How Can I Help?
Giving value to your customers by offering solutions

Where do we go when we encounter a problem? The Wizard of course—that is, if you live in the land of Oz. For the rest of us there is the great and powerful Google. We want answers and we want them now! As a business owner, if you’ve got the answers, consumers will give you their time—and time is money.

However, before you can provide answers, you have to know the questions. You must also be able to clearly describe those questions—from the customer’s point of view. This is important because when people are describing a problem or frustration, they are most likely typing the same words into search bars. How do we find out what customers are searching for? It’s easy, just look and listen.
  • Look by investigating your industry. Check out your competitor’s websites and social media sites, read industry or product related forums and find out what people are talking about. What do they like or dislike about the product, the service, the company?
  • Listen by following-up with your own customers. Be alert to feedback, ask questions and take notes. Do they have any frustrations or complaints? What kind of information would be helpful? Through good old fashioned communication you are bound to discover countless opportunities to help your customers.

Great content solves problems.What problems can you solve? What questions can you answer with your content? Here are a few ideas to get started:
1. List all the problems your target audience faces.2. Are there alternative solutions to common problems? Can they be explored in a different ways? Be creative. As we all know, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
  • Come up with a new solution or a new approach.
  • There is usually more than one way to get the job done or to solve a problem. Present different scenarios and options.
  • Expand on topics that have already been answered. For instance, Google a common question that relates to your service or product. Look at the answers that come up in the search results and notice any weaknesses or gaps in the information. Then provide your own thorough, complete answer.

Get specific
It’s okay to provide a general overview or answer but don’t stop there. Narrow the topic down. If you are a building contractor, don’t just talk about windows—talk about the problems with energy-efficient windows, vinyl-clad windows, window installation, double-hung windows, privacy windows, etc.
  • Target specific groups: millennials, seniors, new parents, outdoor enthusiasts, dog owners.
  • Talk about specific products: Your dog doesn’t like rawhide bones? Try this.

Who, What, When, Where, Why & How - Getting down to the basics of problem solving

Exploring the five W’s (plus an H) is another great strategy to generate ideas for problem solving content. This approach can provide you with a never-ending list of topics. All of these questions can be answered by addressing the question directly but there are several other ways to answer them as well. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how this works.

Who—Who is your product for?
  • The perfect first car for your teenager.
  • Is there a doggie door for Great Danes?
  • Is a bunk-bed safe for a three-year old?
  • Can my 90 year old grandmother operate the remote?
Answer these types of questions by addressing the needs of a specific type of customer as Contract Hiring and Leasing did
with the article Why millennials will continue to fall in love with  leasing.

What—What problem does your product or service solve?
  • What is the best type of crock-pot?
  • What type of filter do I need for my air conditioner?
  • What can go wrong with a water softener?
Answer these types of questions by addressing common problems. Here is a great example from MH Oil & Propane—What to do when the pilot light goes out.

When—When should I…?
  • When should I change the brakes in my car?
  • When is the best time to fertilize my trees?
Answer these types of questions with time saving tips & maintenance schedules. See how Ghost Bed answered the common question, When should I replace my mattress?

Where—Where are things located?
  • Where is the drain hose on a refrigerator?
  • Where is the spare tire?
  • Where can I get fresh tomatoes?
Answer these types of questions with product orientations, user-guides and location specific solutions such as Ruth Chris’ article that solves the problem of Where to get the perfect steak dinner in Huntsville, AL.

Why—Why aren’t things working?
  • Why won’t my car start?
  • Why won’t my printer print?
Answer these types of questions with troubleshooting guides. Solar Electric Power Company answered the question “Why won’t my solar lights work?” in their article Solar outdoor lighting troubleshooting.

How—How do I…?
  • How do I light a propane furnace?
  • How do I clean my new leather sofa?
Answer these types of questions with How-to guides and instructional content. Read the following article by REI about How to change a bike tire.

Find as many ways to listen as possible. Phone conversations, messages, surveys, etc. Keep a close eye on social media platforms for feedback and complaints.

Remember, you are an expert at what you do. You are unique and there is no other business exactly like yours. Share your knowledge, give advice and offer consumers your valuable perspective and insight.

If your customer says, “Thanks so much, that was a huge help!”, you have done your job.

I Want More Information.