How to Identify and Handle Customer Pain Points

Understanding the needs of your customers is essential for business success. Anyone can catch a customer’s eye with flashy marketing, but it takes dedication and quality of service to keep people coming back.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to customer pain points, how to spot them, and the best solutions to offer.

What is a pain point?

A pain point is a problem a customer is dealing with. On one hand, this can include pain points in the customer experience. Obstacles and issues that discourage potential buyers from following through with their purchases. On the other hand, pain points also exist in our personal and professional lives. These are opportunities for businesses to offer solutions.

Good or bad, customer pain points are valuable data for your preferred customer intelligence software. The question is, why do they matter so much?

Why you shouldn’t ignore customer pain points

If you’ve been getting by fine so far without considering things like customer pain points, you might wonder what the point is in starting now.

Whether you’re running an established multinational corporation or just starting a small business, you must maintain an awareness of customer pain points. We’ve already touched on a couple of reasons why they’re important as well as the issues and opportunities they can present businesses. Now, let’s examine these things in more detail.

Pain points in the customer journey limit the effectiveness of your business. Whether it’s pricing issues, poor web design, or anything else, unresolved pain points drive customers away. Even into the arms of your competitors.

That said, this cuts both ways. Understanding common industry pain points gives you something to manage around. If other competitors in your industry price out large sections of the market, you can capitalize on that by developing a more affordable product or service. If long delivery waits and poor installations are common, you can distinguish your brand with efficient and effective service.

The different types of customer pain points

So far, all this talk of pain points has been quite general. Let’s fix that by diving into the specifics. In theory, countless variations of pain points potentially affect both your business and its customers, but many of them can be matched to one of four categories.

1. Processing

‘Processing pain points’ are inefficient or difficult parts of the customer journey. For example, if your website is difficult to navigate or customer notifications don’t function consistently, it becomes much harder for people to engage with your brand.

This means that, compared to internal productivity issues, processing pain points are relatively easy to spot if you’re collecting (and paying attention to) customer feedback. Fortunately, between social media and online reviews, there’s no shortage of feedback.

Unfortunately, by the time process issues create noticeable customer pain points, damage to your brand has already been done. In other words, try to catch these things at the internal stage before customers pick up on them.

Of course, some difficulties in the customer journey are inevitable. That doesn’t make them any easier to deal with from either the customer or employee side, though. For example, maybe you’re with a B2B company trying to sell businesses on some shiny new call center software, with just one snag.

Your potential clients already have software, and rolling out a new installation may be a long and expensive undertaking. How can you alleviate these issues or make them worth dealing with?

2. Finance

One of the most important decisions for any business is the kind of price points they set for goods and services. Too little and it’s hard to profit. Too much and you pull your brand out of reach of a lot of people. This is where knowing margin vs. markup comes into play.

Of course, some things are just expensive, no matter how you look at them, like cars, houses, or any number of electronic devices. That said, there’s no sense in pricing out huge sections of the market when you don’t have to.

It’s not always the upfront cost that puts people off. Expensive delivery fees can be just enough to make customers reconsider purchases just before the point of conversion. Then there are things with extra costs, like vehicle insurance or installation fees.

As with many customer pain points, asking customers directly is a good way to be aware. That said, it’s also useful to research your target market independently. What are average incomes like, and how does your pricing structure compare to that?

3. Productivity

‘Productivity pain points’ concern how your business functions internally. As such, it’s harder for customers to actively make you aware of them because they aren’t necessarily privy to how things run behind the scenes. For example, outdated tools or software can make it harder for employees to deliver timely results no matter how competent they are.

On the other hand, productivity problems can also stem from things like poor employee engagement and high attrition. Some types of customer service roles, like call center workers, may typically be associated with high turnover. As such, it’s vital to develop customer call center retention strategies to maintain an effective service.

After all, what customers will notice are the knock-on effects of these pain points. Slower service and more mistakes. That means you’ve got to be proactive in identifying the underlying causes of these issues yourself.

4. Support

‘Support pain points’ are issues preventing you from solving customer queries and other pain points in your business. This can include issues with how your support team communicates, how tickets are managed, or even whether you’re discussing pain point issues in the first place.

Support issues can also include a lack of effective onboarding or tutorials for your service. Especially when you work in a software company full of devs, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is particularly tech-savvy.

The best way to identify issues like these is to ask people who aren’t as close to your product as you are. Customers are one option, but of course, you want to make a good impression. So, starting with product testers can be a good strategy before you release the final version.

How to handle them

Identifying customer pain points is only half the battle. It doesn’t matter how aware you are of a problem if nobody’s working to solve it. You need to include workable pain point solutions in your strategies for business survival. Especially in times like these, when people are tightening their belts and muttering about recessions.

Handling processing pain points

Resolving processing inefficiencies is essential for maintaining customer satisfaction. Hard-to-use interfaces alienate customers and poor ticket and response times leave them out of the loop.

The two key places to start are your tools and your practices. You need to replace outdated software to maximize efficiency, but the newest applications are useless if your people can’t work together properly.

That means you’ve also got to evaluate your work and collaboration procedures. Establish an effective system for working together, then coach your team in it.

Handling financial pain points

If you want to broaden your target market, you need to consider differences of income. There’s nothing wrong with having upmarket, expensive products, but consider how you could help more people afford what you have to offer.

That might mean budget-friendly products and services or ways to alleviate the costs, like a limited subscription or paying off a purchase in installments. It’s essential to thoroughly research customer needs to determine what options you should offer.

Handling productivity pain points

Dealing with internal productivity issues can be easier said than done. It all depends on what the underlying causes actually are. If lack of employee awareness is the culprit, consider a new system for timesheet management, or better-dedicated goal-tracking.

If, on the other hand, poor productivity stems from a lack of engagement, you need to energize your team. That might mean improving compensation, providing employee recognition, or addressing toxic elements of your workplace culture.

Handling support pain points

When improving customer support access, it’s all about efficiency. When we reach out with a problem, we crave a response as soon as possible. Even if it’s just an automated trigger email, an immediate response is vital.

Beyond that, your people need to be able to follow up on every issue effectively, no matter how much it gets bounced between different people and departments. It can help to centralize omnichannel support work information in one platform, to make sure nothing gets overlooked.

For onboarding and support for services, you have to take the time to create dedicated, user-friendly tutorials. A lot of tech-based businesses offer live demo calls to help new clients find their way.

Distinguish your brand by eliminating pain points

It’s tempting to dismiss some pain points as industry norms or facts of life, but resist the urge. When competing businesses offer broadly similar products and services, the little things make all the difference.

You might pick which grocery store chain you use based on which one has better prices, or which one you had a better home delivery experience with. When you’re renting out a house, the letting agency you pick may well be the one that responds most quickly or comprehensively.

By putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, you can see the obstacles they experience and elevate your brand in their eyes.

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

These views are made solely by the author.

Austin Guanzon

Austin Guanzon is the Tier 1 Support Manager for Dialpad, the leading AI-powered customer intelligence platform. He is a customer retention and technical support expert, with experience at some of the largest tech service companies in the US. Austin is also the co-founder of the California based Infinity Martial Arts and has served as an instructor in the sport. You can find him on LinkedIn.

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