What are Customer Pain Points?

A pain point is a specific problem that customers of your business are experiencing. It can be the result of using an alternative product or service or the pain endured without any viable solution.

Not all potential customers will realise that they have a problem and it will be important to market both their unrealised pain points and how your solution is best fit.

They can occur before, during and after trying to complete a task and can also relate to obstacles preventing completion of a task or the risks associated with undertaking a job.

There are 3 causes of customer pains:

  • Undesired outcomes, problems and characteristics: Can be functional (ie. solution doesn’t work, isn’t effective or causes negative effects), emotional (ie. how someone feels undertaking the task) or ancillary (ie. the annoyance of an action).
  • Obstacles: Factors that prevent customers from completing or even starting a task (ie. lacking the time or money to undertake the task)
  • Risks: Potential outcomes that are undesired and can cause negative consequences (ie. the loss of credibility or damage from a potential outcome)

Which lead to 4 main types of pain points:

1. Financial Pain Points: The customers are spending too much money on their current solution and want to reduce spending

  • Example: Single item purchase proves considerably more expensive than multi-pack buying and could be offered as an alternative to saving-conscious consumers.

2. Productivity Pain Points: The customers are wasting too much time using their current solution and want to more effectively use their time

  • Example: Customers are spending too much time filing their tax returns and would like to spend this time doing a more enjoyable alternative.

3. Process Pain Points: The customers want to improve internal business processes to improve the effectiveness of their employees

  • Example: Workers are spending too much time creating emails that follow a rigid structure and could be offered Slack as a more informal, quicker alternative.

4. Support Pain Points: The customers aren’t receiving the necessary support at various points throughout their customer journey

  • Example: Customers are not being offered a customer service number when they have questions about the product or service.

Understanding your customer’s pain points will help you to refine your product or service offering to best suit your customer needs. They will also help you to understand how the customer moves through your buyer’s journey and how you can best respond to their queries.

Empathy mapping

Another way to understand your customers and their pains, is to use an empathy map tool. This empathy map makes you think about the right questions to ask yourself to understand your customers.

This therefore not only looks at their pains but also their gains. (What they have to gain as a result of what you can offer).

Below is the Empathy map template, ready to download.


Document courtesy of Dave Gray, Game Storming

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