Every business should focus on customer satisfaction because failing to identify and solve pain points that ail your clients is a recipe for failure.

In spite of this, a survey carried out by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) found that trying too much to appease customers by offering refunds, free services, and free products may be counterproductive because such efforts only boost brand loyalty marginally without necessarily addressing the underlying issues. Here are some great tips on how to create solutions that solve customer pain points.

Embody the Customer Perspective

It is impossible to solve customer pain points without first and most obviously identifying customer pain points and then dropping the cliché corporate culture and embodying the perspective of a customer. In fact, the survey done by HBR warns that most companies lack a strategic objective that spans the customer journey that could actually increase customer value. Instead of developing such an objective, companies are investing heavily in resources (both human and capital) that cannot deliver meaningful ROI.

To solve existing pain points, businesses must learn to think like customers.

In other words, you cannot deploy a solution that is designed to solely boost revenues or stroke the ego of C-suite executives without putting themselves in their clients’ shoes.

Emotional Connection

Although analytics is a key part of modern business operations, analytics cannot magically identify and resolve all customer pain points. To create solutions that resonate with the target audience, focus on connecting with customers at an emotional level and then tap the fundamental motivations that drive purchase decisions.

According to research done by HBR, key “emotional motivators” that drive consumer behavior include:

  • Have confidence in the future
  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Feel a sense of belonging
  • Enjoy a sense of well-being
  • Feel a sense of thrill
  • Feel secure
  • Be the person I want to be
  • Succeed in life
  • Feel a sense of freedom

By using emotionally connected strategies to address consumer pain points, your brand will attract and retain customers that are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Specificity

Avoid the growing tendency of developing and rolling out one-size-fits-all solutions that attempt to address consumer pain points. The problem with this approach is it breeds dissatisfaction among consumer segments that feel—rightly or wrongly—that they have been ignored.

To this end, companies should undertake comprehensive data collection and analysis to identify the problems that ail their product/service offerings across all consumer demographics.

After this, develop and implement suitable solutions as quickly as possible which address these defined segments. However, do not rush to roll out half-baked solutions because customers tend to punish companies that are perceived to be tone deaf to consumer pain points by decamping to competitors.

Continuous Innovation

Continuous innovation is another effective way of solving pain points that ail customers.  This is important for several reasons.

To start, companies that fail to innovate are likely to lose to businesses that are viewed as innovative by consumers. In addition, most consumers, especially tech savvy millennials, expect product/service offerings to improve over time by incorporating new technologies or deploying new features. However, the push to be innovative must be driven from the top-down, not the other way round. Unsurprisingly, tech-driven companies including Facebook, Slack, Snap (formerly Snapchat), Twitter, Box, and LinkedIn have excelled in continuous innovation at the expense of traditional brands that are viewed by consumers as lacking the innovation DNA.

More research about the relationship between continuous innovation and customer pain points can be found here.

Competitor Research

Businesses can solve customer pain points by simply evaluating the solutions offered by competitors and then creating solutions that suit their needs. However, companies should be careful when implementing competitor-inspired solutions in order to avoid attracting intellectual property (IP) theft charges. One way of avoiding such an outcome is by commissioning IP experts, branding specialists, B2B sales experts, company decision makers, and individuals widely regarded as authorities in the relevant industry/market niche to vet solutions that incorporate competitor-inspired aspects. Professional diversity also breeds new ideas and perspectives that brands can use to develop even better solutions.

Consumer-driven Solutions

In many cases, it is wise to seek input from your clients because they usually have a deep understanding of the flaws in your company’s products/services. The only downside is that this approach does not necessarily work across the board.

For instance, highly regulated industries in the US such as banking, health, and insurance must comply with strict regulations that govern data privacy and security. This means companies operating in these industries cannot arbitrarily make changes that flout the applicable regulations even if they enjoy broad consumer support. In this case, the standard practice is to find agreeable solutions that do not break the law.

Contact Disgruntled Customers

Traditionally, companies simply ignored disgruntled customers and focused on those considered less hostile. This is a flawed approach because it presupposes that disgruntled consumers are a distraction/nuisance and they cannot offer constructive criticism.

What’s more, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have given consumers a platform where they can air their grievances to the wider public. Grievances that go viral such as the recent United Airlines “passenger re-accommodation” kerfuffle can adversely affect a company’s bottom line as well as consumer perception. United Airlines could have avoided the ensuing financial loss — estimated at up to $1 billion by MarketWatch — by offering the affected passenger substantial compensation to give up his seat.

Personalized Service Delivery

Consumers expect brands to offer services that are personalized to suit individual needs. One way of achieving this goal is by deploying tech-based tools that can seamlessly adapt to changes in consumer preferences.

For example, artificial intelligence algorithms can be optimized to provide personalized services to millions of consumers. One example of this is Amazon, who has incorporated AI-driven algorithms in their recommendation and product search engines. The only problem is financially strong companies tend to outmuscle startups and mid-level businesses in acquiring the required tech talent.

Conclusion

Brands that do not identify and solve customer pain points risk losing their market share to companies that have a reputation of addressing consumer issues. Strategies that you can use to identify and resolve outstanding pain points include contacting disgruntled customers, focusing on emotional connection, seeking consumer input, embodying the customer perspective, personalizing service delivery, continuous innovation, competitor research, and specificity.

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