Pain Points. We all have them. We all hate them. So do your customers.
There are the physical pain points and mental pain points. I like to avoid both, but today I am talking about the second lot. When you are a customer, your pain points are a nuisance. However, when you are designing a Customer Experience, customer pain points are invaluable—especially when your competition has the same ones.
Pain points refer to those moments in an experience with an organization that hassle, frustrate, disappoint, or perplex you. However, this list is not exhaustive. When a Customer Experience causes a problem for you that results in any of the emotions that create negative feelings for you as a customer, you are suffering a pain point.
Identifying Pain Points is Paramount
Whether it is the pain points caused by your experience or the experience of your competitor (and even in an unrelated industry), knowing when they occur is critical to improving your Customer Experience, playing a direct role in your improvement program’s success. As Customer Experience consultants, we find that the majority of companies have no idea where and when in their present Customer Experience, they cause customers pain.
So how do you find these pain points? We say through firsthand experience. We encourage our clients to feel the pain points the way a customer would by participating in the experience as a Customer, a process we call Customer Mirrors. This approach is what we call an outside-in approach, or in other words, walking in your customer’s shoes and seeing it as they would. This exercise never fails to produce some “aha!” moments for those who participate.
We have a story we tell a lot about how we helped an insurance company realize their pain points for their customers. The short version is that we flooded a flat and then called for a claim. We discovered that before the agent sent to inspect the incident would enter the flat, our consultant had to pay him £200 ($262), cash, for a fee like a deductible. Moreover, this had not been communicated when our consultant called in, so she wasn’t prepared and had to go to an ATM before the agent would begin.
To our client, this was a surprise. They didn’t realize how this stipulation played out in a real-world Customer Experience. They saw what a hassle poor communication and a strict policy created for customers. As a result, they redesigned the experience to remove the pain point for customers.
Sometimes Customers Will Tell You About Pain Points
Customer complaints are an excellent way to identify pain points. In this case, no proprietary process of walking a mile in the customer’s shoes is warranted. After all, there is no need to figure out what’s bothering customers when they tell you in no uncertain terms. In this case, resolving the issue is vital because according to a recent study by Accenture, 53% of U.S. consumers switched providers because of a poor experience, and 80% of these switches could have been avoided through better complaint resolution.
I recently wrote about my ISP, Bright House (part of the Time Warner communications companies, or rather Charter) because of insufficient problem resolution. After continued issues and countless hours spent troubleshooting problems with my Internet service over the course of six years (for which I paid the handsome sum of $8,600), I was offered $23.29 as compensation for my troubles. To say that I was underwhelmed would be an understatement.
But customers don’t always complain. Sometimes they tell you with their actions. A few examples over the decade or so include the decline of the once-mighty Nokia that didn’t respond to the iPhone with a smartphone product. (although rumor has it that might change in the near future). Or Blockbusterdeclaring bankruptcy when movie-watchers learned there was a better way to get movies at home with Netflix. When Apple saw that Napster was the way people were getting music quickly and affordably, albeit illegally, online, they responded with iTunes which provided a legal way to get music quickly and affordably online. It remains one of their most successful products today.
All of the successes in this example saw the pain point in their competitor’s Customer Experience, and relieved it for people. The other companies, well…let’s just say they felt the pain of their ignorance.
What Have We Learned?
To summarize, all of us have experience pain points in a Customer Experience. When an organization recognizes that they are creating a pain point for their customers, or see a pain point in their competitors Customer Experience, they have the power to relieve that pain to great effect. The important thing to do with this information is to act on it, quickly, or you might be feeling the pain of losing over half of your U.S. consumers that have found a better deal somewhere else.
Learn to recognize these pain points by training with Beyond Philosophy. Registration is now open for our new suite of courses.
If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:
- Industry Secrets Leaked: Predicting Customer Behavior
- How to Measure Customer Emotions
- What Can We Learn from Restaurants and Casinos?
Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX