As an entrepreneur and business owner, your main goal likely revolves around increasing sales and growing your business.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this; after all, you wouldn’t enter the business world if you weren’t intent on becoming successful, right?
As a service provider, though, the success of your business should always be secondary to the success of your customers.
Incidentally, by enabling your customers to achieve success, you’ll all but ensure the success of your company in the process. On the other hand, focusing simply on making money – and failing to follow through on your promises – is a surefire way to ensure you fall short of your business-related goals.Your success is dependent on your customer’s ability to use your products to their own level of success. #ux Click To Tweet
In other words, the key to a long and successful entrepreneurial career is in your ability to alleviate your customers’ pain points – and do so in a way that enables them to achieve success with as little friction as possible. In helping your customers achieve their goals, you not only make them likely to become loyal followers of your brand, but you also increase the chances that they’ll spread the good word about your services to others in their network.
In this article, we’ll dig into how to not only just alleviate your customers’ pains, but to actually transform these pains into moments of pleasure and celebration.
Let’s get started.
3 Steps for Turning Customer Pain Points Into Pleasure
On the surface of things, the company-client relationship is rather simple:
- Customer pays company to solve a problem
- Company solves the problem
- Both parties walk away having gotten what they wanted
While this sounds all well and good, a number of problems can arise if both parties come to the table with such idealistic expectations.
For one, both parties may not have a consensual understanding of exactly what the problem is in the first place. This, in turn, may cause the service provider to begin working toward a solution that, quite frankly, doesn’t alleviate the customer’s pain at all – causing frustration for both parties in the process.
Secondly, solving the initial problem may simply open up a world of other possible issues for the customer to encounter. This could then cause the customer to wonder if the initial problem was even worth solving in the first place.
Lastly, if the relationship ends after the initial problem is solved, the service provider misses out on numerous opportunities to do business with the client in the future.
With all this being said, we’re going to look at how you can deepen your relationship with your customers by helping them not simply overcome a single obstacle, but experience the highest level of success they possibly can.
Step 1: Determine the True Source of Their Pain
As we said, rare is the case in which a customer comes to a service provider with a problem, the provider solves the problem, and everyone walks away happy.
In many cases, the problem both parties focus on ends up merely being the tip of the iceberg. The root of the problem, then, still exists – and will certainly cause trouble once more for the customer somewhere down the road. When it does, the customer will surely begin to question whether the service provider helped them at all.
As a service provider, your job is to dig past the surface and discover not just what your customers’ pains are, but what’s causing said pain to begin with. This, in turn, will allow you to provide much more focused and individualized service to each client you do business with.
To illustrate this point, let’s look at two examples in which two separate customers make the exact same purchase:
- Two friends walk into a restaurant on a Sunday afternoon, both wearing Vikings jerseys. They head to the bar and ask for two beers.
- Two friends walk into a restaurant on a Wednesday evening, both wearing business casual attire. They head to the bar and ask for two beers.
Even though the surface-level needs of both parties are the same (a couple cold ones), each group wants something different out of their overall experience:
- The football fans probably want some standing room and for the big game to be put on the TV.
- The professionals probably want to relax in a quiet atmosphere after a long day’s work.
In either case, if the restaurant owner focused merely on selling a product – and not on actually providing for their customers’ needs – both sets of customers would likely walk away feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. Now, figuring out what the customers in the above examples really wanted was rather simple – but this isn’t always the case.
With that in mind, let’s discuss how you can go about determining your customers true pain points.
How to Determine Your Customers’ True Pain Points
The main thing to keep in mind when working to discover the root cause of your customers’ pains is that they should always be the center of attention.
In other words, it really doesn’t matter what you think is causing their pain; what matters is what they say the cause is.
With that in mind, the two main actions you can take when attempting to learn more about your customers pain points are to:
- Ask them probing questions
- Allow them to speak
The questions you ask should be open-ended, allowing for further discussion and engagement. Put another way, your clients shouldn’t be able to answer your questions with a simple “yes” or “no,” as such answers leave little to no room for you to glean additional information from the customer.
As you begin to gather more information from your client, you still want to hold back from taking the reins of the discussion. Rather, continue acting as a facilitator, enabling your customer to get their thoughts out in the air unabated. The less you intervene, the less censored your customers will feel – in turn leading them to get closer to the true problem they’re currently facing.
Even after you’ve ended the conversation with a specific client, you’ll likely still be able to learn more about their needs by visiting websites, forums, and other online hubs where similar individuals typically gather. While not to be used in place of the previous suggestions, the information you gather through these means will likely supplement the insight you gathered when conversing directly with your customer.
Step 2: Reframe Their Pain Point as a Growth Opportunity
Anyone who’s experienced pain of any sort can attest to the fact that, in the heat of the moment, it can feel as if the pain currently being experienced will last forever.
This is especially true if the person feeling said pain has already tried a number of solutions, to no avail. At this point, it’s pretty easy for such individuals to submit to complacency and despair.
As a service provider, it’s your duty to lead these individuals to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.
Of course, this is much easier said than done – especially since your customers will have probably heard similar spiels from companies whose services failed to help them accomplish much of anything.
Your goal, then, is to not only help your customer dig themselves out of a pit of despair, but to help springboard them to successes they never thought could possibly be attainable. And you can make this happen by using a combination of empathy and evidence.
How to Reframe Your Customers’ Pain Points in a Positive Light
Once you’ve completed the first step of this process (learning about your customer’s true pain point), you’ll be in a much better position to empathize with them.
Make sure they understand that you understand the problem they’ve been facing, as well as the ongoing frustration they’ve experienced due to their many failed attempts at solving said problem (either by themselves or with the help of a different provider).
(Note: You need to go beyond the phony “We know how you feel, blah blah blah” statement, and truly meet your client at their level. There’s no “hack” involved here – you need to truly care that your customer is in dire straits and in need of assistance.)
At this point, your client may still have objections (usually related to constraints such as time, money, etc.) that are causing them to remain stagnant. If they bring up these additional pain points, you’ll simply need to reassure them that your number one priority is their success – and you’ll essentially do whatever it takes to help them achieve their goals.
Once you’ve prepared your customers for their next steps, your next step is to show them where they’re headed.
Now, since they’ve never experienced the success they’re about to experience before, it’ll likely be hard for them to visualize it actually happening.
So, rather than simply explaining that they’re going to overcome the obstacle they’re currently facing, you want to show them just exactly what doing so will enable them to do in the future. To do this, you need to make the results of their efforts tangible and real.
This is where case studies and success stories of previous customers come in handy. Through this content, you can showcase the experiences of individuals who had been facing similar struggles as your current client – including the positive outcome they eventually experienced after using your services. Within this content, you’ll want to include concrete data supporting the notion that your solution not only works, but works well.
To reiterate, your goal during this stage of the process is to get your customer on board with the idea that, even if working to overcome their current pain does take a little bit of work, the effort they put into doing so will ultimately pay off in dividends.
Step 3: Follow Up as Your Customer Reaches Toward Their Goal
As we’ve alluded to throughout this article, your success isn’t defined by your ability to convert a customer; it’s in your ability to help that customer attain their goal.
To truly make your customer’s overall experience with your brand a pleasurable and successful one, you need to stick with them long after they’ve handed over their hard-earned cash. Not only should you stick with your customer as they work toward their goal, but you should also keep in touch with them as they begin to experience success through the use of your product or service.
Once again, your goal shouldn’t be to complete a one-time transaction with your customers; it should be to build a long-lasting relationship with them. In turn, not only will this lead to an increase in your company’s overall ROI, but it will also lead your satisfied customers to become avid promoters of your brand.
How to Stay In Contact With Your Customers as They Reach Their Goals
Once an individual has officially become a paying customer, you’ll want to ensure they have everything they need to get the most out of your product or services.
To make sure this is the case, a proper onboarding process is key. First of all, you want to be sure your new customer knows how to use your product, and is able to use it in a way that will help them achieve their goal. Secondly, by providing immediate support on top of the actual product or service your new customer purchased, you reinforce the notion that you truly are there for them every step of the way.
As your customer begins to experience success with your product, you’ll have a number of opportunities to reach out to them – and a variety of reasons to do so.
First, as they reach specific milestones and attain certain accomplishments, you’ll want to bring these accomplishments to their attention – and celebrate them!
As the example above illustrates, these milestones don’t need to be anything huge; you simply want to do something to show your customers you’re still keeping track of their success.
As your customer progresses, there’ll almost certainly come a time when they need less and less attention from you, directly. This is a good thing: it means you’ve done your job.
Of course, it can also mean your customer may soon outgrow the service you’ve provided them altogether. However, once they reach their initial goal, they’ll likely discover that there’s much more for them to accomplish. At this point, their search for a solution will begin all over again.
This, then, is the perfect time to introduce your newly-successful customer to the more advanced services you offer that they’re now better equipped to utilize.
The best part? Since they’ve already experienced success working with your brand, they’ll be much more likely to check out what else you have to offer before they go anywhere else. And, if all continues to go well, they’ll almost certainly recommend your services to their friends and family members with pleasure.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:
Your company’s success is dependent on your customer’s ability to use your products or services to their own level of success.
But it’s not enough for your customers to simply attain their goals. You want to enable them to exceed their own expectations – and to do so with relative ease.
If you can make that happen, you almost certainly will have gained a loyal customer for a long time to come.
About the author
Stewart is the marketing & outreach manager at Fieldboom. With Fieldboom, you can create beautiful smart forms, quizzes & surveys in minutes.