Customer Pain Points, Part I: The 4 Types

As the name implies, customer pain points are a pain to think about. Correcting them requires time, energy, and resources you may not have on hand at the time, or you feel it’s a non-issue, even if your customers don’t. 

However, brands willing to put the time into creating a smooth, simple process for the customers will see far more sales and repeat customers than one that doesn’t. For every business stuck in its ways, there are dozens of competitors with tempting offers and better value to steal your potential profits. 

If you’re unsure about what your customer pain points are, Catalyst ECR is here to help. We’ll start by identifying the four main categories of customer pain points and offer a few examples before diving into how to research your customers’ concerns in next week’s blog. 

Process Pain Points

One of the easiest ways to alienate customers from your business is to make the process of working with you more complicated than it has to be. 

Studies show this is due to a natural human characteristic called cognitive fluency, or a tendency to prefer something simple or familiar over something more complicated. People trust brands more when they present an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand presence that doesn’t raise more questions than offers solutions.

To address process customer pain points, you should make interacting with your business as easy as possible throughout the entire customer journey.

Process Pain Point Examples

  • You have a complicated shop page or checkout procedure.
  • Customers must navigate unclear navigation menus to find what they need on your website. 
  • Content on your website doesn’t clearly outline what your brand has to offer. 
  • Your brick-and-mortar store has odd hours that don’t align with typical working hours. 
  • Searchers can’t find your address on Google My Business. 

Support Pain Points

Customer service matters to people.

A study from Glance reports that 78% of consumers have completely backed out of a purchase due to a poor customer support response. Another from Zendesk notes that 80% would rather switch to a competitor if they have more than one bad support experience with your business. 

On the flip side, efficient, helpful responses can often smooth things over with even the most frustrated consumers and position your brand as a solution-oriented business that strives to make things right. 

Support Pain Point Examples

  • Customer service doesn’t respond to requests promptly. 
  • You only offer one channel or platform for getting support. 
  • The customer service representatives are rude, unprofessional, or don’t understand the products. 
  • Frequently reported issues aren’t addressed with a permanent fix. 
  • It’s challenging to find troubleshooting guides for your product or service online. 

Financial Pain Points

Perhaps the easiest-to-understand pain points are the financial ones. 

A whopping 64% of consumers in America are living paycheck to paycheck, which means that they put the time and energy into researching, budgeting, and comparing products before they’re willing to make a purchase. 

That said, businesses must be prepared to justify the value of their product or service, especially if it costs more than competitors. 

Financial Pain Point Examples

  • There is a recurring cost after the initial investment, i.e., vacuum cleaners that require bags are less popular than bagless models, despite often costing less on the initial purchase.
  • Ongoing price increases for subscription services. 
  • You’re unclear about the added value to justify a higher price. 
  • A product advertised as durable or reliable breaks sooner than expected. 
  • Maintenance for a product has an exorbitant cost or requires outsourcing to another contractor. 

Productivity Pain Points

Many of the purchases we make are to address a specific hurdle to productivity or correct an everyday inconvenience. 

Before customers are willing to take the plunge with your business, you must be prepared to outline precisely how your brand will fix that issue and what the consumer will gain from their investment. 

One of the best ways to alleviate productivity pain points is to offer expert advice to make your audience’s life easier without pushing your product or service too hard. 

For example, let’s say you run a website that sells invisible fences for pet owners, and many of your customers are people who are looking for methods to keep their dogs in their yards. 

In most cases, customers aren’t going to jump straight to purchasing an invisible fence. They’ll spend a lot of time looking for information on alternative fencing materials, the consequences of dogs running loose, suggestions for letting their pets enjoy the outdoors when the owners can’t afford a fence, and so on.

Rather than using your online presence to sell, sell, sell, you should take the time to create content that helps address these issues, then extend your sales pitch as one possible solution. Your customers will feel validated in their concerns and have a more favorable judgment of your business because you have something of value to contribute to their problem-solving process. 

Productivity Pain Point Examples

  • Your business has few customer testimonials or online reviews showing real examples of your product at work. 
  • The website focuses too much on the sales pitch instead of using your expertise to educate curious researchers. 
  • Using your product is overly complicated or creates even more problems. 
  • There’s a lack of images or videos to address frequently asked questions about their purchase.
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