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What is your thought process when solving a problem?

When solving a problem, what do you think of when you want to solve it?

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Evan’s Answer

Hi Joshua,

I've worked customer service at at medical and SaaS industries and there are a few things I take into account:

- Who is impacted by the problem
- What is the urgency of the problem
- What is the problem/what is the potential root cause
- Who would be able to resolve the problem if I'm unable to

I usually start by figuring out who's impacted by the problem and how urgent the issue is. One SaaS example would be if a customer has all of their systems down then that would be considered highly urgent; and if it was an engineering issue even though I may not be able to fix it myself if I can pass along a good summary of the issue the customer is having it should help to expedite a resolution by the engineers. Another thing that has helped me is to see if I can replicate what a customer is experiencing, for example if a customer writes in and their webpage doesn't work, and I check my website which has the same issue, that helps to confirm it's not an isolated/one-off incident.

An old manager of mine gave me good advice that sticks with me to this day: when investigating a problem spend at least 20 minutes researching it yourself. if you aren't able to figure out the cause/solution in those 20 minutes then don't hesitate to ask for help. This has helped me find a good balance between investigating things on my own, and not spending too much time when outside help is needed.

I hope this helps!
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Kim’s Answer

Hi Joshua!

In the law enforcement realm, a lot depends on law and departmental policy. I worked at the Airport PD, which was very customer service oriented. We strived to resolve situations at the lowest possible level, without taking legal action against someone. But, if the situation warranted arrest, we of course made the arrest. Sometimes, the law or departmental policy didn't allow us to exercise discretion, so we did what we had to do. I once had to arrest a man who was trying to fly out to his mom's funeral. Not easy.

So, assuming you have flexibility, what do you think about? Well, if the person is violating a law, you want them to not do it again. You want them to appreciate the fact that you are giving them a break. If safety is an issue, you want to make sure that they will get home safely. I once arrested a passenger in a car that had been in an accident, but, not the driver. She was clearly intoxicated. He was not. She said some ugly things. When she sobered up, she was thankful I had arrested her, as she didn't even know that guy! And yes, you want to be compassionate, when you can. People who are struggling to pay the bills really don't need a huge traffic ticket! You should be able to see their driving history, which will sort of guide you in deciding if they are someone who has no respect for traffic law or just an occasional violator. . .

When to not make an arrest? A driver of a car had outstanding traffic warrants. His passenger had extremely high blood pressure, and the stress of having the driver arrested would likely send the passenger into a medical crisis (per the EMS). No arrest.

You will learn to keep your supervisor informed. However, you don't want to ask "what do I do" all the time. So, you sort of "Tell" the supervisor what the situation is and what you intend to do, and why. If he or she doesn't approve, they'll let you know.

In solving regular life problems, I make a list of pro's and con's. I google. I youTube. I take a break and walk the dog, forgetting all about it, and sometimes the answer comes to me. Sometimes I solve problems in my dreams. The brain continues to work on it, even if you aren't actively thinking about it!
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James’s Answer

A simple way that I approach all problems is listening before I react in any way. I want to hear all the information and get input from multiple sources before I decide what to do. Once I have done this, I make sure I think of solutions instead of complaining about the problem.
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