When explaining a business’s services or products, many of us can identify the common “pain points” that these services or products solve. But do we really understand why solving those pain points matters to customers?
As with all of her posts, Bernadette Jiwa tells the right story in this recent post. She prompts us business owners to dig deeper into our customers’ why. Just identifying our customers’ pain points isn’t enough. We have to internalize them.
“[W]e might list the pain points of someone (like my mum), who has trouble opening jars with her arthritic hands, as impaired grip, limited mobility and so on,” Jiwa states. “But we form a more complete picture when we do the work of understanding the impact of those pain points. We get a sense of the emotional cost of living with those pain points when we think about what’s at stake for the person we want to serve.”
Jiwa asks us to stand in our customers’ shoes and consider how our customers feel when they can’t accomplish what they want.
Take, for instance, this first fill-in-the-blank statement: “I’m tired of doing [X] and not achieving [Y].”
For some of my customers, I could fill in this statement as follows: “I’m tired of trying again and again to write something and yet never achieving a clear, concise message.”
Or take this statement: “I’m tired of feeling [X] and never being [Y].”
For this statement, some of my customers may think, “I’m tired of feeling embarrassed about my writing and never being confident about what I’m trying to convey.”
My customers want to be credible, make a notable impression, and create content that is consistent and high in quality. But not all of them have confidence in their ability to do so. While handing projects off to someone who is more knowledgeable and skilled in writing works for many of my customers, others want to develop their own skills to become better writers themselves. Both want to overcome the same pain points; their reasons, though, are quite different. Their “internal narratives,” as Jiwa calls it, are unique to their own personal wants, needs, fears, and desires.
Identifying the pain points our services or products solve is helpful in knowing why certain customers come to us and others don’t. But understanding the emotional weight of those pain points reveals much more about the customers we serve; similarly, that understanding reveals much more about the story we, as business owners, should be telling.