Customer Pain Points: Identifying And Resolving Them
Day to day, it’s likely you’ll experience many pain points, which could involve anything from slow running traffic jams due to road works to long supermarket queues from too few places to pay for your groceries and more. At this point, you’ve also probably wondered why someone hasn't done more to resolve them.
Customer pain points produce a similar reaction. However, rather than finding an alternative route home, customers experiencing these problems may simply find an alternative business to get the services they need.
So, what are customer pain points? What are the most common ones to look out for? And how can you more easily identify and resolve them?
If you read on, we’ll be looking at each of these in turn, so you can be better placed to reduce any customer challenges within your own business and increase your customer satisfaction as a result.
Understanding customer pain points
Customer pain points can be anything from minor hiccups with your service to major product performance issues, which must be addressed if you’re to minimise the risk of losing customers.
By contrast, if you can improve your understanding of customer issues, you’ll gain a better appreciation of what those customers need and expect when they buy from you. Then once you’ve identified this, your sales team can ask prospective customers the right questions during discovery calls to position your service or product as the preferable option.
Type of customer pain points
When it comes to common customer pain points, these can be divided up into four main categories, Process, Financial, Support and Product.
By dividing your customer pain points in this way and learning about each category, it can make it easier to recognise areas for improvement in your business and provide a starting point for addressing problems.
Process pain points
When we talk about process pain points, we’re essentially referring to the internal procedures within an organisation that hinder the customer journey. The buying process is a frequent contributor to this type of issue and can be revealed through:
- Complicated sales transactions
- Prolonged deployment times
- Disorganised help centres
Financial pain points
Financial pain points refer to the costs of doing business with your company.
While your product or service may be exactly what the customer is looking for, they can easily be put off and swap to another brand if your price is beyond their budget. Financial problems can take the form of:
- Hidden fees that get added at the checkout
- Expensive membership fees
- Products that frequently require replacing
Support pain points
Your support pain points refer to your customers’ interactions with your sales and customer service teams.
While support and process pain points can be similar, support pain points focus more on the shortcomings of your team’s performance, as opposed to your company practices.
Common support issues are:
- Slow response times
- Poor customer resolution rates
- Insufficient product knowledge
Product pain points
Product pain points refer to any deficiencies that may be present in your products or services, and can harm your customer’s productivity and prevent them from achieving their desired results. Product problems include:
- Inconvenient workflows
- Underwhelming features
- Inconsistent computer servers
How to identify your customer pain points
After learning about the most common types of customer pain point, you’ll be keen to get to work with discovering how much of an issue they could be within your own business.
However, you won’t be able to do this very easily without some effective ways of identifying your pain points.
Fortunately, here’s some tried and tested ways to help you with that, which starts with your customers.
Collect customer feedback
When it comes to your customers’ pain points, one of the best ways of identifying them is to reach out directly and ask them.
Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to achieve this, not only in terms of assessing your customers current levels of satisfaction, but to explore more about the issues they’re experiencing and what they would like to see more of moving forward.
However, rather than concentrating solely on multiple-choice questions, you may want to include more open-ended questions, that will allow you to delve deeper to identify what they’re really thinking or struggling with.
So, if you ran a SaaS business for example, the questions you might consider asking your customers could include:
- What was your greatest struggle during the sales process?
- Is there anything you would change about our sign-up journey, product trial or ongoing subscription?
- How can our customer service teams provide you with a better experience?
Letting customers answer in their own words will let them expand on any issues they may be experiencing and, in some cases, allow you to identify problems you didn’t even know existed.
Similarly, any metrics you can run alongside this that can also help you to better assess any challenges your customers may be experiencing in their interactions with your business, will be hugely valuable.
The customer effort score (CES) survey and metric question is one such example, as it focuses on measuring how much effort a customer needs to put in to complete a task with you. This could involve anything from how simple it was for them to get a support issue resolved to how easy it was for them to find the product or service they were looking for on your website.
To measure the effort they needed to put in, customers are asked to answer the following question. “On a scale of 1 to 5, how much effort did you have to expend to handle your issue? (based on the assumption that 1 represents very low effort and 5 very high effort)
Your CES score can then be calculated by dividing the sum of all individual customer effort scores by the number of customers providing responses. This should leave you with a score between 1 and 5 – the lower the score, the better.
Alternatively, you could also try our CES calculator for a simpler and quicker way of working this out this figure.
Talk to your sales and support teams
While your customers can identify the problems they’re experiencing, they’re not always going to be able to articulate how they should be fixed.
By contrast, your sales and customer support teams, will have the expertise to provide more actionable feedback, as they can explain what’s going on behind the scenes that may be causing some of these issues.
When you speak with your teams about any customer problems they’ve seen, apply a similar approach to your open-ended questions as you did with your customers.
With that in mind you may consider asking questions such as:
- What problems do you tend to experience most frequently?
- What do your customers complain about the most?
- What changes would you recommend prioritising?
Analyse customer data
Besides the ongoing qualitative side of your research to identify customer pain points through customer feedback, you might also like to consider assigning time to collect hard data in support of this.
For example, while your customer churn rate will tell you how many customers are churning, it may be more valuable to understand the customer churn (and contraction) reasons behind this. This will then help to fill in some of the blanks in your research and back up some of your customers’ and employees’ claims.
A good place to start is to examine your key performance indicators (KPIs) and which areas of your operations may be lacking. So, if you aren’t already doing so, consider tracking metrics such as:
- Customer churn rate and churn insights
- Average resolution time and resolution time insights
- Conversion rate and conversion insights
- Cart abandonment rate and insights
How to resolve customer pain points
Once you’ve identified your pain paints, you need to work hard to resolve them and establish ways that will ensure they’re less likely to return and that involves optimising your customer journey.
There are a number of ways to help with this including:
Making it easier to get help
While most customers don’t want too much hand holding, they do expect to be able to get help, as and when they need it.
Self-serve features such as FAQs, help guides and knowledge hubs help reinforce this and facilitate customers’ search for answers. In addition, to telephone support, Live chat can also provide a direct channel to support teams.
Implement the right software
When it comes to customer pain points many of them will be unique, so you’ll need to have the right solutions in place to help you resolve them.
Fortunately, there are many software solutions available, that are built for solving specific issues such as:
- Call centre software
- Customer feedback software
- Chatbot software
- Social media customer service
Scan for pain point trends
Revisiting your customer experience and tracking and measuring its key CX metrics is also an effective way of identifying where your business may be falling short of its required standards.
For example, if you identify multiple pain points around a certain process or from a single department, it can provide an indication of a much larger issue that requires attention. The team responsible for this might require:
- More focused training
- More recruits to help the team
- Better resources to execute their tasks
Follow up on customer complaints
It may sound obvious, but after you’ve taken steps to resolve business pain points, you need to talk to your customers. That way you’ll be able to find out if your actions resolved these issues, if they persisted, or even if they led to new issues that arose from this.
Keeping your customer’s perspective top of mind will help to reinforce a customer first culture within your organisation.
Issue feedback to the right teams
Try to keep departments up to date about how a customer perceives their service.
Even if you have particular pain points that might take a while to get fixed, there may be things that teams in those departments could do to compensate for this in the meantime.
Likewise, if you receive feedback that the situation is improving, passing that information on to those teams can help reinforce their behaviour.
Continuously work to optimise your customer journey
If you’re to keep your business competitive, it requires your constant attention.
So, don’t neglect any areas after you’ve evaluated them and made improvements. Instead, you should be continually looking for ways to deliver better customer experiences.
If you can look to develop and maintain a customer experience strategy, this should help by ensuring each team member stay aligned on company goals and shares the responsibility of seeing them through.
Solutions to some common pain points
Given their many unique needs and expectations, it can be difficult for a company to accommodate all their customers at once. However, that’s not crucial to your overall success, but the way you respond to your customers is.
Consider these common pain points and tips on how to resolve them:
Customer budget challenges
A common financial pain point for customers is getting access to a feature that will deliver exactly what they need but is too expensive for them to get. While a tiered price plan can help businesses of all sizes use your product or service, premium features are often reserved for the most expensive plans.
Subsequently, if a customer is specifically looking into your product or service for one of those features but it’s outside of their budget, they might decide not to sign up with your company.
However, if you were able to offer them a customised plan option - where they could select the features they wanted access to - one of those premium features could suddenly become attainable for them. And while that customer may pay more than with a lower plan’s monthly cost, they could still save money by only paying for those features they needed.
Unresponsive support team
Issues with staffing, particularly when there are staff shortages can create problems for both customers and employees alike.
In such a scenario, when customers don’t receive the timely answers that they need, and employees get overwhelmed by their workload, the quality of service delivered is likely to suffer.
Yet there are ways of helping to resolve these pain points.
Firstly, updating your internal processes with productivity best practices can help alleviate some of your support pain points.
Similarly, you can use chatbots to manage conversations and direct customers to solutions that don’t require the intervention of your support team.
Finally, think about creating a help desk to help organise and prioritise support tickets and a knowledge base that helps customers to find answers independently.
Another common pain point for customers is when a product is complicated or requires quite a bit of technical knowledge to understand.
Getting up and running quickly will be a priority for most customers. So, if you’re able to train and bring their employees up to speed with this swiftly, this will be a major selling point.
You can improve the user experience by creating reference materials like in-depth demos or templates, that will help get customers acquainted with your product. More complex products might even require coaching sessions during the onboarding phase.
Think about some previous occasions when you may have had to take three or four steps to complete a task, when you knew one or two steps would have been sufficient.
Too many process steps can cause a lot of headaches and hurt productivity. And when you have too many redundant processes, you can inadvertently create opportunities for your competition to swoop in and steal your customers.
So, to help combat this you need to review your processes for specific problems your customer face and come up with solutions to help them. You also need to be improving your customer experience, to encourage all types of customers to stay with you.
Providing a product that always delivers on expectations should be a top priority for any company.
However, your sales representatives won’t help this process if they fail to be upfront and transparent about any product limitations that may exist. Similarly, if there are any product flaws, you’re unaware of this can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
Once again, by collecting customer feedback, you can identify where any areas of miscommunication are coming up and identify where you can improve the functionality of your product.
To get a steady influx of customer insights, you should look to survey your customers periodically, especially after any customer interactions.
When it comes to your customers and the success of your business, the old adage of ‘the customer always comes first’ still rings true. And when you also consider that today’s customers are much better informed than any generation that came before them, their expectations about what is and what isn’t acceptable has never been clearer.
Consequently, being able identify and resolve customer pain points is a minimum requirement for this audience. So, if you can do this and deliver great customer experiences along the way, your customers will be much happier and your business much more competitive as a result.