“What do customers want?” It’s a perennial question for entrepreneurs in every industry, rearing head – explicitly or implicitly – in product development, AGMs, marketing surveys and just about every high-level company meeting.
But what about the question’s inverse: “What frustrates customers?” “What don’t they want?” These questions share common DNA with “what do customers want?” They each attempt to lay a finger on the pulse of consumer desires and proclivities. But the latter questions are arguably more actionable.
Understanding consumer pain points allows your company to a) form a connection with consumers, b) differentiate yourself among competitors, and c) foster consumer loyalty through convenience and transparency.
In this post, let’s explore how to identify and fix your customers’ pain points, taking a cue from successful consumer-centric companies.
How to Identify Pain Points
To be clear, there are two potential categories of pain points. Let’s call the first one “industry-wide pain points” and the second one “internal pain points.”
The first category involves large-scale frustrations that consumers hold against the mechanisms, products, processes and dynamics in a given industry. Perhaps the easiest way to illustrate this category is to look at the real estate industry. For decades, consumers were frustrated with real estate agent opacity; they were fed up with high agent commission rates, high sales histories and a seeming lack of choice. (Hold onto that example; let’s revisit it below).
The second category involves pain points specific to a company: product usage, support (being passed from support person to support person), website and app UX, etc. To illustrate internal pain points, let’s take the example of an e-commerce site whose UX is a bit scattershot. Maybe the website contains multiple fields, account creation requirements, and confusing way finding. Each of these small hurdles serves to frustrate a consumer on their buyer’s journey toward your product.
To identify industry-wide pain points, consider conducting consumer research or consulting consumer surveys in your given industry. You can also use your innate sense of empathy and experience. If practices are opaque and choice is slim, you know something needs to change.
To identify internal pain points, incentivize consumers to conduct a user survey by offering them a monetary reward. Highlight various facets in the survey (marketing, support, product offerings, UX, etc.). And then analyze the data to determine sources of friction.
Fixing Pain Points
Fixing pain points involves addressing the issues you find above head-on.
If you are dealing with industry-wide pain points, maybe you develop a company from the ground up that proffer creative solutions. That’s what Nobul did in the real estate industry. Nobul, a real estate digital marketplace, puts the power in consumers’ hands by making agents compete for their business with attractive commission rates, visible sales histories and verified reviews. CEO Regan McGee told Superb Crew that his company was built to “make purchasing real estate as easy and painless as possible for customers.”
And if you are dealing with internal pain points, coordinate with our various teams to tackle the problems. Maybe you have to bring in new web developers to fix your UX. Perhaps you need to implement a streamlined customer support system or develop new products to keep pace with shifting consumer demands.
In summary, pain points are as diverse as your consumers. They might be big-picture frustrations or minor nits to pick about your company. But how you handle these pain points – no matter how big or small – will ultimately determine the long-term viability of your organization.