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How to be a Problem Solver Rather Than a Problem Identifier
06-15-2012 / By:
Itís the first rainstorm of the year. About an hour into it, you feel a drop of water hit your head. You look up and sure enough, you have a leaky roof. You run into the kitchen and grab a mop bucket to put under the leak.
Youíve temporarily prevented the leak from ruining the carpet or furniture, youíve identified the bigger problem, but now the excuses start to come in. How big of a problem is this really? How often does it rain where you live? That temporary solution and minor inconvenience seem like a pittance when compared to the financial outlay required to fix the roof. But as time goes on, the roof gets worse and worse until it caves in. Thatís a whole lot of mop buckets.
Mop Buckets Have no Place in Your Business
A lot of businesses, large and small, often times find themselves in a similar position Ė trying to justify a temporary fix as a long term solution. Quite frankly, solving business problems often times involve a large investment of resources that sometimes arenít available in the short term. But in the long term, the cost of not making that initial investment will exceed whatever the fix would have cost.
Identifying the main problem typically isnít all that difficult. You have too much inventory sitting in your warehouse. Costs to produce items leaves you with razor thin margins. Project management has become too much for one employee to handle, but you donít have the funds to hire support staff. Customer relations are suffering.
These are common problems that businesses face today. But identifying the root causes of these problems isnít always that simple. Often times this requires a comprehensive business process analysis before you can truly begin to start working on the bigger problem.
Get Back in Black
There is a line in the classic AC/DC anthem that goes: ďIím let loose, from the noose that kept me hanging around.Ē In business, getting back into the black financially can be a matter of segmenting your financial reports and identifying product lines or processes that are either costing you money or are redundant. Addition by subtraction can be a way to quickly increase profits and productivity, freeing up your employees to focus on higher revenue generating tasks.
This is sometimes easier said than done, and a robust ERP software package or business consulting company can often times be a one-time investment that pays for itself multiple times over in the long run.
Solving Customer Complaints
For the most part your customers are happy, but from time to time you do receive complaints. Donít treat these as anomalies. They could be that first loose thread that unravels the entire sweater, or they could help you identify other problems within your company.
Listen to each complaint and try to see if there are any common themes. Perhaps people are generally happy with your service, but complain that service requests take a little long to be handled. This could mean that you simply need to upgrade your CRM software to one that is more efficient at handling a large volume of service requests.
Perhaps you have a national company and you notice that all complaints are coming from a specific region. That could mean that there is an issue with your shipping and distribution in that area.
Even one or two customer complaint can be an early warning sign of a bigger issue. Listen to your customers as they are often times your greatest source of unbiased information.
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