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How to Identify a Customer’s Pain Points in Retail Businesses


“It’s no longer about interrupting, pitching, and closing. It is about listening, diagnosing, and prescribing.” – Mark Roberge.

Retail operations can be challenging. While it may seem like the process of selling goods and services is straightforward, there is much more to it—namely, understanding customer needs in order to maximize sales performance. Identifying a customer’s pain points helps ensure consumers get the service they need while also achieving your store’s goals. This blog discusses how to identify a customer’s pain points and use the information to increase sales and provide superior customer service.

What is a customer pain point?

Customer pain points are problems current, or future customers reveal during the sales process. Pain points are often grouped into four main categories: productivity, financial, process, and support. Pain points are best viewed as customer problems or issues that need to be solved. These problems are diverse; therefore, the role of salespeople is to help customers identify pain points and provide a solution in the form of products or services.

Why is it important to identify a customer’s pain points?

Knowing a consumer pain points will enable sales associates to serve them more effectively and better meet their needs. Using a client’s pain points for business success means addressing the customers’ most profound needs and finding ways to facilitate them.

What are the four categories of customer pain points?

I) Financial Pain Points

Financial pain points refer to the cost and value considerations that customers face when making purchase decisions. They are often associated with financial barriers, such as budget constraints, inability to access financing, or lack of competitive incentives. These pain points can be conscious or subconscious, impacting customer satisfaction and sales conversions.

Financial pain point examples: Many retail businesses face three common employee time tracking issues leading to increased costs that accumulate over time. These costs are as follows:

    1. Employee time theft: buddy punching, signing in early, or signing out late
    2. Waste of Managerial time: the manual administration of payroll
    3. Human error: manual calculation mistakes have the accumulative effect of increasing payroll costs. 

TimeWellSchuduled’s Cloud-based software eliminates these unnecessary costs. For example, for a company with 25 employees with average wages of $10 per hour, the total accrued savings over one year is approximately $24,050.

“I’ve been on the TimeWellScheduled program for over five months and notice amazing savings in the unproductive punching in early, punching out late, or extended breaks. This system allows all managers to control these areas for each staff member.” – Jody O., General Manager, Canadian Tire.

II) Productivity Pain Points

Productivity pain points refer to customers’ issues and challenges when trying to get more done in less time. They can manifest themselves in various forms, such as a lack of automated processes, manual and error-prone tasks, or ineffective communication channels between employees, customers, and vendors. These pain points can lead to reduced productivity and increased costs. Hence, identifying and addressing these common productivity pain points can help retailers to improve their operations, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction.

Productivity pain points examples: TimeWellScheduled’s scheduling solution addresses productivity issues by ensuring each shift is adequately staffed to deal with customer concerns and traffic levels. Additionally, TimeWellScheduled’s time and attendance solution seamlessly eliminates repetitive administrative processes such as time tracking, employee attendance, shift scheduling, and payroll processing.

By reducing or eliminating the manually intensive tasks that are better handled with cloud-based time and attendance software, managers and employees can reallocate themselves to higher-priority responsibilities, thereby increasing staff productivity.

  • “…I love all the features it has; it’s going to save me hours and hours of work with payroll. The scheduling feature is so customizable, and the managers love it already. This app is streamlining the employee/manager relationship with regards to time off, absences, scheduling, etc.” – Shelley, Office Manager, Store 900 St. Paul Canadian Tire.

III) Support Pain Points

Consumer support pain points refer to the dissatisfactions and issues that customers experience when dealing with a retail business. These “pains” can manifest in various forms, ranging from longer wait times to feeling misunderstood or ignored by the sales staff. To effectively identify and address customer pain points, retailers must understand what their customers expect from the retail experience. This means accurately assessing their target audience’s needs, values, and preferences and using this data to inform decisions about product offerings, customer service policies, store layout, marketing strategies, and more.

A support pain point example: In retail, client support issues happen when prospective customers do not receive customer assistance at critical stages of the sales process and afterward. Moreover, TimeWellScheduled actively supports the implementation, integration, transition, and after-sales support to ensure the scheduling system works optimally to meet your expectations.

  • “Knowing that technical support is only an email or phone call away and knowing that we will get a quick response are very important features that have eased a lot of anxiety and increased our comfort level with the product.” – Reg W. Oakville Children Homes.

IV) Process Pain Points

Process pain points involve any areas of the customer experience that make it difficult for customers to receive satisfactory service. This includes issues such as long waiting times, lack of available staff, unfulfilled promises, or inaccurate information being given to customers. Process pain points often cause customers to feel frustrated and dissatisfied with a business, leading them to look elsewhere for their needs. This can be particularly damaging to retail companies, leading to the loss of potential sales, customer loyalty, and repeat business. The key to identifying process pain points is understanding how customers interact with the business. This includes looking

Process Pain Point Example: Research shows that business retail owners and managers spend about 16 hours per week carrying out repetitive administrative tasks, roughly half of the average work week. Moreover, TimeWellScheduled, scheduling system saves managers valuable time by having all the admin tools necessary to manage payroll and scheduling all in one place. In addition, the system decentralizes accountability to employees. This allows managers to save time and reallocate it to more productive activities.

  • “I used TimeWellScheduled for years as the GM of a big box store, and it was an essential tool to help manage that many schedules and staff. I’m now using TimeWellScheduled to manage my small business with three staff, and it’s just as helpful and essential now as it was with 80 staff.” – Dustin, Cap-It Franchisee.

Questions to Help Identify Customer Pain Points

Identifying customer pain points is crucial in understanding how to plan a sales pitch. Knowing customers’ challenges and what causes their difficulty is the key to finding a solution and satisfying demand. The following are examples of questions to help identify customer pain points by category (iThemes, 2022):


Financial Pain Points

  • Is the price worth the value of the product?
  • How are competitor products priced?
  • Am I getting a return on my investment for this service?
  • How can I get this for free?

 Productivity Pain Points

  • Why is this taking so long?
  • Is there an easier way to accomplish this task?
  • What am I giving up in time to handle this issue with a specific product/service?

Processes Pain Points

  • What steps do I need to take to accomplish a specific task or function?
  • Can I make multiple tools or elements work together?
  • How can I save time with a particular task or process? 

Support Pain Points

  • Where do I get help with my question?
  • Has customer support been helpful and knowledgeable?
  • Can they resolve problems quickly?

Retail operations can be complex, especially so when it comes to understanding customer needs. This post has outlined how to identify customer pain points to increase sales and provide excellent service. By accurately identifying a customer’s wants and needs, you can create a positive shopping experience while maximizing your store’s sales performance. The key is to have detailed insight into the customer, so your team can tailor their approach. Ultimately, this knowledge will enhance your store—and everyone who shops there—for the better.

About TimeWellScheduled

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TimeWellScheduled is a secure online time and attendance software that is 100% tailored to meet your scheduling needs! In addition, TimeWellScheduled facilitates employee attendance tracking & payroll tasks and enhances staff management capabilities. Plus, our service is free for up to 10 employees!

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