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Recognising your customer’s needs

Customer service solutions

In customer service, it is tempting to categorise customers based on their immediate concerns—be it making a complaint, resubscribing, or processing a payment. This method can streamline operations but risks reducing the interaction to a mere transaction, overshadowing the distinct and personal needs of each customer. Such an approach can lead to a mechanical and impersonal experience devoid of genuine connection.


Daniel Pink, in his acclaimed book ‘To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others’, advocates for a shift from being mere problem-solvers to becoming problem-finders. This concept underscores the importance of delving deeper into the customer’s situation, moving beyond surface-level issues to uncover underlying complexities. Pink argues that problem-finding involves using one’s expertise to identify hidden aspects of a customer’s problem, which can lead to more effective and tailored solutions.

Problem-finders do more than address immediate concerns; they explore how the issue affects the customer personally, considering factual and emotional dimensions. This deeper understanding is crucial for identifying needs that the customers may not have articulated.

Ask the right questions

Engaging with customers through thoughtful and probing questions is not just beneficial, it’s essential. This practice helps reveal the customer’s perspective, motivations, and specific requirements. Asking the right questions can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, as it demonstrates genuine interest and empathy.

With this enriched insight, service providers can craft solutions that are effective and resonate with the customer’s needs and circumstances. This approach fosters a more meaningful and human-centric customer experience, ultimately leading to greater satisfaction and long-term loyalty.


While categorising customers based on their issues can be helpful, it is crucial to go beyond this initial step. By embracing the role of a problem-finder, service providers can uncover their customers’ actual needs, offering comprehensive and personalised solutions. This shift from a transactional to a relational approach can transform the customer experience, making it more engaging and fulfilling for both parties.

give us a call

This learning tip comes from our ‘GREAT customer service’ programme. Check it out here. If you’d like to explore this topic or any other aspect of customer service training then please do give us a call on 01582 463464. We’re always here to help.


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