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Does your business routinely overlook customer pain points?

It’s easy to get blasé about certain aspects of your business, and equally easy to overlook pain points that customers might experience when dealing with your company - simply because you haven’t stopped to question your procedures, or investigate ways to improve your customer’s experience. And it goes without saying, that if customers find it painful to deal with your business, they can - and will - go elsewhere.

To illustrate the point, the Kepler Track in South Island’s Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s great walks. I had the fortune to walk most of the 60km track over Christmas… meandering through leafy, well-kept forest paths, dipping into cool clear lakes, climbing slopes and stairs to above the tree line, sidling along precipitous mountain tracks and descending through leafy tracks, fern-filled valleys and past magnificent waterfalls and rivers.

The scenery is nothing short of breath taking and well worth the aches and pains of previously desk-bound muscles – but there is one major detractor for most tourists along this track, and other tracks in the region.

The detractor is the diminutive 2-3mm black sandfly found in swarms almost everywhere along the track. The females of the species pack one of the itchiest bites I have yet to experience. The type of bite you want to attack with steel brush...

These sandflies have small wings and can’t fly fast – so trampers (as hikers, or backpackers, are called in NZ) can (largely) avoid being bitten as long as they keep moving. Stop for anything longer than 30 seconds and the first sandflies will appear, shortly followed by their mates, all with their homing devices set for any area of skin you might be thoughtful enough to expose.

The presence of sandflies forces trampers to march the day’s trek – non-stop – from start to finish. The alternatives are to cover up all exposed areas, or to douse and smother the body in nasty chemicals (effective) or natural (not that effective) insect repellent in order to enjoy the views, let alone a relaxing lunch break.

Local Kiwis, however, seem to have developed an immunity to the itchy bites, and largely underestimate (and often totally fail to understand) the discomfort these creatures cause tourists. The standard local response is to tell people to either toughen up or stick to the cities – a classic case of overlooking a tourism customer pain point.

Are you overlooking any customer pain points?

Take a few minutes to assess your business and make sure you don’t have your own home-bred sandfly swarm to irritate customers.
•    Is it easy to find out product information and prices?
•    Is your customer service prompt, friendly and efficient?
•    What about after-sales service and product backup?
•    Are there any difficulties you can eliminate, processes you can streamline or red tape you can remove?

Finally chat to your staff to see if they are aware of any customer pain points, and don’t forget to talk to your customers as well to find out if there are any buzzing nuisances you can eliminate. It's about making it easy and pleasant to do business with your company. You don't want to irritate people and send them off to the competition.

This is something my power company should have thought through when devising their mindless marketing trap.