Successful, veteran entrepreneurs understand that the key to establishing brand credibility and eventually building long-term customer relationships is understanding the customers’ pain points and providing them effective solutions affordably. In a 2018 study conducted by Forbes, 75% of the surveyed companies cited “improved customer experience” as one of their primary objectives. But what exactly are customer pain points, and how can businesses identify them?

Customer Pain Points

Pain points are specific problems experienced by potential customers that represent viable business opportunities for businesses. Just like other problems, pain points are diverse and vary by customer. In a broad sense, the main pain point categories include:

  • Financial
    Potential customers wish to spend less money on their current products or solutions.
  • Productivity
    Prospective customers desire more time-efficient solutions.
  • Process
    Typically B2B, potential customers need solutions that enhance their internal processes, e.g., transforming potential leads to recurring customers.
  • Support
    Prospective customers lack adequate support during critical stages in the sales process, e.g., on their shopping journey.

How to Identify Customer Pain Points

  1. Qualitative Market Research
    Naturally, many customers experience nearly indistinguishable pain points; however, the fundamental causes of their problems are often very variated. Qualitative market research focuses on gathering individualized information regarding each customer’s pain points through open-ended surveys. Unlike closed-ended questions, well-structured open-ended questions can collect highly subjective information from customers with very similar pain points.
  2. Discussions with Customer-Facing Teams
    Customer-facing teams, e.g., customer service, sales, and marketing teams are often a company’s first line of contact with potential customers. Naturally, their strategic positioning makes them an invaluable asset for businesses looking to discover pain points straight from the customers. Having regular discussions with customer-facing teams can provide valuable insights into the customers’ general perceptions, experiences, and the root causes of their pain points.
  3. Online Reviews
    Online reviews are an excellent, free resource for discovering customer pain points. Businesses can find out what customers have to say about their products by regularly checking review sites for customer compliments or grievances.
  4. Competitor Analysis
    Periodically analyzing how industry leaders and other competitors approach similar target customers can point businesses directly to their prospects’ pain points. Indicators such as pricing, marketing angles, feature pages, and seasonal offers can provide plenty of actionable information.


Discovering pain points is arguably the most significant challenge new companies face when generating leads and establishing long-term customer relationships. Fortunately, businesses have enough tools to understand their customers’ needs and map out formulaic customer journeys.