Researching Customer Pain Points

Now that you understand the types of customer pain points–process, support, financial, and productivity– you can start researching customer pain points to identify the specific barriers that your business needs to address. 

The best approach is to use a mix of qualitative and quantitative research. Leaning too heavily on numbers removes the customer voice and humanity, but without clear data, it’s much harder to identify trends, patterns, or emerging problems. 

Once you have a list of specific concerns your customers face in their buying journey, you can adjust parts of your business to alleviate them and transform the way that you market to your audience with a little help from our business coaching expert, Lori Moen

Ask Your Audience

The most obvious and essential first step to researching customer pain points is asking your audience. 

You might be surprised by how many people are willing to tell you what parts of the buying journey they tend to struggle with, particularly if you frame the question as the first step of rolling out changes that improve the process. 

There are many formal and informal entry points for this question, from sending out survey emails to chatting with customers when they enter your store. Just be sure to seek feedback from various sources and demographics, so it’s easier to see patterns that can inform your solutions. 

Observe Your Competitors

An oft-forgotten resource for customer pain point research is your competitor’s online reviews. Spend some time scrolling through review sites like Yelp, Better Business Bureau, or Consumer Affairs to see what others are saying about businesses in your industry. 

Not only can this help you identify key issues in your own company, but it can also give you insight into what you’re already doing right, then use those positive assets in your marketing and sales pitches.   

Read Existing Research

In many industries, business leaders are already spending time and money on formalized, credible studies to help in researching customer pain points. 

For example, Statista’s “Biggest problems of brick-and-mortar shopping among consumers worldwide 2019” offers invaluable insights, including the fact that 60% of customers hate standing in line for checkout. 

With such a large majority of the 5,110 respondents choosing that as an issue, it’s safe to assume that it might be affecting your own retail site, as well. 

A few key sites to bookmark for industry research include:

Because many of these require paid subscriptions, consider choosing one or two that you feel are most relevant to your work and investing in an annual membership. 

Check Social Media

People love to share their opinions about a business with others, whether its to warn their followers about a bad customer experience or to promote an incredible product. You can use social media as a tool to research similar businesses, goods, or services to those that you offer and get a snapshot of the most pressing issues.

Then, take it a step further by advertising your business as a solution to some of the more prominent complaints, using the same hashtags as the original posts. This ensures that potential customers who are doing their own research on social media will see your marketing materials and know that your company is what they’re looking for. 

Get Reports from the Sales and Customer Service Teams

If your business has a sales or customer service department, rely on those teams to report back on some of the most frequently cited issues that people have. 

Sales representatives are invaluable for pointing out which steps on the customer journey present hurdles to closing, such as the price point or whether your business is the right solution to their specific problem. By adjusting their sales pitch to address those concerns, the team can quell customer anxieties and present your company as an industry leader in making their lives easier. 

The customer service department can cover after-sale problems, like using physical products or accessing online accounts to change payment methods. Their knowledge of your customers can help you create more comprehensive solutions or perhaps eliminate a pain point altogether by doing something as simple as extending your business hours. 

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