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At its core, business is pretty simple: find a group of customers who have problems that drive them crazy, then, solve their problems.

Unfortunately, many companies do the opposite: they create problems for their customers:

  • Need technical support? Just wait on hold for 15- 27 minutes.
  • Want to lower your prices? Just check our website every day for flash sales.
  • Not happy with our product selection? Just take our survey and wait a few years to see if anything changes.

Most companies are far more obsessed with “make and sell” than with solving actual customer problems. That is, they make a product and try to sell it as hard as they can. In some cases, they end up pushing products that customers neither want nor need.

But a few highly successful firms do the opposite. They employ “less” as a highly profitable strategy. This means they make it possible for customers to solve their problems with…

Less time

One of the reasons for Apple’s success has been the ease with which a consumer could buy and set up a laptop, iPad or phone. While some competitors required users to hunt through a complicated manual and setup process, most Apple devices are literally plug and play. Turn it on, and it works.

Amazon used this strategy to great effect, turning 1-Click ordering into a retail business that dwarfs all competitors. By remembering your payment and shipping preferences, Amazon migrated from an online bookstore to a retail monster that sells almost everything.

Less money

You don’t have to have the lowest price to save customers money. You can help them understand how to make smarter product decisions that will save money, and also avoid waste.

For example, you can provide better training and product recommendations. You can show one group of customers how other customers have best leveraged your offerings.

Less effort

Instead of making customers wait on hold, a growing number of companies now allow customers to leave a callback number. When a customer rep gets free, they call the customer. This completely eliminates hold time.

Less time. Less money. Less effort. These are three ways to transform your customers into fiercely loyal advocates for your business. Why do these strategies work so well? They train customers to depend on you; the more problems you solve, the more loyalty you foster.