A skill that is valued across all professions and industries is the ability to identify the root cause of a difficult business problem and then solve it. But not everyone is born with the talent for problem-solving. In fact, becoming an expert problem solver could be really challenging. However, just like any other skill, problem solving can be mastered if you have an open, curious mindset and follow a series of steps.
Although there are numerous problem-solving techniques, the majority of them can be reduced to a few general steps. Here are our five steps for resolving a business problem:
1. Define the problem
“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Albert Einstein
The reason why many problems go unresolved, is that there hasn’t been a focused attempt to truly understand and identify the problem at hand.
Ask yourself what the problem is. When working with a team, never assume that everyone involved in the problem-solving discussion will define the problem in the same way. Make sure that everyone agrees on what the problem is so that there isn’t any type of miscommunication. Setting a clear focus is a good way to ensure results!
2. Identify the root cause of the issue
We all want to solve the issue, but we must first identify its root cause. For that reason, we must ask ourselves, what do we know about the problem? By doing so we start gathering data regarding the issue. Answering what, where, when, and how much questions will help you define simple problems. More complex problems require in-depth research.
3. Define the solution
Once you understand the problem and the root cause behind it, list your thoughts so you can recap and approach the problem with a set of fresh eyes. Then, brainstorm possible solutions. Remember, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers at this point. The secret to solving problems is to concentrate on basic, original ideas, and the ability to approach the situation from a different angle.
Do you know what the seven most expensive words in business are? “This is how we’ve always done it”. What got you in this situation is unlikely to get you out, therefore when looking for solutions to problems, avoid focusing on the problem’s cause or how your company has typically handled it.
4. Decide to take action
Waiting until the issue becomes out of hand could have a significant impact on your company, particularly if a client is involved. Additionally, the longer the issue persists without a solution, the more stressful it may be for all parties involved. Create a thorough action plan, get the necessary approvals, and put the solution into action.
5. Track the success
The only way to tell if you have successfully solved a problem is to keep track of the results. What is the desired outcome, and what influence should the solution have on your business?
What are the primary measures for determining whether you are on track or veering off? It is also critical to monitor other business metrics to ensure that the solution does not cause additional issues.
How can conversational analytics assist you in solving business problem?
Making business decisions can be challenging. When you have business questions and the ability to obtain data to support your decisions, it becomes lot easier.
Customer interactions provide information about how to improve products and services, how to best target marketing, and how the company should approach its current customer base.
Conversational analytics can help you put a number on an issue so you can determine what is a problem worth solving and what isn’t. Conversation analytics makes it significantly easier to meet your company’s goals than it is to collect and act on manual data.
Read one of our earlier blog posts for more information on how to use data analysis in business decision making.