How to Identify and Overcome Customer Pain Points
Every product or service has been designed with the intention of fulfilling a particular need. Yet, why is it that only a few are an instant hit among the masses and the rest pass by unnoticed? Whether you are a small business or a large enterprise, you can excel only when you identify and address your customer’s pain points.
But what does that mean? How do you find out about your customer pain points? Once you determine them, how do you improve your customer experience? Let’s answer these questions.
What are customer pain points?
Customer pain points refer to the problems experienced by customers across the touchpoints on their customer journey.
Customer pain points that can directly impact the business are also referred to as business pain points. To kick start the process of identifying your customer pain points that may directly affect your business, we have categorized pain points based on the business domain they align to.
What are the types of customer pain points?
Financial Pain Points:
Financial pain points are the most critical of all pain points. Financial pain points occur when customers feel that they are paying too much for a product/ service.
Your customers love choices and they are always on the lookout for cost-effective solutions that offer them more services for the money invested. Businesses need to strategize for budget-friendly options and customer-friendly subscription plans, in a way that caters to customer expectations and is aligned to business priorities.
Customer support teams and account managers should understand customer expectations, competitor benchmarks, and budget to offer an optimally priced solution that caters to the needs of the customer.
Process Pain Points:
Process pain points may refer to road bumps along the customer journey. Not only does it affect your customers but it also impacts your support team. Businesses need to identify these bottlenecks to make the customer experience seamless across touchpoints and boost operational efficiency for their customer support agents.
For instance, is it difficult for customers to contact support, or receive timely updates? Do they find themselves repeating the same information to different people or across different channels? All of these process pain points will end up frustrating your customers and pushing them to a competitor.
Remember, outdated support software or poor internal collaboration may affect customer service quality in the long run. It may result in longer wait times for customers which can result in frustrated customers and helpless support agents. A single bad customer experience may lead customers to leave and eventually add to the cost of acquiring new customers, resulting in financial pain points.
Support Pain Points:
Support pain points are often internal issues that may restrict the businesses from resolving customer pain points quickly or effectively.
Customer Support plays a pivotal role in making the customer journey seamless. For any issues that your customers face, customer support agents need to ensure customer expectations are met and each interaction with the team or a chatbot results in customer delight. The easy way to help your support teams monitor their performance and identify support pain points is to leverage an omnichannel help desk software. The integrated unified dashboard can help highlight areas of improvement for the support team and stay connected with customers to assist them along their journey.
Productivity Pain Points:
Has your support agent struggled with rerouting queries to the right team? Did they ever have trouble figuring out customer problems? Did your team miss the SLA in providing a solution? If yes, then you might be encountering productivity pain points.
Your customers expect a resolution from your support team as soon as they raise a query. They expect the experience to be seamless for the services they’re paying for. However, productivity pain points may decrease agent productivity and diminish the efforts behind the customer service offered. As a result of these internal inefficiencies, customers may end their relationship with your brand right away or may have a higher tendency to switch to a competitor brand.
While process and productivity pain points seem similar, an easy way to understand the difference is to evaluate whether the problems affecting performance are because your team has too much on their plate, or if they are finding it hard to take the next step due to inefficiencies in collaboration or communication. The former is a clear productivity issue that can be mitigated by self-service, canned responses, or AI, while the latter is process-related and requires strategic and systemic change.
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How to identify customer pain points?
Providing a wholesome customer experience helps brands to stay at the top of the game irrespective of the size of the business. From concerns around over-priced services, low-quality products to queries raised for broken links or poor customer experience, brands need to be able to successfully alleviate every pain point. If you want your product or service to be the next trend and want to improve customer stickiness, here are 4 ways to recognize those pain points before it’s too late.
1. Ask the Right Questions
Your top priority is to solve the major pain points cited by customers when given a chance to share their feedback in detail. If you’re already sending out surveys to your customers and waiting for those coveted insights, most often you’d think- Why don’t my customers respond to my surveys? Is there a way to design surveys better? We’re here to provide you with a simple yet effective solution.
Your customers don’t answer your survey questions because of how you ask them about their problems. Your surveys need to be designed to include open-ended questions so that customers can elaborate on their expectations and needs. Only if you ask the right questions will you get the answers and insights you’re looking for. Take a look at this question.
The options make no sense and don’t give any quantitative insights. Now, here’s the same question with different options.
The options provide valuable data that you can act upon.
You can choose to keep your surveys as simple as possible for customers who hate filling up forms, you can save the detailed open-ended questions for customers who volunteer to help with detailed answers or information. Here are some questions you could ask them.
- What problem were you trying to solve when you initially came across our product or service?
- What are the top three benefits that you have received from (product or service name)?
- How could we improve (product or company name) to better meet your needs?
- What other roles or titles besides yours do you think would get a big benefit from (product or service name)?
- What would you likely use as an alternative to (product or company name) if it were no longer available?
- What’s holding you back from using (product or company name)?
2. Get your Sales Team Talking
When it comes to garnering customer pain points, you should focus not only on existing customers but also on the lost prospects. Expanding your customer base is imperative and behind every lost deal is an important pain point that your product failed to solve. This could be a pricing-related issue or a missing feature. You may resort to digital marketing tools for customer data but it’s time to get your sales team talking. Find out about prospective customer pain points and leverage these insights to get them onboarded as your customer.
The first step is to get your sales reps to write down their observations after every sales pitch that didn’t end up in a deal. These insights coupled with the customer surveys help you decide on the direction your product needs to be moving in. The analysis should include answers to questions like:
- What were the pain points shared by the prospect?
- What did the prospect like/dislike about the product/service?
- Why did the prospect turn down the product?
- What would have kept the prospect from turning down the product?
- Did the prospect compare our product with a competitor offering? If yes, which aspect did they compare?
3. Check Out Online Reviews
Reviews are a great way to fish for customer pain points. Monitor what your customers write about your product on social media. Take it up a notch by browsing through reviews on leading review sites. Peer-to-peer review sites are a rich repository of customer grievances and they provide a great platform for brands to understand and address customer woes. With many users taking to online platforms to write reviews, you can even find and leverage the pros and cons list of your brand and your competitors from the customer’s perspective. Qualitative research goes a long way. Once you accumulate reviews from different sources, head over to community forums. Forums are a great place to find some of these suggestions that could work in favor of your company.
Pro tip: It is important to ensure the authenticity of reviews. With fake reviews on the rise, a lack of verification leads to false data. Make sure to check the reviewer’s profile, rating pattern, and review date. Here’s a review I found that outlines the pros and cons in detail about software.
4. Closely Watch Your Competitors
Despite your best efforts, there could be certain buyer personas that are out of your reach. However, that doesn’t mean you can never gain their attention. It’s just that your brand messaging doesn’t resonate with the customers’ needs. Here’s where a close watch of your competitor brands can prove helpful. Every business uses a different approach to solve customer problems. Analyzing these pain points helps you make an informed decision when it’s time to revisit and revise your customer experience strategy.
Here are the 4 steps you can deploy as a part of this exercise.
- Evaluate your competitor’s website particularly the pricing, FAQs, and feature landing pages.
- Find out the customer pain points they have provided a solution for. You might have missed out on the same. Make a note and see how you can incorporate them into your website or as part of your brand messaging.
- Run a Google search of their ads and take a closer look at their marketing copy. After all, it’s the ads that target customer pain points the best. Does your ad copy need an edit?
- Enlist the integrations for your competitor’s brand. How are they making their customer experience seamless? Enable integration with software and tools that facilitate the buyer journey for your customers.
How to address pain points and improve customer experience?
Once you identify your customer pain points and categorize them further, you need to resolve these issues at the earliest to keep delivering an excellent customer experience.
Deploy a Feedback Management System:
Customer feedback is integral to your success. Establish a feedback management system that helps you monitor and analyze customer concerns. This empowers you to stay connected with your existing customers and constantly upgrade your product/services to meet the needs of prospective customers.
Optimize customer journeys:
Once you understand if the current solutions being offered address issues raised by your customers, you can start the process of overcoming road bumps and offering personalized customer journeys. Another way to check if the journey mapped works for your customers or not is to walk through the process yourself to experience every unexpected halt. You may even want to bring in expertise from across teams to address issues from all angles.
Document common customer pain points:
It’s important for every business to document the common customer pain points. You can leverage your knowledge base, self-service portals, or FAQ pages to address concerns raised frequently by your customers. This improves customer satisfaction and helps your teams to prioritize major pain points that need their attention. A knowledge base software helps you document tutorials, DIY guides, and answers to frequently asked questions in one place.
Automate internal processes:
Internal processes need to be optimized to reduce costs and to improve overall productivity. You may leverage your help desk software to ensure specific problems are routed to the relevant teams, to reduce waiting time for customers. You can even use the in-built automation capabilities to auto-trigger workflows for time-based escalations, to deliver as per your SLA.
Revisit your marketing strategy:
Go omnichannel. 9 out of 10 consumers prefer seamless integrations between communication channels. Having customer service software that offers a unified dashboard with a 360-degree view of customer data helps your teams to collaborate better and deliver personalized experiences across various touchpoints.
Identifying customer pain points has never been an easy task. While making assumptions is an easier way out, you need to have enough data to learn what your customers want even before they realize it. Most businesses worry about losing their customers due to their inability to understand what customers need and how their support teams can help. The aforementioned methods would help you delve deeper into what your customers are really looking for.
Note: When you position your product or service based on customer pain points, they will find more reasons to do business with you.
Originally published on Dec 18, 2018. Updated on Nov 22, 2021.