What Are Customer Pain Points? (With Types and How to Find)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 12, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Pain points refer to the challenges that customers experience with a product or service, which can discourage purchases. It's important for service providers and manufacturers to resolve these issues to encourage engagement and retention. Understanding pain points and the business aspects they affect can help you determine how to improve a company's relationship with its customers and increase satisfaction. In this article, we consider customer pain points, examine some of their categories, outline how to identify and solve them, and highlight the business aspects that pain points affect.

What are customer pain points?

Customer pain points refer to aspects of a service or product that affect a customer's satisfaction with it. These can interrupt product use and discourage users while enjoying a service. This experience can affect overall customer enjoyment, brand image, and retention rates for the company. A company can address these challenges to improve satisfaction and engagement. Identifying these flaws can take time, as they can vary widely and occur at various stages of a customer's interactions with a product or service, but it is beneficial for the company in the long run.

Related: What Is User-Centred Design and How Do You Implement It?

Types of customer pain points

Here are some broad categories you can use when attempting to resolve pain points:

Productivity pain points

Customers experience productivity pain points when their interactions with a product or service yield fewer or smaller results than they expect for the time it requires. This low productivity can result from complex or outdated product and service interfaces. Such interfaces can require customers to wait for some time to enjoy a service, which can be challenging to deal with. In some scenarios, the complexity of such products can even lead to financial losses among users.

Related: How to Implement Productivity Planning (With Tips)

Financial pain points

Customers experience financial pain points when they feel that the value for money a product or service offers is not appropriate. This can result from competitors within the same market offering similar products or services at a better price. Customers can also experience financial pain points when a product requires frequent or costly maintenance or when payment plans are unclear. Manufacturers of such products may experience less engagement, as customers are likely to look for alternate, cheaper products that entail transparent charges.

Related: What Is Market Pricing? Definition, Advantages, and Tips

Support pain points

Another category you can use when categorizing pain points is support. Support pain points arise when customers receive slow or inconsistent replies to their questions or feedback. These issues can occur at various stages of customer service. Customers can also face challenges when a product develops a technical fault but support staff are unavailable to assist them.

Related: What Is Sales Support? (With Definition and Benefits)

Process pain points

Process pain points result from flaws in a product's design or interface. They can also result from inefficient processes that involve extra steps in a service, which lead to delays in user experience. Both potential and existing customers can experience various issues, which may result in frustration and inconveniences.

How to find pain points

Here are some steps you can take to determine the pain points among customers:

1. Conduct qualitative market research

Qualitative market research offers a more in-depth approach to this type of research, allowing customers to provide feedback and share their experiences in their own words. This approach differs from quantitative market research, which focuses on measuring customer feedback using numbers. With qualitative research, you can gain more insightful feedback, as they offer customers a chance to discuss their experience without restricting them to existing categories or product features. In such feedback, you can identify matters that may have eluded the company's attention and reallocate resources to address them.

Related: Market Research Questions (With Definition and Examples)

2. Search for product reviews

The Internet provides an extensive resource to gauge customer experience with a product. You can derive this information from online forums, business review websites, digital marketplaces, product pages, video websites, responses to adverts, and social media platforms. Most customers create or join digital communities, where they share their experiences with products and make recommendations for others. In sharing these experiences, they're also likely to communicate their pain points with any product. You can also use these reviews to determine customer experiences with alternative products and find out how they view competitors.

Related: Importance of Review Sites and How to Get More Reviews

3. Ask questions

Asking the right questions can help a company's customers identify their dissatisfaction before they become a major issue. Questions are also a good way to take on the user's perspective. This process can help your team brainstorm ways to improve product design and address existing issues. You can categorize these questions as you classify pain points to help you address varying kinds of challenges. For instance, with financial and productivity pain points, you can ask, "Is this product worth the price?" or "Is there a faster way to enjoy this service?"

4. Interview relevant team members

Various departments are responsible for direct interactions with customers. Interviewing or organizing communication channels to take feedback from such departments can give you better insights into the pain points of customers. Some of these departments include sales and customer services. The members of these departments can help professionals in product design or marketing by providing feedback on what customers express in their interactions. Establishing communication channels can also help teams remain updated with dynamic customer needs.

How to resolve pain points

Here are some steps you can take to resolve the pain points you identify among a company's customers:

1. Start with small steps

It can be tempting to attempt to resolve all pain issues in a single step. Yet, it's important to make incremental and attainable progress when resolving them. You can start by outlining the pain points you gather in your research and analytics. From this outline, you can separate the ones you can resolve with simple solutions. Making the pain points in this category a priority can help you set momentum and record improvements.

2. Review processes

Internal processes can be a significant source of pain points in service-oriented businesses. Reviewing the structure to trace any avenues for optimization can help you reallocate resources. This reallocation may help you to cater to pain points and increase the company's profitability. For instance, a cafe can review its processes and select an earlier opening time to access an evening market in its surroundings.

Related: Improving Business Processes with a Case Analysis Example

3. Encourage customer-centric marketing

Customers are more drawn to brands, and, consequently, their products, when they invest in improving their experience. You can make this interest the subject of your marketing by showing how customer reviews and feedback help products improve. This marketing approach is notable for its transparency, which establishes trust between a company and its customers.

4. Follow up with customers

After taking steps to eliminate pain points, it's important to seek feedback from customers to ensure their experience with a product is optimal. Establishing communication channels also helps you remain up to date with customers, as their pain points can be dynamic. You can use digital platforms, e-mails, and social media channels to gauge customer satisfaction and obtain feedback. You can also encourage relevant team members to question customers about their experiences.

Related: What Is Customer Experience? (Importance and How to Improve)

Business aspects that pain points affect

Here are some of the business aspects that pain points affect:

Research and development

Pain points can significantly benefit the research and development (R&D) aspect of a business. The R&D facet of a company is responsible for studying customer needs, tastes, and requirements to improve the quality of its products and services. For this purpose, a business can benefit from pain points by considering them as feedback to improve development processes. It can experience significant growth by targeting its resources to the issues it identifies among customers.

Brand image

How a business responds to issues among customers contributes to its brand image. Many customers acknowledge that most products aren't perfect. As such, excellent products and services are those that make constant improvements. A company is likely to develop a positive brand image when it expresses an eagerness to meet its customer's needs and address pain points.

Competition

While it's important for a business to address pain points among its customers, it can also benefit from comparing them against its competitors' customers. Such studies can help a business maintain a competitive advantage and improve its services. A brand can also enhance its image and market share by offering innovative solutions.

Product quality

One of the core aspects of a business that pain points affect is product quality. When a company adequately resolves them, the product maintains a high quality with customers. This awareness can help businesses adopt a user's perspective when developing and designing products and services. From this perspective, you can identify necessary features, complex interfaces, and vital aspects to introduce or omit from a product.

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