Pain Points in the Customer Experience Lead to Lost Revenue
There are helpful fraud barriers, and then there are unnecessary roadblocks that frustrate customers and lead to cart abandonment, returns, and chargebacks. Learning to differentiate between the two is a key skill for merchants. We’ve discussed the idea of friction in the customer experience a few times on our blog. But even if you understand the concept, it can still be a somewhat vague and abstract idea.
A more concise way of thinking about this friction—specifically the negative kind—is to see it as the cumulative impact of all the pain points your customer experience. In this post, we’ll examine those pain points and see how barriers impact your buyers.
- Pain Point
A pain point is a specific problem endured by potential customers. It’s a part of the customer experience that serves no helpful purpose, and only serves to create negative friction and drive away buyers.
If friction represents resistance in the customer experience, then pain points are the individual factors that cause that resistance. In a B2C vertical like retail, there are three primary types of pain points your customer could typically encounter:
The product simply costs too much, or added costs such as shipping are more than the customer is willing to pay.
Broken navigation, redundant information fields, and other unnecessary, frustrating, and time-consuming experiences.
Poor, intermittent customer service that fails to meet your customers’ needs, both pre- and post-transaction.
Think about it this way: when you try to make a sale, you’re essentially trying to convince a potential customer that your product is worth buying. Every pain point you allow in that process is an argument against you.
Even more than that, pain points can lead return customers to quit using your service. Other buyers could demand a return or even file a chargeback, and they’ll be more likely to share their bad experience with other consumers online.
Customers aren’t shy about sharing when they have a disappointing experience. This is bad, because when your buyers take to social media to express their frustration, it can cause long-lasting reputational damage.
Bad as that sounds, there is a silver lining: each customer complaint presents an opportunity to improve. By listening to customers and placing yourself in their shoes, you can become much more effective at identifying and resolving the pain points that deter buyers and cause other problems. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
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Step One: Mapping Your Customer Journey
The lifecycle of a customer interaction begins before your customer ever lands on your site, and it continues long after the checkout process. This is what’s called the customer journey.
- Customer Journey
The customer journey is the range of experiences had by shoppers when interacting with your brand. The customer journey begins at the first point of awareness, and continues through until after order fulfillment.
The fist step toward resolving pain points in your customer experience is developing a map of the customer journey. This will provide a visual outline, making it easier to identify friction points, bottlenecks, and other problem factors.
It’s helpful to put yourself in your customer’s shoes when mapping this process. To do that, ask yourself:
- Who is your buyer?
- What problems do you know your buyer faces?
- How does your buyer hope to solve their problems? Why do they come to you?
- How does your buyer come to your site?
Developing a profile of your typical customer gives you a better impression of the customer’s experiences. Then, once you have an impression of the problems facing your customer, you can develop strategies to resolve those issues.
Below is an example of rudimentary customer journey map. You can customize it to better reflect your process:
Step Two: Social Listening
15% of all chargebacks in the last year were filed because the products or services didn’t match the merchant’s original description. Clearly, we have a disconnect between what customers expect...and what merchants provide. Furthermore, one-third of Americans say they’re likely to post about a poor experience on social media.
While that’s definitely a bad thing, it does present an opportunity to grow if leveraged properly. That’s where social listening comes in.
- Social Listening
Social listening is the practice of monitoring of your social media channels for any customer feedback or direct mentions on your brand. You can also watch for discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries.
At present, merchants typically think of social listening as a method for reaching customers and identifying trends. However, social listening is also a great way to identify pain points in your customer experience. Listening to buyers on social media gives you an unfiltered impression of what customers expect. This should supplement the insights you gain by mapping the customer journey.
Of course, we’re not suggesting that you weigh every piece of customer feedback equally; many cases will be outliers. If you notice recurring themes in your customers’ complaints, however, you’ll know you have an unresolved pain point. Thus, careful data analysis to gain insights and act on opportunities is an equally-important part of the process.
There are several approaches you can take to this. You can engage in basic social listening by simply searching your business name or other keywords on Twitter. There are tools available to help with more in-depth social listening, though, like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and HubSpot. All these services offer tools to help engage with customers on social media.
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Step Three: Take Action
Once you’ve done the work of identifying customers’ pain points, it’s time to put that understanding into practice.
Removing the barriers that frustrate your customers will streamline processes, making customers more likely to complete purchases and less likely to request returns or file chargebacks. Plus, demonstrating that you hear your customers—and care about what they have to say—is a great way to build customer affinity for your brand.
We can look to Twitter to illustrate this idea. When customers receive a response after tweeting at a business, it creates a positive impression in the customer’s mind. As a result, they are willing to spend up to 20% more on an average item from that business in the future. Fixing the problems that we identified through social listening just further extrapolates from the idea.
To demonstrate, here are five of the most common pain points facing online buyers, and how to mitigate them:
|Slow Site Performance||Optimizing pages and images can improve both your customer experience and your search ranking. It’s also wise to partner with a quality CDN provider, hosting service, and other third-parties to ensure optimal performance.|
|Confusing Site Navigation||Ensure page elements are visible and responsive across a variety of screen dimensions. Links to your terms and policies and customer service information should be easily-visible on every page. Lastly, ensure you have dynamic search criteria, and that your search box and variables are easy to find.|
|Unresponsive Customer Service||You should provide live, round-the-clock customer service, and reply to all emails within one hour. Remember that social media is a popular channel for customer communication, so monitor all social platforms diligently.|
|Slow Shipping||Offering multiple reasonably-priced shipping options is vital. You should provide customers with tracking information. Also, update buyers about any potential delays, backorders, or discontinuations, especially around peak shopping periods.|
|Difficulty Updating/Canceling Recurring Transactions||Updating payment, shipping, and billing information should be an easy, 30-second process. Also, send reminder emails to customers, informing them about upcoming payments, rate changes, and how to cancel service if necessary.|
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Taking a Top-to-Bottom Approach
Customers want to be heard, and addressing the pain points identified by your customers shows that you care about their experience. Of course, it’s near-impossible to provide that level of individualized attention to every single customer. Plus, engaging with customer objections via social media is reactive: you’re seeking to make amends for past issues, rather than identify pain points before they cause problems. That’s why social listening shouldn’t be the only method you employ to identify your customers’ pain points.
Social media offers important insight, but only one in twenty customers will actually vocalize their complaints online. Meanwhile, the average customer will tell 15 friends about a negative brand experience.
Many of the same pain points that can deter buyers can also lead customers to request chargebacks. That’s why at Chargebacks911® we recommend a top-to-bottom Merchant Compliance Review to track down and identify pain points and potential chargeback triggers before they cause problems.
Our approach employs a 106-point holistic process, ensuring optimal results for clients. Armed with in-depth data and expert insight, Chargebacks911 can help you provide better customer experiences, grow your sales, and protect your revenue from disputes.