Think about the company that has earned your undying loyalty. What is it about this business that resonates with you so strongly?
Do they provide a stellar product or service? Do they make it easy for you to purchase? Do they share your personal values? Is your experience with the company always positive and engaging? Do they express that they care about how you feel? Do they listen to what you have to say?
In short, you are loyal to this business because this business understands you.
Strong businesses make it a regular practice to recognize issues in the customer journey and solve their problems quickly and effectively to enhance and improve the customer experience. If your customers are dissatisfied with your company—or simply not buying what you’re selling—then it’s time to find your customer pain points that are preventing people from becoming loyal brand advocates.
Write down what you believe to be your customer pain points, be it the reasons why they don’t purchase (or won’t ever purchase again) or experiences that cause them hesitation to purchase or ever purchase from your company. At what phases of the customer journey are these pain points happening the most?
Please Note: This is a starting place of finding your customer pain points. Think of it as your hypothesis before diving deep into researching customer insight and behavior to prove or disprove your theory.
Ask Your Customers (This is the Big One)
This one seems pretty obvious, but you’d be amazed by how often companies don’t ask. It’s falsely perceived that asking customers is like waving a white flag in defeat. Instead, it’s like ringing the dinner bell. Customers love being asked—and heard—because it shows that a company cares about their opinion and experience.
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is assuming what customer wants from your business without any data.
The best way to learn about your customers is by asking your customers. And while there are instances where customers may not know exactly what they want until the option is presented, understanding their experience can aid in your discovery of that win-win situation.
There are several ways you can go about asking your customers.
Survey (or Just Email) Your Customers
This one is the most conventional way of getting answers. But you need to know your industry before going this route. In some industries, customers welcome surveys with open arms. In other industries, your customers can’t click delete fast enough.
A customer survey shouldn’t be yet another pain point to your buyers. So be selective and concise with the questions you ask so that you can gather the data you need to improve your customer’s experience with your company. I like the three-questions-max rule.
You can also just email your customers if open-ended answers are what your team desires or if your customers find surveys to be limiting on the answers they can provide. This can lead to building a beta customer community where you can receive honest feedback on new products/services or approaches to your business.
If it’s still taxing to collect answers, you may need to incentivize. Many companies reward their loyalty members points for answering surveys. I’ve also noticed many retail stores and restaurants offer deals and discounts on printed receipts or email confirmations if the customer completes an online survey about their experience.
You’ll have to spend money on this method, but it’s incredibly insightful. When online cart abandonment is about to occur, you can install a pop-up message directly asking why they’re not purchasing. You can tailor their response as a multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank answer. You may discover a pattern on why customers are not completing their orders online.
Go Big Brother
Marketers are familiar with heatmapping their website to see which sections of specific webpages are most relevant to customers. But there are tools out there (some even offering free trials) that let you record a user’s experience on your webpage, no matter their device, to discover any patterns in content relevancy or website roadblocks as well as reasons for cart abandonment.
Yes, twenty-first century technology is indeed scary.
Ask Them Face to Face
Brick-and-mortar has its upside: in-person time with your customers. You can make improving the customer experience part of the customer experience. That way, they’re eager to return, either online or in person, so that they can see their feedback integrated into the new customer experience.
When your customers check out, ask them if they had any issues finding what they needed today. If this sounds familiar, it’s because many retail and department stores are already asking you these questions. You may find repeat answers from your customers or patterns in their pain points.
You can also ask a patron who ended up not purchasing as they leave the store. Make this process even easier (for the people who want to get the heck out of your place of business) by handing them a card so that they can give their answer online at their convenience.
Ask Your Sales Team (& All Teams in the Field)
Your field teams are the ones having IRL conversations with your company’s customers. And I say field teams because many businesses have teams beyond their sales teams that interact with your customers daily. This includes customer service, operations, revenue management, development and brand ambassador teams.
When your customers experience new problems, your field teams hear about it first. If your customers have hesitations during the customer journey, your field teams are the ones familiar with the hick-ups. Develop a system where your field teams can record patterns of pain points so that you can solve these problems instead of prolonging them.
Ask Your Social Media Community
Start with what you already have. Review your previous DMs, the posts (or tweets or snaps or whatever else a posting is called) by social media users and the comments section on organic posts and paid ads. Scroll through review sites and see what your customers are saying about you. Are there any patterns of customer pain points revealed?
Ask Your Industry Peers
Conferences and conventions are key. As humans, we like finding other humans that can relate with our current situation, and you can find them in these environments. Even though you’re gabbing with your competition, either direct or indirect, you may discover through conversation that the pain points their customers experience sound similar to the experiences of your customers. Keep the conversation going to learn what worked and didn’t work for them (or still isn’t working for them).
Gain even more insight by having a booth or table at an event. What kinds of questions are visitors asking you? Where do the hesitations surface? What happened that turned an experience with your company into a bad one? Do you notice any patterns in the responses?
Don’t only attend events that are relevant to your industry. Target conferences, conventions, events and expos outside of your industry that are relevant to your customers. Sit in on breakout groups to learn more about your customers. Take notes on the questions they ask and the stories they share, especially if patterns arise. Review the materials they receive as event attendees to see if anything is relevant that you can take back to your company.