How to Find Customer Pain Points

27th, 2020
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
27th, 2020
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder

Whether you have a new business or are already established and growing, identifying and addressing your customer pain points are critical to your success.

A pain point is a specific problem that prospective customers of your business are experiencing. Like any problem, customer pain points are as diverse as your prospective customers themselves. However, not all prospects will be aware of the pain point they’re experiencing, which can make marketing to these individuals difficult as you work to help your prospects realize they have a problem and convince them that your product or service will help solve it.

How to Find Your Customer Pain Points

What are Customer Pain Points?

Pain points often fall into 4 broad categories:

  1. Financial Pain Points: Your prospects are spending too much money on their current provider/solution/products and want to reduce spending.
  2. Productivity Pain Points: Your prospects are wasting too much time using their current provider/solution/products or want to use their time more effectively.
  3. Process Pain Points: Your prospects want to improve internal processes and aren’t finding the right solutions to streamline efforts.
  4. Support Pain Points: Your prospects aren’t receiving the support they need at critical stages of the customer journey or sales process.

Viewing customer pain points in these categories allows you to start thinking about how to position your company or product as a solution to your prospects’ problems, and what is needed to keep them happy. Your strategy should all be geared toward listening carefully to your customers’ needs so you can work effectively to solve them. Identifying the trigger that causes your customers to seek out your company helps to articulate your value in a way that makes them feel as though you genuinely care. It also allows you to adequately solve their problems.

So how do you determine what these pain points are? Follow our six steps.

1. Perform Qualitative Market Research

Qualitative research focuses on detailed responses from customers where they can explain their problems in full. This contrasts with quantitative market research focused on yes or no questions and answers or a 1-10 scoring system. Qualitative market research is favored for a few reasons:

  • Quantitative market research can be too restrictive for identifying pain points. Quantitative research is great for situations that have little grey area or room for subjectivity. For example, it can be useful for conducting surveys with the intent of gathering customer data. You may ask, “How many hours do you spend watching TV each week?” However, with pain points, customers come from a variety of backgrounds with all kinds of reasons that drive their decision.
  • No two customer pain points are the same. You can group pain points into categories we discussed in the last section, but the pain points can still vary significantly within the groups. By allowing the customer the opportunity to fully explain their pain point, you can better identify which are common, which aren’t, and which are serious buying blocks.
  • You need to ask the right questions. As business owners, we often struggle to put ourselves in the shoes of the customer and see things from their perspective. After all, you know your business inside out and you know what you offer the customer. You may be totally unaware of a pain point your business is able to resolve but that you’ve never even considered. If you’ve never considered this pain point, then it’s probably not included in your questions for customers. You have the opportunity to ask open-ended questions where the customer can go into as much detail as they like. You may also choose to offer an open forum to shed light on their experiences without being directed. In this case, it’s important to focus on the “how” and “why” rather than the “what.”

2. Take Time to Talk With Your Customers

Running qualitative research involves more formal methods— like structured forums or focus group interviews — but don’t forget the good ol’ fashioned grab a drink method to get one on one with some of your customers. Schedule informal meetings to hear how they’re doing and learn more about what’s going on with their business. If they don’t feel as though they’re being sold to or examined under a microscope, they might be more willing to share their troubles and struggles.

how to identify customer pain points

3. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Act as if you’re a potential customer for your company and go through the entire customer life cycle yourself so you can understand what your audience is going through, searching for, or struggling with in their day-to-day activities. Then, you can prove to them that you genuinely understand their pain points, care about their problems and want to help. If it’s still too hard to get out of your own head in this exercise, have a friend (or friendly stranger) walk through the sales process and allow them to provide their feedback. You might be surprised what you learn.

4. Listen for Customer Pain Points

Whether you’re conducting qualitative research, walking through a mock sales process, or simply having coffee with a current customer, the most important factor is listening very carefully. The most common mistake brands can make is talking too much. The decision to use your product or service rests in the hands of the customer. Listen to their story! Ask questions to learn what they’re feeling and what they need to make their ultimate decision. Then, take those insights to smooth out the customer journey and gain customer loyalty.

5. Always Collect & Review Feedback

Market research is a never-ending process. Don’t make the mistake of doing it once at the beginning of your business and never thinking about it again. Feedback collection is arguably the most important part of market research, which is why you should never stop listening to your customers and analyzing their insights. This can be done through a structured survey process or measured checkpoints along the customer engagement process. Collecting feedback will allow you to identify patterns and trends, better understand your customers’ problems, and tailor your business to serve their needs.

6. Leverage Online Resources

Every industry is being talked about online — whether it’s blogs, news sites, social media, forums, FAQ sites, etc. Look at these resources as free research about your customers’ pain points. By spending a few hours each week looking at these sources, you’ll gain insight into your customers by reading what they read, learning what they want to learn and then using this information in your content marketing strategy. Here’s how to best harness the power of these online resources:

Perform Keyword Research for Customer Pain Points

Figure out what your customers are searching for on the Internet with keyword research. There are a number of free and paid services that allow you to figure out what other people are searching for online. If we learn what people are searching for, we might gain a better understanding of what problems they may be facing. Here are those free and paid tools we mentioned above:

Identify and Research Your Niche’s Most Popular Blogs

Do a quick Google search: “blogs about (insert your industry here)” and focus on the results that have solid monthly traffic. Find those numbers, using tools like, Alexa, and many others. Look at what topics these bloggers are focusing on and incorporate those into your strategy.

Analyze Your Competitor’s FAQ Page

An easy way to gather customer data is to seek out your competitor’s FAQ pages. These pages are a gold mine for the most commonly asked questions coming from your target audience and serve as a great starting point to figuring out broad pain points. It gives you insight into areas you might currently be missing.

Learn What Customers are Saying on Social Media

Social media is the easiest way to gain insider information about what your customers are talking about. Groups, forums and communities on any topic exist on social media, and with just a little bit of digging, you can find the ones that are related to your niche. Spend 1-3 hours a week on the main social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit and Quora) searching for topics in your industry and reading what customers are saying about them.

Identifying customer pain points and offering a solution to them offers a range of benefits for your business. You will attract new customers who are tired of dealing with the pains and frustrations they are experiencing with your competitors. You will be able to convince previous or one-time customers to come back to your business by letting them know how you’ve improved. You’re also more likely to retain the customers you already have as you continually improve their experience with an excellent service.

Customer pain points can and should be the driving force behind what your company offers and how they choose to market. Listening is the number one thing you can do to identify these pain points. Being attentive to the voice of your customer allows you to meet their expectations and build loyalty.

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