How to Identify Your Customers’ Struggles and Address Them

One of the main roles of a support team is to field customer questions and concerns. And while many of your customers will bring their issues to your attention through your support channels, some of them won’t. Instead, they’ll become frustrated when trying to deal with a problem on their own or simply switch to one of your competitors — neither of which is good for your business.

So instead of fully relying on your customers to alert you to their struggles, it’s in your best interest to take a proactive approach to identify and address them.

Why You Should Actively Look for Customer Issues

If you don’t yet have a strategy for identifying your customers’ problems, it might sound a bit counterintuitive. After all, your customer service team likely already has plenty to do, and each issue you uncover means more work for them. Plus, customers who are really struggling will let you know. Right?

Not necessarily.

In fact, one study found that only 1 in 26 unhappy customers will take the time to complain. The remaining 25 will “churn” and stopping buying from your company.

So if you’re not yet taking a proactive approach to finding problems, you’re missing the opportunity to address your customers’ needs before they leave your company altogether. On the upside, this means that taking steps towards identifying customer struggles could make a major impact on your retention rates. It could be exactly what you need to achieve the kind of growth you want.

4 Ways to Identify Your Customers’ Problems and Concerns

Deciding that you want to be more proactive about addressing your customers’ problems is easy. Knowing where to begin is a little more challenging. But with the following four steps, you can work toward creating a strategy that works for your business and enables you to address each of your customers’ needs more effectively.

1. Send Surveys Regularly

The most straightforward method for identifying your customers’ struggles is simply asking. And the easiest way to do that is with customer surveys. Of course, this strategy isn’t exactly groundbreaking.

Surveys were one of the earliest methods of collecting customer feedback, even before online platforms simplified the process and eliminated the need for pen-and-paper responses. And despite the many advances that make it easy for businesses to collect data, surveys are still one of the most popular options.

In fact, if you currently have any method in place for learning about your customers, this is likely it. But there are a few reasons why customer surveys are the go-to approach for many businesses. They’re easy to create, they work well with automation, and they can provide a ton of valuable insight.

So if you’re not yet sending surveys on a regular basis, this is a great starting point for evaluating how well you’re meeting your customers’ needs.

Plus, your surveys don’t need to be complex to be helpful. Even a basic CSAT survey can be a solid starting point for gauging overall satisfaction with your brand. Then, once you’ve established a basic setup for your surveys, you can start sending more advanced versions.

And though the questions you ask depend on your industry, business model, and brand, it’s a good idea to include at least a few that allow for open-ended responses. This way, your customers can voice concerns that you may not yet be aware of. And if you notice any recurring trends or patterns in their answers, this is a clear indicator of where your business has room for improvement.

2. Save and Organize Feedback

Regardless of the exact methods you use to collect customer feedback, it’s essential to have a straightforward method in place for saving and organizing it. After all, collecting survey data and other feedback is only helpful if you put it to use. Having it all in one logical, organized place will make the entire process much easier.

So if you haven’t yet done so, set up a system for collecting feedback.

Depending on the platform you use to create surveys, you may not have to take any additional steps to do this. With Freshdesk’s CSAT surveys, for example, users automatically have access to a response dashboardBut regardless of how the platform you use displays results, it’s essential to organize your data in a way that makes sense to you and your team.

It’s also worth noting that most survey platforms today offer users the ability to download results as CSV or XLS files. So if you prefer to save your data in spreadsheet form, this is an easy option.

Then, once you’ve created an organizational method that works for your team, you can analyze your results with a focus on identifying common themes. And, while it’s possible to draw helpful conclusions from any type of question, you’ll want to pay special attention to the information your customers provided in open-ended forms.

In most cases, this is where you’ll uncover specific problems, complaints, and suggestions. And if you notice any pieces of feedback that appear in multiple surveys, focus on addressing those points first.

After all, for every customer that takes the time to complete your survey and tell you about a problem, there’s likely another dozen dealing with the same issue. Coming up with a solution could have a major impact on your overall customer satisfaction.

3. Aim to Understand Confusion

Some of your customers (and prospective customers) will reach out for clarification when they’re confused about some aspect of your products or services. And in many cases, all it takes to eliminate their confusion is a sentence-long explanation.

But for each of these customers who reach out with a question, it’s safe to assume that there is at least a handful of others having trouble understanding the same thing. For example, let’s say that a customer is frustrated because they misunderstood your pricing information and are now facing a bill that’s higher than they expected.

The easy solution here would be to apologize for the misunderstanding, explain their bill, and offer to adjust it. And while that might be enough for this particular customer, it’s important to consider that others may have run into the same issue.

So instead of looking at their situation as a unique misunderstanding, take the time to understand what caused their confusion. Then, look for ways to adjust your pricing information to make it more straightforward. After all, if other customers run into the same problem, they might simply get frustrated and stop working with your company altogether.

And if a simple conversation and a few tweaks to your site copy can prevent this from happening even once, it’s entirely worth your time.

4. Let Customers Provide Feedback on Your Site

The easier you make it for customers to provide feedback, the more likely they’ll be to give you the kind of helpful insight you’re looking for. And while surveys are a great start, there are now plenty of ways to make it even more convenient for your customers to voice their opinions.

For example, many sites now use feedback widgets that enable visitors to share problems, concerns, and issues as they browse. With this approach, visitors don’t even need to navigate to a contact page or write an email to have their opinions heard.

And when your process of collecting feedback is this convenient for your customers, you’ll be even more effective at finding their struggles and addressing them before they negatively impact your business.

Conclusion

Your customers won’t always let you know when they have an issue with a product or service. And although it may mean extra work in the short term, it’s in your best interest to identify those issues so that you can address them appropriately. This will benefit you in the long run.

Fortunately, this doesn’t need to be difficult. Send surveys on a regular basis, spend time analyzing the responses, and aim to understand the reasons for any confusion or issues. When you proactively find and solve these problems, you eliminate the chances that they’ll become problems for even more customers in the future — meaning that it will ultimately save your business time and money.