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Don't focus CX improvement on customer pain points

18th May 2018
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From a customer impact perspective, it may seem to make sense that you would start prioritizing your CX improvement efforts based on a list of customer or user pain points — in a similar fashion to how an emergency department triages incoming patients. However, the problem with this approach is that it only factors in one dimension of the prioritization puzzle: the customer impact.

Problems arise when CX teams need to move from a list of customer pain points to actual improvement projects.

For example, while a company’s IVR system might be a major pain point for customers, making it a high-priority project might not make sense given the cost, the stakeholders involved, or the long-term goals of the business.

The CX prioritization program of a major US automobile manufacturer lost all momentum, for example, after it consolidated a laundry list of customers’ pain points from multiple business units and then struggled to define what projects they could do to best address the underlying issues.

On the surface, the idea of starting with a list of solutions and working backward to figure out how they will be completed seems to fly in the face of design thinking, which starts with an untested hypothesis and no clear solution in mind. However, with prioritization, CX initiatives require a placeholder solution to assess the expected customer impact, business impact, and feasibility of a proposed project.

In cases where a pain point may have several possible solutions, each proposed project idea can be entered into a prioritization tool to assess the relative customer and business benefits of the proposed solution in respect to others. In addition to customer impact, other dimensions worth considering are cost reduction, new revenue generation, corporate strategy, and brand alignment, as well as risk and compliance factors.

The dimensions of CX prioritization are outlined in Forrester’s CX transformation playbook.

Ryan Hart is principal analyst at Forrester. 

Customers need a reason to remember you. Download Forrester’s complimentary report to learn how incorporate signature moments into your CX and leave a lasting impression on customers.

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Sampson Lee, founder of Global CEM and creator of PIG Strategy
By Sampson Lee
18th Dec 2018 06:08

I am so glad to see this Forrester post.

More and more people and organization, like Forrester, are beginning to realize that the widely held belief in the CX world “Customer pain points are bad and have to be eliminated” is fallacious and no longer valid. (Caution: Not every customer pain point is good. Only the Good Pain should be allowed)

In my opinion, there are five types of pain points:

1) Inspirational Pain: By solving it, you can create innovative solution, product or business model.

2) Unnecessary Pain: There is little or no value generated for customers; customers suffer for nothing.

3) Good Pain: By allowing it, your Branded Pleasure can be further enhanced.

4) Bad Pain: When the Good Pain falls to a level deemed unacceptable by your target customers, it becomes a Bad Pain.

5) De-Branded Pain: The attribute (pain point) is supposed to be the pleasure peak because it reflects your brand promise.

To conclude, only the Good Pain should be allowed. For the remains, you should either solve, minimize, or eliminate, and spend different level of resource addressing them.

For more details, please see "Why “Customer pain points are bad and have to be eliminated” is Fallacious"

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