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How To Identify And Solve Customer Pain Points With Greater Efficacy


You can’t grow a startup into a successful organization with a selfish or business-centric mindset. In order to truly thrive, you must adopt a customer-centric mentality that addresses customer pain points in a head-on manner.

But before you can do this, you have to know what those pain points are.

What are Your Customers’ Pain Points?

In the most basic sense of the term, a pain point is a specific problem consumers have in one or more area of their lives. This problem either leads to some form of inefficiency or causes a significant level of friction, discomfort, stress, or actual physical pain – or a combination thereof.

Pain points can be hyper-specific to an individual or group of people, but as marketer Dan Shewan explains, they often fall into one of four categories:

  • Financial pain points. A customer is spending too much money on their current solution and wants to spend less.
  • Productivity pain points. A customer is spending too much time and energy on completing a task and they would prefer to complete it with greater efficiency.
  • Process pain points. A customer has a certain process that needs to be more effective to accomplish specific goals (either in a business or personal setting).
  • Support pain points. A customer isn’t receiving the sort of support that they need at a particular stage in the customer journey or conversion funnel.

When you view your customers through these four categorical contexts, you can begin to understand who they are, what they want, and how the rest of the marketplace – competitors included – is missing the mark.

While your customers’ pain points may be obvious through simple observation, they may be more discreet and challenging to uncover. You’ll learn a lot from asking questions and studying the conversations between your customer support team and your customers.

In the digital age that we live in today, you can also glean some rich insights from mining the mounds of data you have available.

“A quantitative, data-driven way to identify pain points is to look at data on your website and the websites of competitors,” Sketchalytics explains. “What types of content and topics do they gravitate toward? Do they consistently show interest in certain topics over others? Dive into why that may be. Pain points can be measured en masse this way, identifying many of the main pain points your audience has.”

Solving Customer Pain Points.

To solve pain points, you must understand the difference between a solution and a pain point. This may seem like an unnecessary exploration into semantics, but it’s really important.

If a customer walks into a hardware store and tells a sales clerk that they need white paint, this isn’t their pain point – it’s a solution. The sales clerk should then ask, “What do you need the paint for?” The customer will respond by saying something like, “I need it to paint my wood fence.” That’s the pain point. And based on this pain point, the clerk can find the right white paint for the application.

For a real-world example, look no further than Swap Motors. On the surface, it may seem like any other online marketplace for buying a vehicle. But when you dig in and understand how it works and why the service functions like it does, you’ll see the team behind Swap Motors actually has a very articulate understanding of who the target customer is and what specific pain points they have.

The Swap Motors team understands that customers aren’t just looking for an easy way to find a used car online. There are plenty of websites that offer this. What they understand is that customers are fed up with the scams, lack of reliability, and low-ball offers or middlemen that often come with purchasing a used car from Craigslist or some other online marketplace. In response, they developed a marketplace that makes used car buying and selling simple and safe. So not only are they offering a product – vehicles – but they’re also solving a very tangible pain point in the process.

Adding it All Up.

Every business is going to solve pain points differently, but at the end of the day, there are some ways you can do it more effectively within your own organization. You need to research the competition, create an emotional connection, offer a solution that’s specific, and continually innovate the solution. If nothing else, an approach like this will put you on the right heading.