You have been looking at the symptoms, not the cause of your customer’s pains.
When developing new products or your marketing strategy, it is vital that you understand your customer pain points. Most businesses assume they know their customer’s pains, do they really?
Asking a customer: What is your pain? Is not an ideal way of getting the true pain, often customers will go straight to solution mode, or worse, the interviewer will put their own bias in the mix.
Most product designers design products or solutions around what they consider a pain point, but they haven’t actually asked the right questions to get to the root cause of their customer’s pains. Often they look at the symptoms, not the cause.
Pains describe anything that annoys your customers before, during, and after trying to get a job or task complete. Pains can be risks or bad outcomes, related to your customers getting a job done.
Below is a list of questions you should be asking, to understand the cause of your customer’s pains.
What do your customers consider a waste of resources? What takes up too much time, money or requires a lot of resources?
Here we want to know what your customer considers too costly, understanding what they want to reduce or remove is vital to understanding their pains.
What is stopping your customer from adopting a new solution or service, or do they have other obstacles preventing adoption?
This one is important to ask your customer, we want to turn their excuses into reasons to adopt. We want to uncover issues with investment costs, approvals, or if there is a saboteur stopping them from adopting a new solution.
What challenges do your customers encounter on a regular basis?
Here we are trying to understand your customer’s knowledge of their situation. Other questions you could ask: Do they understand the product or service works? What issues do they have getting certain things done, or what do they resist doing because it’s too much hassle?
What social consequences do your customers worry about?
We want to look at the negative social consequences your customers encounter or fear, are they afraid of looking bad, losing respect, power or authority.
What upsets your customers? What are their main frustrations, or what gives them a headache?
Emotional stress is underrated, here we want to look at the emotional state of your customer and uncover the true source of their pains.
How are your customers getting let down? What promises are not servicing their needs appropriately?
While many businesses make promises to deliver on their value propositions, there are many out there who miss the mark. It is a great idea to understand what frustrates your customers and understand how they deal with it.
What mistakes do your customers make on a regular basis? Or are they using a solution in an incorrect manner?
No-one likes to admit when they are wrong, often one of the biggest pains for customers is poorly designed UX.
What features are your customers missing the most? What performance issues annoy your customers or what promises are letting them down?
Be careful in this question, many customers think they know what they need, and quickly go to solution mode. We want to know what they think will help them get their job done.
What financial, social, or technical risks do your customers worry about? What are their big issues, concerns and worries?
Uncover the emotional fears your customers worry about. We want to know what keeps your customers up at night, are they asking themselves what could go wrong?