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But…what’s the problem?

August 20, 2010

It often amazes me how we can sometimes completely overlook the problem and focus solely on completing the task.

Let me explain.

Let’s say a client comes to you with a project. There’s this brochure. The task? It’s outdated and needs to be updated.

Seems fairly straightforward, right? But what if I told you that this brochure costs tons of money to print, that it’s going to take several hours to rework it and several more to redesign it, and that it’s talking about a program the company doesn’t really want to promote right now?

Still sound like a simple matter of completing the requested task?

Ask Some Questions

Rather than running with a task at face value, often we need to ask questions, delve a little deeper and understand the true objective the client is trying to achieve.

  • Do they really need the brochure updated?
  • Is there another way the information could be disseminated?
  • What objective are they trying to achieve by using the brochure?
  • Would a website or online forum work just as well?
  • Is there a way to integrate the information into another mechanism they’re already using?

In this particular instance, after talking about these exact things with the client, we realized that they didn’t really need a printed piece in brochure format. After all, the website they used had similar information on it – it was just missing one crucial element. Hmmm, what if we added that one crucial element to the website?

“Perfect!” the client responded, elated.

Yet, rather than asking these questions, the communicator was going to rework the brochure as requested simply because that was the request.

It’s time to dig deeper and stop robotically completing every request you receive. At face value the task may seem straightforward, but…what’s the problem?

How do you tackle client requests? I’d love to hear your stories. Leave me a comment below.

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