What Are Customer Pain Points and How Can You Identify Them Successfully?
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace Lau also published articles for domains such as WebSitePulse and Codemotion. Here is her LinkedIn.
Understanding your customers’ pain points is the best way to reduce customer churn. But if you embed this deep into your company, you can create a repeatable process for discovering ways to improve your product year over year.
In this article, we’ll go over what customer pain points are, the most common sources and how to identify them, and how you can start solving those issues right away.
What Are Customer Pain Points?
Customer pain points are the problems unique to your customers. These could be the very problems your company exists to solve. These could also be problems they’ve had along their customer journey with your product.
Understanding and solving customer pain points will be a joint effort between your sales, support, marketing, and product teams. It touches a wide range of departments from UX to customer service, and it can benefit all of these functions in your business.
4 Types of Customer Pain Points
You can use custom segmentation on any number of axes, including pain points. This will enable you to send out targeted communications at scale like reactivation emails and maybe a special offer here and there. To get you started, here are four very wide “buckets” you could sort different customer pain points into.
1. Process Pain Points
Process pain points include anything related to how your business interacts with customers, whether it’s how you connect customers to the right department, how you handle support tickets, or even how you handle your internal communications. Any slack in your business processes that causes problems for customers is a process pain point.
2. Financial Pain Points
If your customers are spending too much money on their current solutions, this is a financial pain point that you can market yourselves on solving.
Within your product, this could also be a case where customers are spending more than they really need to. For example, you could review the features in your pricing plans so that customers aren’t paying extra for features they don’t really need or use.
3. Support Pain Points
Good customer support should be an essential part of your offering. With one in three customers saying they might leave a company after just one bad customer support experience, it’s critical you get this right.
Common issues here include slow response times and a lack of product knowledge from support agents. Whatever business you’re in, your first-contact resolution number should be a KPI you’re paying close attention to.
4. Productivity Pain Points
If you’re in a B2B sector, your job is to help customers get things done. It’s a productivity pain point when your customers are wasting time on work you could automate or when one feature of your product requires too many steps to operate. That could be a process as simple as adding an item to a to-do list or a multi-step process like a shopping cart checkout experience.
2 Benefits of Understanding Customer Pain Points
There are so many benefits to putting customer pain points at the center of your business beyond building a relationship with them. But if you’re trying to make the business case for it to managers, here are two headline items:
1. Improve CX to Increase Customer Retention
If you know what’s likely to cause customers to churn, you can set up automated “flags” for that in your analytics software. A little bit of proactive customer care could go a long way here, and reaching out to customers who are just about to leave can give you high-quality information about the pain points they’re having.
2. Enhance and Elevate Products and Services
Not only is an understanding of customer pain points good for your churn rate, but it can also be the foundation of your product development roadmap. Your customers’ lives and industries are changing all the time. No matter how good your product is, new problems and pain points will come up all the time.
Initiatives like customer advisory boards and all-hands customer support will keep your team up-to-date on what your customers’ most pressing needs and issues are.
3 Ways to Identify Customer Pain Points
This will look different for every business, but it’s important to pay attention to both quantitative metrics like cost per acquisition (CPA) and drop-off statistics on your site, as well as qualitative information like reviews and customer feedback.
1. Run Qualitative Market Research and Analytics
Qualitative customer research could take place anywhere from a support call to a dedicated group session, where key accounts are invited to discuss their issues with the product team.
If you don’t have the capacity for this kind of group session with your key accounts, don’t forget the importance of customer reviews. The reviews for you and your competitors’ products can be a valuable source of this open-ended, qualitative feedback you need to identify customer pain points.
These reviews could also demonstrate what your target market is looking for and what to include in your marketing messages. If you see people complaining about your competitor’s poor customer service, make sure to shout about how good yours is.
It’s also a good idea to talk with your sales and support teams regularly about customer pain points. Not only will they have the front-line experience of hearing about those problems every day, but they’ll be able to tell you what’s going wrong on the business side corresponding to each problem.
2. Utilize Live Chat to Determine Pain Point’s Source
Live chat makes it easy for anyone on your site to get in touch with your company. With chatbots and button-and-menu flows, you can direct them to the right member of staff on their first interaction with the chatbot.
If you’re serving a global audience and they’re getting in touch outside office hours, live chat can give you a way to passively collect qualitative feedback when you can’t use FAQs and a knowledge base to resolve customer issues there and then.
3. Maintain Consistent Communications With Marketing and Support Teams
Customer pain points are a reliable source of inspiration for your marketing team. Make sure your marketing, sales, and support teams keep in touch about the problems customers are having. You’ll be able to create marketing content that speaks to those problems and A/B test those messages down word-for-word, then those lines can be fed back to the sales team to use while they’re on a call with new leads facing those problems.
6 Common Sources of Customer Pain Points
As more of any one company’s value chain is made up of the same APIs their competitors are using – Amazon Web Services, Stripe, etc. – the only thing they have to compete on is how well they know their audience. Improving your customer interaction management, then, is essential for any business that wants to thrive in this landscape.
You can start improving that by watching out for these six common sources of customer pain points.
1. Non-availability or Sluggish Support Response
One sign of great customer service is solving customer problems quickly. Live chat and streamlined processes are both solutions to this, as well as communication tools like co-browsing and video chat.
2. Inconsistent and Unpredictable Customer Experience
42% of consumers say a seamless experience across all channels and devices is a “top expectation”, according to research by Wunderman Thompson. This is most keenly felt in a customer support situation where they have to explain their situation to different people over and over again.
3. Offering Low-quality Products and Services
Products and services that don’t meet customer expectations are the quickest way to increase churn. By making customer pain points a key part of your product development strategy, you can better serve customers and build products that meet their specific needs.
4. Inadequate Support Team Knowledge and Training
You’ll struggle to earn a good first-call resolution rate if your customer support agents don’t know the product inside out. Hold regular meetings updating them on new features and make sure new hires are properly onboarded into the product.
5. Complicated and Inefficient Buying Process
Many customers will abandon their shopping carts during checkout if the process is too complicated. Optimizing your checkout process is an article in itself, but you can make a quick start by A/B testing thoroughly and removing every possible hurdle you can find.
The checkout process doesn’t end at the “purchase confirmed” screen: what happens after the payment is as important as anything else. Look at examples of deal closing transactional emails to devise a good email flow for customer aftercare.
This could start with a simple email confirming the purchase and the estimated delivery date, then lead to a helpful onboarding flow once the product is delivered.
6. Rude Behavior From Your Support Teams
It doesn’t take much for a disgruntled customer to perceive your team as rude or impersonal. Difficult customers are inevitable, and there’s only so much you can do here. But for a start, you should make empathetic and understanding language part of the process for customer support calls.
Agents should know to emphasize that they see why the customer is complaining and should take steps like repeating the issue back to them to make clear that they’ve understood the issue.
By understanding customer pain points, you’ll know your company is building a better relationship with your existing customers.
With pain points eliminated for your future customers, you can bring reviewers in with initiatives like the Amazon Vine program to get more and better reviews online.
More importantly, a repeatable system for identifying customer pain points allows you to iterate on your product year after year. This customer-led approach to product development will result in a product that serves your specific target market better than any of your competitors.