A Study on Pain Point: How to Take a Weight Off Customers’ Shoulders
When shoppers and clients face unexpected problems with obtaining or using products/services, it hurts them psychologically, causing not physical, but emotional pain. That’s why any issue that inflicts this distress is called a pain point. Meanwhile, the only way to build stable, long-lasting, mutually beneficial relations with buyers is to care not only about your immediate profits but also about fulfilling their needs. So, it is time to explore viable strategies to relieve consumers of their pain and earn their loyalty.
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The choice is yours.
What are the pain points? Pain points - specific problems that force people to struggle with obstacles and complications on their way to acquiring desired goods or services. Incompetent customer support specialists, failed package delivery, glitchy website, and even the absence of your favorite cereal on the shelf can qualify as pain points.
Naturally, life is not a fairy tale, and mistakes, misunderstandings, or accidents are ineluctable. Yet, it is a fallacy to ignore inconveniences you have the power to fix, just because no one can be perfect. The winning strategy is modernizing your company to bring shoppers joy instead of depriving them of it.
Consider the case of Airbnb. They fundamentally changed the approach to taking trips and created a new niche in the tourism industry by addressing travelers’ pain points. Many people crave authentic experiences, but finding a native host can be daunting for a multitude of reasons. Airbnb eliminated these difficulties by making staying in local accommodation easy, convenient, and accessible with a couple of clicks.
Accommodation & experience package. Retrieved from Airbnb
Pain points vary immensely depending on various factors, such as size, specialization, target audience, etc. For instance, small businesses can afford to exert more effort to learn individual visitors’ preferences, but they usually suffer from a shortage of staff and insufficient budget, which affects the shoppers as well.
Anyway, no one has enough time to investigate the insurmountable number of consumer problems. Hence, let’s focus on the most common and distinctive of them.
These pain points occur when buying from you or utilizing your product/service inhibits shoppers’ productivity. Would you prefer to stand in line wondering if you will be late for work, or order from home via an app and pick up a fresh bagel with hot coffee on the way? If you are on good terms with technology, and it is not an impulse purchase, then it is probably the second option.
The same principle applies to the usage of your product. For example, Trello knows that you use its software to plan your business trips. Therefore, they added the integration with Skyscanner enabling you to book plane tickets and put them straight to your Trip Planning Board to make traveling more efficient.
Anyway, both you and your visitors have busy schedules because everyone does in the modern days. Thus, it is in your best interests to value their time and work on eliminating productivity pain points.
The level of pain is close to intolerable when, after the first camping trip, you get a hole in the sole of the new shoes you paid extra for because of their alleged durability. This is just one, but a very demonstrative illustration of financial pain points.
However, the subject of spending your money is extremely sensitive. That is why it often triggers many devastating issues like:
- Prices & fees are too expensive.
- Hidden or high additional costs.
- Inability to see the total sum before the checkout.
- The price does not match the declared level of product quality.
- Sudden or frequent price fluctuations.
Costs and charges are always a delicate matter. You have to learn to balance shoppers’ price/quality expectations without deteriorating your profits.
The shopping process consists of many other processes, such as checkout, payment, delivery, and return. If one of them forces users to take an extra mile to complete it, people are likely to lose interest in your brand. This is a checklist of the most common obstacles that can inhibit the smooth flow of your processes:
- the necessity to create an account;
- no suitable payment options;
- excessive number of steps and stages during the checkout process;
- absence of estimated/guaranteed delivery date;
- tracking info not provided, etc.
Process revision and optimization can be rewarding for you and your buyers as well. It will help all the parties involved gain clarity, transparency, and peace of mind.
The number of support pain points is truly endless. Impolite behavior, inadequate answers, specialists continue to transfer you from one department to another, all of it can be tremendously stressful. Meanwhile, competent customer service can help you score some major points for winning shoppers over.
You can spend half an hour on the phone with the attentive support employee, and be not agitated or bored, but be grateful instead. Whereas you can enjoy your skiing getaway with the view, fresh air, and cozy wine by the fire, still, the one comment from a rude receptionist will ruin your mood for the rest of the weekend.
As well as effective sales and marketing are crucial to obtaining new customers, knowledgeable and sympathizing support is pivotal to retaining them. Hence, spare no effort to make this aspect of seller-buyer interaction as stress-free as possible.
How often do you see your customers and visitors happy or even content? If the number is low, then this is a wake-up call for urgent measures.
Doctors ask patients to tell where it hurts to match the source of pain with the possible diagnosis. Your task requires enhanced resourcefulness because, in most cases, people will not even come to enlighten you about their disappointments. Hence, you have to compose an extensive toolset of quantitative and qualitative research methods to be able to figure it out on your own. Luckily, with technological progress, advanced analytical instruments, and consumer empathy, you can keep plenty of tricks up your sleeves.
Quantitative techniques serve best when you need to identify the problematic areas. For instance, you can use Google Analytics to determine that the majority of cart abandonment cases happen during the checkout process. Now, this is a signal it needs optimization to eradicate the source of customers’ pain.
The importance of customer surveys to measure customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) is hard to underestimate. You can gather intel through:
- printed questionnaires;
- follow-up emails;
- personal interactions;
- phone calls;
Of course, using these instruments to discover that, let’s say, 30% of your customers were dissatisfied with your services is not informative enough to unveil the reasons behind this discomfort. Fonolo looked at the recent statistics, and it turns out that 77% of consumers would appreciate your concern with their opinions. So, be proactive and do not hesitate to ask shoppers for feedback that elaborates on the issues they faced.
Popups are great for collecting data. For example, you can use Claspo to build NPS & CSI feedback forms and learn how many people are satisfied with your services and would recommend them to others.
A pop-up feedback form on a NOVASOL’s website
In addition, a creative approach can help you dig up the confessions and insights you could not even hope for with traditional research means. So, go ahead and give a shot to:
- Being unconventional.
Do not dismiss the idea of using social media for research purposes, it is a great way to reach out to your audience. You can ask people to write about their awkward, frustrating, or even funny shopping experiences on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
It does not have to be connected with your company. You can still learn a lot if you start a flash mob, allowing people to share their stories with hashtags #painpoint or #painpoints. For instance, “I hate when my nearest grocery store changes the disposition of the product sections or forgets to update the price tags”, probably will get many upvotes and can teach you a lesson.
- Being a team player.
Conduct a brainstorming session with your employees from the sales, marketing, and support departments. They are on the frontline, they work in the field, so they are likely to share some insights.
- Trying to take a walk in customers’ shoes.
Just make a cup of coffee or other comforting drink, lay back in your chair, and scout for imperfections by trying to contact your company, place an order on your website, or send an inquiry to your sales representatives.
So, something stands in the way between you and customers' satisfaction. Of course, now, with all the nuances like growing competition, new technologies, strict regulations, demanding buyers, and an abundance of marketing techniques, meeting the unprecedentedly high standards can be exhausting.
Yet, those who complain about shoppers tend to forget that many hindrances to keeping potential and existing clients happy can be removed. Dealing with some of them is simple, while others require time, energy, resources, and dedication. Either way, consumer pain points should not be neglected.
Your primary task as a seller is to maintain the balance between price and quality. Shoppers will be disappointed or driven away if you fail to achieve and preserve this equilibrium. This might be just a single issue, but it is pivotal.
People view your goods as overpriced.
It depends on whether your goal is a low-cost product or something that significantly improves the buyers’ quality of life, yet is not affordable to everyone. Overall, you can:
- scale down prices;
- reduce the total cost by providing free or flat-rate shipping;
- charm visitors with discounts and personal offers;
- find new suppliers;
- try to increase the quality with different materials or advanced functionality;
- single out unique features that are worth paying for;
- offer trial periods or free samples to prove that your price is fair.
Sometimes it is all about niche and market positioning. Imagine that you had a rough day at work, you come home, and all the products in your fridge do not look good because you bought them a week ago. Junk or fast food is an unhealthy option.
Meal kit delivery service HelloFresh can lift your dreary spirit in this situation with its weekly plans for your nourishment that have impeccably measured portions, matches your diet requirements, and do not call for advanced cooking skills. Now, this is the service you will be eager to pay for.
Retrieved from HelloFresh
Miscommunication & Mistreatment
According to the data obtained by Fonolo, 80% of buyers value the level of satisfaction with customer experience as much as the quality of products or services. Naturally, you are not only a business owner, but you are also a shopper. Thus, you can reminisce on your shopping history and have a revelation that consumers want to be heard, valued, supported, and treated with respect. That is why it is vital to equip your marketing, sales, and support teams with knowledgeable, compassionate, and experienced professionals.
Moreover, as Fonolo reports, more than 50% of customers are perfectly capable of resolving their issues on their own, yet they cannot find the required information online. Therefore, making your FAQ section explicit, understandable, and easy to navigate, or creating a self-help portal can help reduce your employees’ workload, while keeping your clients and prospects content.
In addition, you should not forget that intrusive marketing campaigns annoy people and make them feel that you violate their personal space. Hence, try to ensure that you gently induce and not coerce potential or existing clients.
It is difficult to reach your organization.
Luckily, both Deloitte Digital and Fonolo confirm that now Artificial Intelligence (even the conversational one) is advanced enough to maintain a meaningful interaction or deal with customers’ issues. So, to be approachable 24/7, install multiple communication channels, including live chats, social media, messengers, phone numbers, and chatbots.
Communication is a two-way street, and sometimes you have to lead the way. Use Claspo to add a chatbot invitation popup to delicately, politely, and friendly remind your visitors that you are here to help.
You keep receiving complaints from shoppers about your staff’s impolite behavior.
Use various means to improve your employees’ emotional intelligence and consumer empathy, such as seminars, tutorials, or case study sessions.
Imbalanced Marketing, e.g., your users perceive your recent campaign as an avalanche of popups, and it irritates them.
Your popup messages should be unobtrusive and well-timed. That is why Claspo offers a variety of tools to monitor views, impressions, subscriptions, and conversions, or conduct A/A & A/B testing. It is the ultimate way to check where and to what extent your popups actually fit. Plus, you can apply time, scroll, or any other suitable trigger to catch the visitors in the right state of mind.
Unsatisfactory Online Experience
As reported by eMarketer, the pandemic has accelerated the transition to online shopping, and now the e-commerce industry is booming. Fonolo’s data confirms that 59% of customers believe that if companies do not offer cutting-edge digital experiences, they are on their way to becoming ancient history. That is why investing money, resources, and time into turning customers’ virtual journeys into smooth sailing will be tremendously appreciated by your audience.
Inability to easily navigate the platform and find essential information or company policies.
Use more familiar design patterns and optimize your site’s layout. Obviate unnecessary elements and highlight the things that actually matter.
The website is frequently inaccessible. Glitches and errors disturb the shopping process.
Take proper care of your software. For instance, perform regular maintenance, conduct bugs or usability tests, and keep an eye on page-load and execution speed.
The mobile version of your platform is not displayed correctly.
Take time to view the site on both smartphones and tablets to find out what needs adjusting, then make the necessary changes. For example, Claspo has mobile view editing to make sure that your popup messages will reach any audience, regardless of their devices.
Limited Number of Available Options
Marketing Charts reports that customers think the majority of businesses have failed at anticipating their needs in terms of delivery, payment, and refund/return options. So, what measures can you execute to bring diversity to the table?
It is upsetting and disappointing to spend a whole day at home waiting for movers, masters, or couriers.
Be more flexible with your delivery methods. For instance, provide express shipping alongside the economy option (e.g., ProFlowers morning delivery guarantees that your bouquet will be fresh, and you will be free by midday).
The store does not present any easy or free return/refund options.
If it is possible, forsake the return shipping payments or returning fees, and embrace automatic refunds or easy-to-print/inside-the-box return labels.
The credit card was declined, and there were no other payment options.
Consider adding these methods to your list:
- direct invoices;
- gift cards;
- digital wallets;
- and even cryptocurrencies, if you manage to provide explicit instructions on how to use them safely.
Retrieved from ProFlowers
When it comes to consumer pain points, your task is to invigorate and not aggravate the situation, regardless of what instigated it. However, without knowing the source of customers’ discomfort, you cannot find the right remedy. Comprise your arsenal of sharp and effective analytical tools, and always pay attention to shoppers' feedback. If you manage to identify and remove the obstacles from the buyers’ way to a happy, stress-free shopping experience, you can turn your prospects and clients into real brand enthusiasts.