What Are Customer Pain Points?
Put simply, customer pain points are a specific problem that customers or prospective customers of your business are experiencing in the marketplace. They are essentially any problems that the customer may experience along their customer journey. Now, of course, these problems can be extremely diverse and identifying all of them may not be as easy as you initially think. Getting to the bottom of your customer pain points involves a degree of thinking outside the box and putting yourself in the shoes of your customers.
How to Identify Your Customer Pain Points
Now we understand what customer pain points are, we need to know how to identify them. This is what you need to do.
Perform Qualitative Market Research
Qualitative market research focuses on detailed responses from customers where they have the opportunity to explain their problems in full. This contrasts with quantitative market research which focuses on yes or no questions and answers or a 1-10 scoring system. Qualitative market research is favored because of a few reasons:
- Quantitative market research is too restrictive for identifying pain points. Quantitative research is great for situations that have little grey area. For example, it’s often useful for conducting surveys with the intent of gathering customer data for marketing. You may ask “How many hours do you spend on your phone each day?”. The answers could be 0-2 hours, 2-4 hours, 4-6 hours, and so on. However, with pain points, there often isn’t a simple answer.
- No two customer pain points are the same. You can group pain points into categories as we discussed in the last section, but the pain points can still vary significantly within the groups. By allowing the customer the opportunity to fully explain their pain point you can better identify which pain points are common, which aren’t, which are serious buying blocks, and so on.
- You need to ask the right questions. This one is so important and is a major reason why quantitative market research isn’t suited here. As business owners or employees, we often struggle to put ourselves in the shoes of the customer and see things from their perspective. After all, you know your business inside out and you know what you offer the customer. However, you may not be aware of how aware the customer is to that information. Additionally, you may be totally unaware of a pain point your business is able to resolve but that you’ve never even considered. If you’ve never considered this pain point, then it’s probably not included in your questions for customers. This is why qualitative research is so powerful. You have the opportunity to ask open-ended questions where the customer can go into as much detail as they like. You may also choose to offer an open forum to shed light on their experiences without being directed.
Talk to Your Customer Service and Sales Teams
Your customer service and sales teams are on the frontline of your business talking to customers every day. This makes them invaluable sources of information when it comes to customer pain points. However, it’s important that your agents understand the difference between their pain points and the customer’s pain points. If their systems aren’t working correctly, that might be something you want to address but it’s not the focus of this exercise so don’t let it get off track. Agents may get feedback from customers like “I liked your product when I bought it last but it’s far too expensive without a discount, so I went with a different company this time”. Or “I was surprised to see extra charged added on at the checkout that I wasn’t expecting so I don’t want to buy from you again”. These would be examples of financial pain points and represent an area of your business where you may be missing out on significant profits by turning customers away with your practices.
It’s also worth noting that pain points are something that needs to be continually considered and reviewed. Customer pain points shift over time as their expectations of the market shift. Also, it wouldn’t be realistic to address every pain point a customer comes up with, some customers may never buy a product over a certain price because that’s just how they live their life. You need to be aware of when a pain point is something you can solve and when it wouldn’t add any real value.
Tips on How to Resolve Customer Pain Points
Ok so you know your customer pain points, now you need to offer solutions.
Know How to Solve the Pain Point and Make Sure Your Customers Know Too
Once you’ve identified a customer pain point, then it’s time to come up with a plan on how to resolve it. The solution will vary greatly depending on what the customer’s pain point is and what your company can offer in terms of a solution.
For example, you may identify a “confusing and hard to navigate customer service channels” as a customer pain point. Plenty of consumers will abandon their purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question online. They may have searched your website and been unable to find an answer. They may have gone on your Contact Us page only to find that they have to send an email that will only get them a response within 5 working days. Or maybe they have to call customer service, but the times are too restrictive, or they simply don’t want to because it’s not their preferred method of communication.
You choose to switch to an omnichannel platform with a more flexible and well-rounded approach to customer communications. By this we mean you may offer a range of customer communication options that suit a range of preferences such as Chatbots, Live Chat, WhatsApp, Calls, Contact Field Forms, and emails. Chatbots work 24/7 so you can now help customers with any pressing questions they have in the moment.
Next, it’s crucial to make sure your customers understand that you solve this pain point. Your marketing material should include information about how available your company is for communication and the range of options you offer.
Address Common Pain Points That Require Little Effort
There are plenty of customer pain points that don’t require significant investment from your company to solve. For example, a common customer pain point is rude employees. This is easy to address. You may need to do some research into what exactly customers perceive as rude (besides the obvious) and train your employees on how to handle aggressive or rude customers without the conversation escalating. Here are some other common pain points:
- Not being listened to. Customers hate having to repeat themselves because it makes them feel as though you’re not engaged in the conversation and focused on helping them.
- Putting customers on hold. Similar to the last point, the customer doesn’t like feeling forgotten or undervalued. Putting customers on hold is a quick way to lose customers in a world where customers expect immediate answers and attention. According to some research, putting customers on hold for one minute will result in 60% of them hanging up.
Offer Clarity and Transparency
There’s nothing wrong with taking customers on the journey to a better future for your company. If you’re making changes to address pain points, then tell your customers. If you made changes in the past, then telling the story of how you identified these pain points and resolved them is a great way to let customers know that you care about their experience. It will make customers more confident in your brand since they will you that you make their customer experience a priority.