What are customer pain points?

We can define a “customer pain point” as a moment in their journey where they feel irritated or frustrated by something the organisation is NOT doing or is doing wrong, that they SHOULD be doing and doing right. For example, clean towels in a hotel room, correct food delivered to a table in a restaurant, accurate monthly energy bills, etc.

Over the years we’ve worked with numerous organisations that are experiencing pain points in their customer journey.

Customer pain point examples

Here are the top five most common customer experience pain points we’ve come across :

  1. Poor wayfinding/signage – for example, passengers getting lost within an airport, or visitors to an attraction having difficulties leaving the campus.
  2. Bad quality – for example, cold food arriving at the table in a pub, or inaccurate or incomplete data being held by an organisation on its suppliers or customers.
  3. Cleanliness/maintenance issues – for example, damaged items in a student accommodation, or dirty changing areas in a health club.
  4. Speed of service – waiting too long for food to arrive in a restaurant, or for organisations to reply to a customer’s query or submittal of documents.
  5. Queuing for too long – for example, passengers in an airport security lane, diners at a carvery station, and cars leaving a venue after a concert.

Broken processes, poor systems, manual work arounds, broken lines of communication, siloed workforces – these are a few more customer pain point examples we’ve seen over the years.

The business impact

These pain points in the customer journey are in themselves obviously undesirable in the context of a business that is trying to run efficiently and perform to the very best of its ability. However, if you also take a look at the bigger picture – the knock-on effects of these pain points –  the impact becomes a lot more significant.

The symptoms of having too many unresolved customer pain points can include:

  • Increased costs and loss of revenue
  • Unhappy shareholders
  • Senior team members under increasing pressure
  • Disengaged and frustrated front-line teams
  • Angry and disappointed customers
  • Negative impact on the brand

These are all potential nails in the coffin for any business.

Take these five steps to eliminate your customer pain points

The pain we experience on a personal level can be eased, resolved, and often destroyed all together. It’s a similar story with customer pain points faced by businesses.

There is an answer – and it involves following five very clearly defined steps:

1. Do your research

The chances are there will be pain in several different areas within a business and along the customer journey. Qualitative and quantitative research, both inside and outside of an organisation, is an excellent way of determining where to start.

For example,  where are we/our customers feeling the MOST pain? Where are we letting ourselves down/negatively impacting our brand the MOST?

2. Define the problem

With the most painful areas located, it’s then about defining the pain point, usually at a very high level, in the form of a problem statement.

This should include details such as what the pain point is, where and when it occurs, who it affects, and how much it impacts your business, teams and customers. Where possible, use existing data to establish a baseline metric for your problem – a position you can look to improve on!

3. Conduct root cause analysis

This is the stage where we determine the root causes of our pain and then peel away the layers of it by challenging each identified cause with the question, “Why does this happen?”

By repeatedly asking our “Why?” questions, we get to the nub of the problem – something we can then develop solutions for.

4. Develop and prioritise solutions

At Brand Vista, we generate numerous, tangible, brand aligned solutions aiming at tackling those identified root causes and then carry out a prioritisation exercise to determine which of those ideas will have the biggest impact on the pain, which can be tested today, and which are more long-term in nature.

5. Pilot your solutions and assess their impact

We should be confident by this stage that our prioritised solution(s) will go some way to easing our pain. But you never know! So it’s always important to trial your solution first by conducting a small, controlled, localised pilot to assess its impact. Following a successful pilot, we can then have confidence in rolling this out as a permanent solution across the business.

The benefits of improving customer experience

After all this, the pain point should be resolved – or at the very least alleviated – and that will certainly be of benefit to your business, teams, and customers.

However, during Brand Vista’s many years of working with organisations to help solve pain points, we’ve seen several other benefits of improving customer experience.

These include:

  • Improved customer satisfaction and NPS scores.
  • Increased time savings, allowing teams to carry out more value-added work.
  • Fewer manual reworks.
  • Improved employee experience and cross-functional working.
  • Increased efficiency through slicker, friction-free processes.
  • Reduced colleague churn.

And we’ve got the numbers to back this up from some of our clients who have seen the financial benefit in tackling customer pain points:

  • Shop Direct (now known as the Very Group) – 112,000 hours back to the business, £1.6 million in cost savings, £2.9 million increase in revenue.
  • Manchester Airport Group (MAG) – £400,000 in cost savings.
  • Smart DCC – 2,500 hours back to the business and £300,000 in cost avoidance.
  • M6 Toll – £50,000 in cost savings.

If customer pain points are causing you headaches and putting a strain on your business, why not get in touch with a leading customer experience agency?

Contact our experts at Brand Vista today.