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customer pain points

What are customer pain points?

Customer pain points are those problems that customers experience during their buyer journey with a brand. Pain points make customer experience less satisfying and pose a high risk of customers churning away. A pain point could be as simple as a long waiting time at the counter or as complicated as not being able to track a shipment. 

In order to attract and retain customers, you need to make your buyer journey as smooth as possible by alleviating all those pain points that could be a cause of customer frustration. 

Types of pain points

All pain points have one thing in common: they are a cause of inconvenience to the customer. Customer pain points are divided into four main types categorised according to the type of inconvenience they cause to customers. 

Financial pain points

Financial pain points correspond to the monetary problems faced by customers. Such problems may arrive when customers think your products or services are overpriced or that they aren’t getting the anticipated value for their spent money. 

Sometimes, companies keep prices in accordance with the market rates of the industry but they don’t pay attention to the type of quality they provide. To compete with the market in true sense, you need to evaluate the quality of your offerings and then decide a reasonable price that wouldn’t be a burden on your customer segment. 

Other times, your product and pricing would be all okay but the payment channels could be troublesome for some of your customers. For example, you’re a SAAS company and your customers sign up for a monthly subscription plan. You only accept certain types of cards which causes transaction problems for a few customers. Now, this chunk of your customers will naturally churn away because you don’t support the payment channel they’re comfortable using. To save your customers, ask them what payment method they prefer and provide them with that option. 

One more financial pain point could be your over-dunning for failed payments. Give customers some space to carry out a late payment. You can try to assign agents to defaulters that make honest efforts to understand their case and provide them with reasonable solutions to payback. 

Productivity pain points

For most of us, time is money. Customers who value their time over everything else often feel overwhelmed when they feel they’re having to invest more time in carrying out interaction with a brand. Processes and systems that are complicated, require more than usual time or effort are termed as productivity pain points.

For example, if your sign up process takes longer than your competitors, expect customers to abandon you and moving on to the next best option. Similarly, longer check-out times at the store or online can also add to customer annoyance.

Process pain points

Process pain points are those difficulties that arise due to complexities in the buyer journey processes. Companies should make processes simple and customer interactions effortless.

Following could be considered as process pain points:

  • Difficulty operating a machine due to lack of information in the manual
  • repeated server errors on the website
  • limited parking space at the storefront etc. 

Support pain points 

Support pain points are those that arise when your customers don’t get the type of support they need once the purchase has been made. A customer journey doesn’t end at the checkout. It’s the after-sales experience that counts the most in customer retention. Hence, the provision of excellent post-buying support is what every customer looks forward to and yearns for. 

For instance, look how happy this customer is from the kind of service she got from the service team:

We decided to move electronic equipment around in our entertainment centre this morning, but I was worried about messing up our HDTV cable box if we shut down the power. I placed a call to customer service and waited a few minutes on hold until Page came on the line. She was knowledgeable, friendly and PATIENT! She walked me through the procedure and even waited a few minutes for my husband to find a longer cable to connect the TV to the cable box. Within 18 minutes Page had us up and running! Thanks to Page for the great service!

Support pain points could arise when:

  • Your support team isn’t responsive or they are not knowledgeable
  • your support program is costly
  • your staff is rude etc.

How to identify common pain points?

customer pain points

Till now, we’ve looked at the different types of customer pain points. But how to identify pain points that are specifically troubling your customers and messing up with your business?

Go through the customer journey

Identifying customer pain points could be much more difficult than you might think. Since customer interactions take place across a variety of touch points, the best way of catching problems is to walk the buyer journey yourself.

The first step in this regard is to create a customer journey map that consists of all important customer touch points. Then, label the frontend and backend processes that take place across each touch point. The last step is to walk the journey yourself to find and alleviate loopholes before your customers do. 

Wanna see real customer journey maps?

Here are some real examples of customer journey maps compiled specially for you!

It’s also a good practice to ask your employees to roleplay as customers and experience the buyer journey themselves time-to-time. They should make note of any trouble areas that might cause inconvenience to potential customers.

Measure CSAT

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a good indicator of how satisfied your customers are while interacting with you at specific touchpoints. It’s a one-question survey that asks customers to rate their experience.

If you suspect lower CSAT scores, a follow-up question may be sent to get deeper insights about the customer’s particular bad experience. This way, you can get to know what’s causing the problem, and solving it will get easier. 

Measure CES

Measuring the Customer Effort Score (CES) is an excellent approach to find customer pain points. Just like CSAT, CES is also a one-line survey question that asks customers to rate their experience according to the level of effort they had to put in. 

The goal of calculating CES is to measure the extent of effort required on the consumer end to complete a particular transaction with the company. Thus, the correct way of calculating the score is by surveying customers right after they complete interacting with your company (both physically & virtually). 

For example, after customers make an online purchase, you can ask them to rate their experience:

Special attention should then be given to customers whose scores suggest very high effort on their part. Identifying and reducing the cause of high customer effort will ease the customer experience with your company and they’d be delighted to do business with you again. 

On the other hand, if you don’t identify the high-effort processes in your buyer journey, these might cost you a fortune by causing customers to churn away. 

Measure NPS

NPS stands for Net Promoter Score and it measures the extent to which a customer is willing to recommend you to others. Higher NPS scores mean, your customers are overall satisfied with you and lower scores indicate the opposite.

An NPS survey is accompanied by an open-text space that customers can use to convey suggestions and complaints regarding their experience to the providers. Hence, the best part about this satisfaction metric is that it not only helps you recognise possible customer pain points, but also gives you insights directly from customers regarding what you can do better to satisfy your customers more.

Rely on reports from the sales & support team

Your sales and support team are the ones who are dealing with customers on the front-line. No other team can have a better idea about customer behavior than these two teams. Hence, taking your sales and support teams in the loop to eradicate customer pain points is the wisest action ever. 

Take regular customer feedback

This one’s a no brainer. Who else can tell you what’s bothering your customers the most other than the customers themselves?

Data and insights coming directly from customers are the best sources to identify common as well as unusual customer pain points. Taking regular customer feedback is the best way to analyse your strengths and weaknesses, position in the market, competitive advantages and disadvantages, and the concerns that your customers might be facing. 

Customer feedback is highly essential for businesses of all kinds. Be it a beauty salon, SaaS company, tour operators or a hardware store; your unique customer pain points can only be kept in check once your customers point it out for you.

It’s quite possible to miss a pain point while walking the customer journey yourself. Hence, feedback coming directly from your existing customers can prove valuable if you act on it wisely and quickly, before it begins to bother new customers as well. 

Did you know with GroHawk’s customer feedback tool, you could listen and act on your customer feedback in real-time? Not sure how it works? Book a demo and see how seamlessly GroHawks helps you in removing customer pain points!

How to resolve customer pain points? 

customer pain points

Once you have identified the customer pain points, resolving them shouldn’t be a problem provided that you’re genuinely interested in improving your customer experience. Start by creating a panel of experts from different teams and discussing the customer pain points in detail. 

Prioritize the customer pain points based on the level of discomfort they might be causing to the customers and associated losses to the company. 

Sketch out a plan for eradicating each of those pain points, working on the list from top to bottom. 

Work on the plan! Assign a team, budget and a proper time frame to carry out the updates as necessary. 

5 most common customer pain points and their solutions

Here are five most common customer pain points that only a few companies seem to pay attention to. Follow the solutions given and experience for yourself an improvement in customer satisfaction and retention. 

Inconsistency in CX

A single standout customer experience may help you gain customer attention but it doesn’t necessarily help you win loyalty. Inconsistent CX is a leading cause for customers turning their backs on such companies. Mckinsey advises companies to remain consistent in 

  • Customer journey
  • Emotions
  • Communications

Not getting the same level of CX across the various other channels in a buyer journey is also frustrating. For example, this girl states how she felt about the near experience she had with her favourite restaurant:

“Undoubtedly, The Cheat Day offers the best lasagne in town. I always go there for dine-in and my experience has always been delightful. But yesterday, I ordered the food home and it was a total disaster! Apart from the meal not reaching me on time, it lacked the variety of sauces they offer in-house. The meal was just barely warm and not hot enough. I’m suspecting they didn’t bake the dish fresh instead, reheated a previous order and sent it to me. I’m definitely not ordering from them again!”

We just learned that consistency across each of the platforms is necessary to keep customers satisfied and hooked with your brand. Otherwise, they might cut loose their relationship with your brand and also tell the world how unsatisfying their experience was with you. 

High-effort self-serving channels

Today’s generation likes to do everything on their own. Have you ever wondered why everybody’s a fan of those DIY videos? That’s because the millennial generation feels empowered when they don’t have to rely on others to get something done.

Not having seamless self-serving channels are definitely customer pain points. Self-service is meant to ease the customer experience. If your service channel is difficult to operate or is time-consuming then it’s doing more harm than good.

Now, companies that have seamless self-service channels are loved by customers! For example, take Mcdonald’s. Customers are happy using the kiosks because it saves their time and it allows them to proceed on their own terms.

Difficulty navigating through website

In this digital age, and especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all businesses have gone digital. A website is the best source to showcase and sell your company’s products and services. It’s even more important for SaaS companies who heavily rely on websites to do their business.

A website’s navigation structure and layout have a huge impact on customer experience. Imagine having all the top-notch quality products, marketing campaigns that have 90% conversion rates, and finally your potential customers reach your website to connect with you or to directly purchase from you. But Boom! They couldn’t find the ‘contact us’ option. And here you lost your customers even before they started interacting with you.

If you want to provide a satisfying customer experience across the web, try following good web design and structure practices here.

Long waiting times

customer pain points

Who likes to keep waiting for something in this fast-paced world? Longer than usual waiting times is the most common pain point that customers complain about. If you truly want to differentiate from your competitors and over-satisfy (couldn’t emphasize enough) your customers, make your processes and systems as efficient and smart as possible.

Enhance customer experience by providing faster deliveries, efficient check-out procedures, short-wait time to connect with customer support agents, etc. Think where you can cut-short the waiting times for your customers and you’ll see how happy your customers will be!

Complicated exchange/return policies

The way you handle exchanges/returns is as important as the way you handle marketing and sales. Very important!

The way you facilitate your customers for exchanges and returns leaves a huge impact on them and chances are, they’ll definitely consider you next time. Companies, who make returns and exchanges difficult have a hard time retaining customers because customers look for easy exchange and return policies.

By making exchanges easy, you’re not only eradicating a pain point from your customer journey but also increasing your chances of making new sales. Stats suggest that there’s a high likelihood of your customers seeing something else they like; thus, making another purchase.

Conclusion

Customer pain points are those troublesome experiences that your customers face during their journey with your company. We discussed four main types of customer pain points; financial, productivity, process, and support. It’s highly crucial for companies to remove customer pain points and make their CX seamless. Measuring customer satisfaction metrics and using the insights carefully can prove beneficial in identifying customer pain points to better be able to remove them. Customer feedback is the best tool that companies can use to solve customer problems in real-time thus ensuring a world-class customer experience worthy of all the praises!

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