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4 Common Customer Pain Points You Can Fix Now

Easy ways to improve self-service, personalization and more

Kindra Cooper

Customer pain points

Succeeding in business means understanding customer pain points and delivering products and services that make life easier. Tech companies do this by disrupting the customer journeys of old through self-service platforms that allow users to access goods on-demand. 

Once a prospect converts, it’s important to consider pain points in the customer journey. Left unchecked, they cause churn. Do you offer a frictionless experience, or do customers find it effortful to switch subscription plans, track deliveries or call customer support? 

Here are four common pain points and quick fixes you can implement with minimal cost. 

1. Confusing self-service infrastructure

Self-service should empower customers to troubleshoot technical problems, answer FAQs, access tutorials or interface with a chatbot. They should also be able to perform transactions like purchasing online or updating account information. If your website isn’t navigable or your IVR fails to route customers correctly, frustrated customers will switch brands. 

Telcos are notorious for convoluting the process of cancelling or downgrading a subscription to reduce attrition. It’s important to strike a balance between discouraging churn and providing a seamless user experience. 

Read more: Voice Assistants for Self-Service - A Vision for the Future

Quick fix: Ensure your entire knowledge base is up-to-date, including your FAQs, video tutorials, articles, IVR, mobile app, online forum and chatbot. Your chatbot should not simply be an interface for your FAQs; it should be able to identify customers and answer use case-specific questions.

If you offer a wide range of products or serve both B2B and B2C clients, segment your knowledge base by product or user persona. Also consider channel preference - which self-service channels do customers visit by default? Do they purposely consult several channels, or is the information simply unavailable in their preferred channel?

2. Restricting access to live agents

Our research shows that 78 percent of customers prefer the voice channel. However, given the popularity of self-service, calling is typically a last resort. If after hunting elsewhere for information a customer still can’t reach you by phone, they won’t persevere.

Also, any digital business that doesn’t offer phone service seems faceless and unaccountable. In time-sensitive or high-stakes situations such as a lost credit card or missed connecting flight, customers want a real-time resolution. 

Organizations like Dropbox and Squarespace are declarative about not offering phone support, stating that technical troubleshooting is best served by screen-sharing or email. Others quietly bury contact numbers on their website or attempt to right-channel callers in the IVR without offering a value-added alternative. 

Quick fix: If your CS hotline is hidden, make it easier to find. Sometimes, customers just need to know they can call if self-service fails. Under each FAQ or knowledge article, include a “Was this helpful?” question and offer secondary options if customers select “No.”

3. Weak attempts at personalization

The worst example of personalization is digital ad retargeting. You purchased a dishwasher and for the next 2-4 weeks ads trail you across the internet hoping you’ll buy a second dishwasher.

Unfortunately, most personalization is equally indiscriminate, like using your first name in email subject lines as clickbait. A recent study by Accenture estimates that personalization failures cost US firms $765 billion annually. 

Read more: Netflix's Tony Jebara on How to Use AI to Personalize the Customer Experience

Holiday season promotions especially reek of impersonality. Don’t misuse customer data, compromise privacy or sell already-purchased items. The biggest mistake organizations make is treating customers as one-off “guest” purchasers rather than developing a single customer record for each person. 

Quick fix: Personalization is not email segmentation. Identify specific user personas and cater content accordingly through product recommendations or context-based routing. Next, refine the content commensurate with user behavior. If someone doesn’t open your emails, don’t respond with a firehose of emails. Before you personalize anything, make sure your intentions serve the customer, not yourself.

4. The retail experience is a pain in the you-know-what

Loss of physical retail profits to ecommerce is down to one thing: customer pain. Long checkout lines, depleted inventory, unhelpful or uninformed store clerks, and long wait times for customer support are four annoyances customers avoid by shopping online. 

Brick-and-mortar advocates argue that physical retail offers perks like try-before-you-buy and recommendations from knowledgeable store clerks, but if the pain outweighs the gain, customers won’t bite. Retailers have tried to woo online shoppers by price-matching, but offering an equivalent price without reducing pain isn’t enough. 

Read more: Brick-And-Mortar Retailers Must Overcome Customer Pain Points to Survive 

Quick fix: Some retailers offer scan-and-pay mobile apps or provide store associates with payment-enabled iPads so customers can circumvent checkout lines altogether.

Others have eliminated inventory by converting their stores into showrooms where customers select items and have them shipped to their door - preserving try-before-you-buy while managing inventory. Once you’ve overcome these basic pain points, consider adding value through pop-ups, offering samples, events and other experiential marketing strategies. 

Special Report: 360 Degree Customer View Want to learn more? Download our Special Report on the 360 Degree Customer View.