Table of Contents
What are Pain Points?
Pain points are persistent or recurring problems a business’s ideal customers face that can be addressed through products, services, and customer experiences. They are often described as areas of friction, disruption, or inconvenience that people encounter in their everyday personal or professional lives.
In terms of how it impacts their lives, customer pain typically falls into one of four categories:
- Physical — a material problem, such as a lack of an appropriate tool or resource.
- Emotional — unhappiness with the current state of something, such as frustration regarding the complexity or effort required to complete a task.
- Financial — financial loss or damage, such as money lost due to an inefficient process.
- Logistical — a lack of an efficient structure or procedure, such as an ineffective customer service system.
A pain point can be anything from a product they currently use not meeting their expectations to a lack of resources available in a particular area. It could also be a new unmet need entirely.
Sometimes, customers aren’t even aware of their pain points (or, at the very least, they can’t quite put their finger on them). It’s the business’s job to develop a product or service that solves those problems, market and sell it effectively, and deliver a customer experience that makes the solution worthwhile.
- Buyer persona pain points
- Customer pain points
Importance of Understanding Customer Pain Points
The whole point of a company’s value proposition is to answer the question, “What problem are we solving for our customers?”
In that sense, customer pain points are central to every business and its product offering.
Developing a product or service without identifying customer pain points is like building a fancy car without an engine. Sure, it might look nice. But it’s not going to take anyone anywhere.
It’s essential to remember that the goal isn’t to design a product and then find a problem it can solve. It’s to find the problem first and then design the product that solves it.
A solid understanding of customer pain points guides the development process, influencing every decision from design and functionality to marketing and user experience.
Simply put, the roadmap to a successful product or service is drawn by the hands of your customers’ needs and wants. It’s your job to understand those pain points intimately, translating them into an offering that brings a sigh of relief to your customer.
Marketing and Sales
The words the sales team uses to persuade, the ads marketers design to capture attention, the content companies create to engage — all of it, right down to the last full stop, hinges on the power of empathizing with customers’ challenges and presenting their product or service as the most viable solution.
Before a rep delves into a sales demo with a potential customer, they have to ask open-ended questions about the customer’s needs and wants, and recognize how their product or service can address them. Only then can they offer a tailored solution that meets the customer’s unique needs.
In the same way, ad copy and buyer enablement content is a company’s way of holding their customer’s hand, helping them understand how a product fits into their everyday life. It shows them how to use it to solve their daily problems effectively and efficiently.
The customer journey starts with understanding pain points — both experienced and potential ones — and it ends only when those same problems are solved. In the middle, it is the job of sales and marketing to communicate it.
It isn’t just about the product or service. How smoothly a customer can interact with it and how seamless the process feels are equally important.
Take an ecommerce brand, for example. A platform that’s difficult to navigate or a checkout process that’s riddled with roadblocks is going to frustrate customers.
Recognizing these pain points, a company would do well to create a streamlined and intuitive platform, a checkout process that’s as easy as pie, and a returns system that doesn’t require jumping through hoops.
Team Member Training
Training needs to focus on educating team members about the processes developed to resolve customer issues.
- Sellers rely on a well-crafted sales playbook to understand the best ways to talk with prospective customers.
- Customer service reps need to learn how to solve problems quickly and give customers the solutions they’re looking for.
- Marketers need to understand brand messaging, communication channels, and how the organization wants to connect with customers.
- Product developers have to understand the product’s core values and how it fits into the customer’s daily life.
The goal is to make sure that when team members come in contact with a customer struggling with an issue, they can empathize, understand their pain points, and provide them with the most suitable solution.
Aside from the pain points a product solves, there are residual pain points associated with the customer experience as a whole. All team members and product attributes contribute to it in some way.
Delayed responses, inconsistent customer service, long wait times — all of these add up to an unsatisfactory experience that can drive customers away and hurt business in the long run.
86% of customers would leave a business they trusted after just two poor experiences. If a product creates more pain for customers than it solves, then the customer experience is toast.
How to Identify Customer Pain Points
When figuring out which pain points to sell into, businesses need to consider how many of their customers actually feel a certain way. It wouldn’t make sense to run an entire marketing campaign just because one or two people use a product to accomplish something.
They need to play into the rule, not the exception, if they want to remain profitable. To accomplish that, they need to figure out which pain points impact customers the most.
This process is often referred to as “pain point mapping” — an organized approach that aims to uncover the key problems customers are facing and assess their magnitude.
Here’s how it’s done:
Analyze Customer Reviews
Customer feedback is low-hanging fruit for businesses. Analyzing online reviews helps them understand the good and the bad of their product and how to improve it.
Team members can assess low ratings (e.g., complaints, one-star reviews) to find commonalities among dissatisfied customers.
As for the high ratings, they can identify the features and services that the company should double down on or advertise as the core values of their product.
Social listening is a way to measure the ongoing conversations about a brand, product, or service in real-time.
Listening to what customers are saying on social media channels helps companies stay up-to-date with customer sentiments and the problems they’re facing.
Social listening tools use natural language processing and sentiment analysis to quickly identify areas of success and failure, so companies can develop solutions that fix those problems.
Surveying customers is an effective way of understanding their needs and wants, as well as the pain points they might be experiencing.
The questions asked should be focused on topics like customer satisfaction, product usage, customer service experiences, and more. They should also leave space for customers to leave free-form responses explaining what they like and don’t like about a product or service.
Organizations can also use surveys to compare customer feedback with team members’ assumptions. That way, they can understand how closely their products meet customer requirements.
Similar to surveys, interviews with current customers and those who have churned can give tremendous insight into current customer satisfaction.
By asking relevant questions about a product’s features, the buying experience, and customer service quality, businesses can uncover any pain points that they might have missed otherwise.
Suppose a B2B SaaS company finds its customers struggle with understanding the product’s complex features. Interviewing 15-30 customers could reveal that customers find their documentation and onboarding information is hard to decipher.
A potential solution? A series of easy-to-follow video tutorials.
Market research gives businesses a glimpse into their customers’ world. It helps them understand their needs, wants, and behavior.
It’s a bit of an umbrella term — market research takes many forms (some mentioned above and below), including surveys, focus groups, and interviews. It also includes analyzing competitors to identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the size of the market they’re serving.
Questionnaires, for instance, are critical sources of customer data. They directly extract valuable information from the customer’s mind.
If a skincare brand surveys its customers and discover most of them worry about sun damage but can’t stand sunscreen’s greasiness, it could be worth it to introduce a high-SPF product that’s light and non-greasy.
Observational research can also uncover pain points that even customers might not be aware of. For instance, a retailer may notice that customers often struggle to find products in their physical stores. With this knowledge, leaders could implement a plan to revamp store layouts to improve the shopping experience.
Sales and Customer Support Team Feedback
Sales and customer support team members are the frontline reps who deal with customers on a day-to-day basis.
To gather the right feedback from these departments, make sure to include them in product and customer experience meetings so they can share what they’ve noticed.
It also helps to set up a separate Slack channel for sales and customer support to share customer success stories, discuss common problems with the product, and brainstorm solutions.
Types of Customer Pain Points
Customer pain points themselves vary based on whether the customer is an individual person or a business. Understanding the difference and learning to identify them is important because it helps you, your business, and/or your sales team provide the right solutions.
In B2C, customers are typically looking for solutions to problems in their personal lives. In B2B, they’re usually trying to address challenges related to the operations and day-to-day functioning of their business.
B2B Customer Pain Points
1. Positioning Pain
Product-market fit and brand positioning are two of the biggest challenges businesses face. For many, they’re a matter of life or death — 42% of companies fail because they can’t find their sweet spot.
A prospect dealing with positioning pains might say:
- “Nobody is noticing our company.”
- “Our website isn’t getting any engagement.”
- “Most of our customers are spending more than us.”
- “We’re behind in ____ category.”
To sell a product to customers with positioning pains, it’s best to show them how they can use it to carve out a niche or differentiate their product by using it.
2. Financial Pain
Financial pain is the most common pain in the sense that everyone is going through it even when they’re not. Who wouldn’t want to make more money or be more financially secure?
A prospect suffering from financial pain might indicate thinks like:
- “Our revenue is growing but we have low profitability.”
- “We aren’t getting an ROI on marketing campaigns”
- “Too much time is spent managing finances.”
- “We aren’t selling enough to keep the lights on.”
- “Poor financial visibility is clouding decision-making.”
- “We’re burning cash runway faster than we’re comfortable with.”
When working with financially-burdened customers, focus on how your product can help them save money and increase their profits. Flexible pricing and lower-cost alternatives will help conversion rates as well.
3. People Pain
Employees are the lifeblood of any company, and they’re often the first to feel the pain when things go wrong.
A customer dealing with people pains may express things such as:
- “We don’t have enough talent in-house.”
- “The team is overworked and underperforming.”
- “We’re struggling to hire qualified personnel.”
- “Employee turnover is through the roof.”
- “Our company culture isn’t aligned with what we say it is.”
- “Middle management isn’t developing and motivating our workforce.”
Products and services that streamline internal processes, unify communication among the team, and help businesses improve the employee experience are no-brainers for companies dealing with people pains.
4. Process Pain
Process pain is all about making businesses and teams more effective. Inefficiency can cost a business time, money, and resources — but the right products or services can help alleviate some of that pain.
A customer suffering from process pain might say things like:
- “It takes forever to get stuff done because of all this paperwork.”
- “We don’t have a good system for tracking progress.”
- “Communication between departments is broken.”
- “We don’t have a way of qualifying leads or scoring deals.”
- “Our processes are too manual and error-prone.”
If you can, offer practical solutions that automate tedious processes (or sell these customers on that benefit of your solution). Process automation customers time, money, and resources in the long run while also improving employee morale.
5. Productivity Pain
No workforce is as productive as it could be. And some departments are downright unproductive. Sales reps average just 28% of their time selling, for instance.
Productivity pain can be described as roadblocks that prevent the team from doing their best work.
A prospect with interla productivity issues might say:
- “We’re continuously missing client deadlines.”
- “We haven’t found a way to track progress across teams.”
- “There are clear communication gaps between departments.”
- “Team members have complained about unclear expectations and objectives.”
- “There is a lack of access to data and reporting.”
Products that increase visibility into workflows, automate mundane tasks, or streamline communication can help alleviate productivity pain (as can anything that motivates employees to do their best work).
6. Small Business Pain
Unlike other types of pain points, these describe the nuances of running a small business and the unique challenges they face.
Small businesses are often understaffed, as well as lack resources like high-quality tech or financial capital. Small business owners may also feel overwhelmed trying to manage various departments on their own.
Small business owners might tell a sales team things like:
- “It’s hard for us to compete with larger companies and economies of scale.”
- “We need more capital but don’t qualify for traditional loans.”
- “We’re having trouble managing our resources effectively.”
- “I’m wearing too many hats to focus on revenue growth.”
- “It’s hard to stay competitive when we don’t know what we’re up against.”
When working with small businesses, it’s important to prove your value and offer solutions that will save them time and money. Products that provide automation, reporting, analytics, or marketing support can be great ways to differentiate yourself from competitors.
B2C Customer Pain Points
1. Productivity Pain
Productivity issues impact individual buyers, too. The main difference is that B2C customers are only managing themselves, not an entire team.
A customer with productivity pains might say things like:
- “I’m always running late for appointments.”
- “It takes me forever to get anything done.”
- “I feel overwhelmed by my workload.”
- “I can never seem to find the time to focus on myself.”
- “I’m drowning in tasks and don’t have any free time.”
Products that help people manage their time, prioritize tasks, or automate mundane processes can help B2C customers become more productive. Anything that helps them save time so they can focus on the things that truly matter to them — like family, hobbies, or self-care — will be a hit.
2. Support Pain
When clients/customers don’t receive the support they need in a timely fashion, they can start to feel frustrated and abandoned.
A customer suffering from support pains might say:
- “I can never get a hold of anyone when I need help.”
- “I’ve been waiting weeks for a response about my issue.”
- “The customer service team doesn’t have helpful answers.”
- “I voiced a problem with Product X and the company ghosted me.”
- “I’ve been getting passed around between departments and still haven’t seen any results.”
Support pain points are issues businesses can tackle by improving their internal processes. For instance, adding an AI chatbot to their website to answer basic questions, improving customer service response times, or investing in better-trained customer service representatives can all help make customers feel heard and supported.
3. Financial Pain
Financial pain points are more common in B2C businesses because individuals are dealing with their own budgets. The vast majority of people are “financially stressed” in some way, and many are struggling to make ends meet.
A customer dealing with financial pains may say things like:
- “I don’t know how to budget or manage my finances.”
- “I’m always spending more than I planned to on things I don’t need.”
- “Solution X I’m using right now costs me way too much money.”
- “I need Solution X, but I can’t afford it.”
A valuable solution to an everyday problem is much more impactful when it fits into the customer’s budget or saves them in the long run. If you’re in the business of selling products or services to individuals, focus on flexibility when crafting your value proposition. That could mean offering flexible payment options, creating multiple product tiers, or even justifying a higher price point with durability and long-term value.
4. Process Pain
Process inefficiencies make life harder than it needs to be. Think of Uber for the everyday user compared to calling a cab and waiting — which is easier?
A customer with process pain might say:
- “I’m tired of jumping through hoops to get the thing I need.”
- “I can’t find what I want, so it’s a waste of my time.”
- “Making sense of all these steps is too confusing and stressful.”
- “It takes forever to fill out all the forms or sign up for an account.”
Businesses can solve process pain points at every step of the customer journey. By creating a seamless customer experience on and offline, customers will be more likely to stick around.
Customer Journey Pain Points
Regardless of how a product solves a customer’s problem, B2B and B2C businesses also need to consider the entire customer journey. After all, customers interact with a brand at many different points and those experiences need to be pleasant in order for them to have a good overall impression.
Customer journey pain points could include:
- Sales inefficiencies (long lead times, confusion during the sales process, inadequate follow-up)
- Marketing and communications issues (lack of useful content, no customer engagement to drive adoption)
- Difficulty navigating the website (confusing menus, lack of information, slow page loading times)
- Poor customer service (unresponsive staff, incorrect information provided)
- Long delivery times or unreliable shipping policies.
Operational efficiency is key to improving the customer experience and solving these pain points. Streamlining internal processes, improving communication between departments, and investing in better technology can all have a big impact on how customers interact with your brand.
How CPQ Improves the Customer Experience in the Buying Process
As mentioned throughout the page, addressing pain points is about more than just creating a good product. It continues throughout the customer journey, which starts with the buying process.
CPQ software improves the customer experience in numerous ways:
- Its product configurator plugs into a website’s backend, enabling customer self-service and a frictionless experience.
- It streamlines the quoting process, so customers understand costs quickly and accurately (which reduces the risk of losing deals).
- It eliminates manual data entry, reducing errors and improving accuracy.
- It simplifies long-form paperwork with contracts and digital signatures for quicker sign-off.
- It syncs product and purchase data with CRM, so customer success teams know which customers are buying what.
In short: CPQ helps companies work more efficiently internally, which helps them better serve their customers. It also enables customers to make purchases on their own terms, without waiting for long responses or dealing with manual steps.
People Also Ask
What is an example of a pain point in the customer journey?
One example of a pain point in the customer journey is when customers have difficulty finding the information they need. This could include a lack of clarity around product features, pricing, or delivery timelines.
What is the difference between challenges and pain points?
A challenge is a problem or obstacle that needs to be solved, while a pain point is the emotional impact of that problem. For example, if customers have trouble navigating a website, the challenge would be the navigation issue. The pain point would be frustration from confusion and feeling helpless.
What is a common customer pain point in B2B sales?
Common customer pain points in B2B sales include long lead times, lack of visibility into product availability, manual data entry errors, and difficulty understanding terms and conditions.