Pain points are one of the essential terms for digital products, UX and UI design, business, innovation, sales, development, marketing, and more. Because of this widely used position of the term, it became more complex than it actually is. Indeed, pain points are simple to understand and identify, but important and hard to solve completely.
They are the key to generating value. We can simply say that if an effort creates value, it is mostly because it solves or resolves a pain. In this part of the article series, we will define, examine and seek ways to understand pain points better. Then, the second part will be about ways of identifying them in the customer journey.
Since it will not be enough to simply identify these obstacles in the customer journey, we must also develop perspectives to solve, prioritize and scope them. In addition, we can also look for ways to improve existing processes that are already working, even when customers are unaware that better options exist.
In lean thinking, not all efforts are equal. Some efforts are more important than others. So, some actions are taken before others. It also means, that not all pain points are equal and it’s critical to decide which pain points are worth solving. However, there is not much explanation to follow regardless of the importance of having a deep understanding of pain points.
What Is Pain Point?
A pain point, in its broadest sense, is a problem that can be solved or resolved by a new effort. Building a new product, providing a new service, or adding a new feature are all examples of these efforts. However, this effort can also be fixing a bug or removing a step. It does not always have to be about creating something new but it is always about solving something.
These problems can be encountered in interaction, customer journey, or relationship levels of customer experience and can address a need, wish, or concern. The keyword here is experience. Pain points aren’t just things you list out, they’re things that your customers feel in their day-to-day lives.
All efforts related to pain points should be all about creating better customer experiences. A pain point is a specific, actionable, and measurable problem that users have when using your product. It’s important to remember that a pain point is something that is keeping your customer from getting what they want.
However, customers’ problems can also be turned into opportunities for businesses. Most of the time, determining pain points leads to a successful roadmap because these are the reasons why people buy products or services. There is no reasonable audience that is not derived from a problem. Users pay a price for all pain points. It doesn’t matter if it’s the time and extra steps they have to take or the money they lose.
Since we are not Henry Ford and sell identical black automobiles to everyone, customer pain points are at the heart of any company or innovations in today’s market. Customers aren’t interested in wasting time and effort or dealing with poor user experiences. If you wish to meet people’s demands, you must first identify their pain points, even if they are unaware of them.
Knowing your customer’s pain points can give you a competitive edge, as well as allow you to create better products, services, and features. You can also create better marketing content and increase customer relations.
Common Pain Point Types
The obstacles that can arise in the customer journey are endless and some may be unique but many are common problems. Therefore, it is possible to sort common problems into categories. It can be helpful to learn about the 4 common problem categories, as it’s not always easy to identify the causes of problems. We will explain four common pain point types;
💸 Financial Pain Points
💬 Productivity Pain Points
📅 Process Pain Points
👀 Support Pain Points
1. Financial Pain Points
Financial limitations can be a pain point for a customer. Even if there is an existing solution to a problem, there is no meaning for some customers who cannot access the solutions due to the cost. Or maybe a customer can access the solution but the cost decreases the return of investments, so there is room for a cost-effective solution. By producing a solution at a more affordable price, this pain can be eliminated.
By asking the following questions yourself, you can find some real examples of financial pain points:
- Are your current solutions providing you with an affordable price?
- What are the ways to increase your ROI?
- What is the impact of the current financial environment on your marketing budget?
2. Productivity Pain Points
Productivity pain points are similar to financial pain points. But this time there is time instead of money. Especially for B2B cases, productivity pain points are major ones. There is an existing solution in that case too but it requires too much time.
By asking the following questions yourself, you can find some real examples of productivity pain points:
- What are the biggest bottlenecks in your process? Why is it not faster?
- Is it causing you to waste time during the day since your CRM and email efforts aren’t integrated?
- Is your current provider causing you to waste time because of the amount of downtime?
3. Process Pain Points
Processes are critical for operating anything. Process pain points refer to customers’ searching for better processes in terms of easiness, fastness, or result of efforts. Anything which can improve a process can solve process pain points. For example, the need for a more successful lead generation campaign may be a process pain point. Process pain points can be solved or resolved by improving processes.
By asking the following questions yourself, you can find some real examples of process pain points:
- Do you find yourself switching between several applications to complete simple tasks?
- Are your sales and marketing teams following the same strategy or going in different directions?
- Is there a process that costs you or your team too much time?
4. Support Pain Points
Support pain points refer to a lack of required information, help or support to complete a task. Customers seek information to continue their journey, especially in the main parts of the customer journey. Support pain points are mostly related to communication since there are no support pain points if users or customers have ways to ask or inform about what they’re experiencing problems with.
By asking the following questions to yourself, you can find some real examples of support pain points:
- Do you ever find yourself looking for information to help you finish a simple task?
- Do you know how to communicate in the event of a problem?
- Is there anything you wish you had known before closing a deal?
Degrees Of Pain Points
It is also critical to understand pain points can occur to different degrees due to their importance in order to prioritize them. Actually, there is no such thing as an unimportant pain point. Every single pain point matters, from the biggest ones to the smallest ones. However it is impossible to fix everything at a time, that’s why you need to prioritize. Degrees of pain points occur here. There are generally 5 levels of pain when it comes to user experience:
At level one, there is an existing solution but users are disappointed with it even though they keep using it. At level two, there are more strong feelings than just disappointment, users face problems more frequently but still use the solution. At level three, users want another solution and use existing ones temporarily but do not actively search for it. At level four, they start searching for a new solution. And finally, at level five, users are unhappy with existing solutions but think there is no better one. When customers are facing negative feelings at the last three levels, they are willing to pay more for a solution.
The Differences Between Usability Issues and Pain Points
Sometimes the terms usability issues and pain points have been used interchangeably to refer to user problems. But this is a misuse of the term pain point. In the last few years, however, the term usability issues have come into play as a replacement for pain points.
There is now a clear distinction between these two concepts: pain points include usability issues, which are pain points at the interaction level. Usability issues are usually specific to an interaction, whereas pain points are often more fundamental to a product or service.
Imagine you have a website where you are selling products. If a user visits your product page and has to scroll down the page to find the product price, this is a usability issue. It is not causing pain to the user. It is just not user-friendly since it is difficult to find information and it takes more time and effort for him/her to find it out. On the other hand, if a person who needs glasses can’t read text on your website, this is a pain point.
In the second part of the article, we will explain and discuss how to identify pain points, which methods can be used, what you should consider, etc. So, wait for the next chapter to dive deeper.
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