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When Solutions Don't Appear Obvious

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

How many times have you found a solution to a problem quickly and stopped considering other options? Could you have potentially missed a better solution? I pose this question to myself quite often when solving problems for my clients – I call it creative problem solving.

A Brief Case Study

Here’s one of my client stories: One of my clients is a small consulting firm in the US with international reach. They complete several international money transfers a month. Before

I began working with them, the Owner was transferring funds overseas through his small

town bank. Doing so was the obvious choice for him: a) the bank was local and b) he

transferred funds via paperwork that required him to visit the bank every time a transfer was

made. This gave him comfort.

However, bank service fees and the time he spent on this procedure began mounting so that

his comfort level was compromised.

The Analysis

Upon my hire, one of the first tasks I undertook was to review these transfers, discuss objectives and seek a better alternative. I knew of several reputable online trading companies that could handle such transfers. Given these companies’ expertise, their world-wide reach and their volume of business, they were able to offer much more competitive currency rates than smaller banks, as well as lower service fees.

My analysis showed the potential for large savings in both currency translation costs and monthly service fees if my client switched to a lesser known (to him) but very reputable alternative. Over the years, my client has transferred funds at very competitive currency translation rates and has saved well over 50% in service fees versus his original, obvious solution.

Our Takeaway

The next time you have the opportunity to problem solve for a customer, make sure you understand not only WHAT they are talking about but more importantly, WHY they are talking about it. When you understand their WHY, you get a clearer understanding of their problem and how that is driving their decision making. Armed with this knowledge, you can problem solve with less obvious and more creative solutions, thus creating a better customer experience. So, don’t forget to "think outside the box”!


  1. Don't stop considering other options

  2. Evaluate your current practices frequently

  3. Understand why customers want a problem solved

  4. Don't be afraid to "think outside the box"


CPN & Associates LLC is a Business Consulting Firm offering strategic business reviews, analytical financial reviews, operational management, and many other small business services.

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