge of every business is the incredible pressure placed on short-term results, with constant deadlines looming. We are always chasing outcomes, which creates a culture of doing. So, when a business problem arises we quickly jump to solution finding and implementation.

When things aren’t going well in our business, our instinct is to ‘fix’ whatever we perceive to be the problem, as quickly as possible. We jump ahead and try to solve what might not be a problem in the first place. This results in fast, cheap solutions that do not last long and do not have much impact for your customers.

If we don’t take the time, like Ramsay, to dig deep, to observe and figure out what is really going on, then we throw time, money and resources into something that will fail to have any impact on our business at all – except wasted time, money and resources.

Get curious

In today’s business world, you need to be able to walk in the shoes of your customer. To find clues and collect artefacts that build a whole picture of your customers’ experiences.

That means sitting with them in their lounge room, shopping where they shop, drinking where they drink or eating where they eat.  You must spend time discovering their hopes, fears and values, and viewing the world through their eyes. Noticing what delights them and observing their irritations, frustrations and pain points.

You need to curiously observe what people say, and what they do, and seek to understand deeply what matters to them. This is the best starting point to finding the right problems to solve.  Curiosity is the tool we use to find our most valuable problems; to turn our insights into opportunities. You need to become curious about identifying what problems you need to solve. You need to be curious about the opportunities that become possible when you are open to change.

Having this deep understanding of your customer problems is essential to inspiring growth.  When you understand your real customer problems (not the perceived ones) then you start to solve their deepest problems and you start to stimulate breakthrough innovation, to implement initiatives that will truly benefit (not drain) your bottom line.

Latest News

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations
  • Media

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations

The Daylight Agency’s significant growth has continued with the appointment of Shelley Hammond as Director of Agency Operations. Shelley is a leader in the global communications industry and brings vast experience following senior roles in major corporates as well as the agency environment. Shelley will be responsible for the commercial running of Daylight including client retention and […]

Host/Havas Takes Out Cannes Grand Prix With Palau Pledge
  • Advertising

Host/Havas Takes Out Cannes Grand Prix With Palau Pledge

Host/Havas has secured Australia’s first grand prix award at Cannes overnight, taking out the top gong for the direct lions with its work Palau Pledge. The work, which sees all visitors to the tiny island nation have their passport stamped with a pledge to be a good environmental citizen, which they must sign before entering […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Instagram Launches Long-Form Video
  • Technology

Instagram Launches Long-Form Video

Instagram unveils new eye-catching feature. Slicing onions while reading this will also make it eye-watering.

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes
  • Media

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes

Curated this year by Ridley Scott, famed director of Alien, The Martian and other classics, The New Directors Showcase at Cannes is now in its 28th year. Acting as a platform for talented new directors to have their work premiered to a global audience, Scott took to the stage in front of a full house […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data

ANZ and media agency PHD have partnered with JCDecaux to launch a unique campaign that harnesses the power of data across three cities incorporating actual tram, train and bus timetable information to align with the new ANZ App.

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video
  • Technology

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video

Ooyala survey finds media companies created and processed nearly three times as much video content in Q1 as Media Companies Created & Processed Nearly Three Times As Much Video Content in Q1 2018 vs. Q1 2017.

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers
  • Campaigns

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers

Intrepid Travel has gone back in time and is placing classified adverts for a new ‘mystery expedition’ to places that yet mapped by Google.  The adverts to be placed in Courier Mail, Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph are calling for intrepid people to join a journey with “long travel days, intermittent electricity, no Wi-Fi, cold […]

Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan

No Women in Media series would be complete without the irrepressible Aimee Buchanan. Read all her pressibles here.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Set for blue sky, different clouds icons, cloud shapes, labels, symbols, icons. Flat graphic vector elements
  • Technology

PubMatic Unveils Cloud for Publishers And Tech Companies

PubMatic has launched PubMatic Cloud for publishers and tech companies looking to implement and control their own programmatic technology. By accessing PubMatic’s technology, global infrastructure and demand connections on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) basis, clients are able to achieve full transparency and achieve greater control over their programmatic monetization. As programmatic trading becomes mainstream, innovations such as […]

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall

The Women in Media Awards are back for 2018! To celebrate this wonderful fact, and to recognise some of the killer women in our industry, we’ve created a women in media series – and have profiled some pretty inspiring women so far. This week, we chat with Bauer Media head of trade marketing Claudine Hall. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]