Measuring Pain Point Severity to Prioritise Business Actions

by | Mar 1, 2021 | 0 comments

Pain point analysis is essential within eCommerce. It provides a method for assessing the severity of pain points across your website, allowing retailers to prioritise areas for improvement, and understand where their time, resources and budget will have the most impact. Companies investing in their customer journey must be clear about what value particular activities will generate. 

Common sense suggests to prioritise the issue which impacts the highest amount of people, however, this isn’t always the best approach. Perhaps 100 people are affected by an issue, however, this issue is minor, and will not cause any of those individuals to abandon your website. 

Meanwhile, 2 people may be experiencing a very severe issue. So severe that they abandon your website and never return.

Which is more important for your eCommerce team to prioritise?


Define your users, and customer journeys on your online store

Anybody can identify pain points throughout an online store, however selecting pain points to measure at random, rather than addressing customer journeys one by one, won’t enable any journeys to be fully optimised from start to finish. Instead, retailers should focus on identifying end-to-end customer journeys and optimising the weaker touchpoints. This way, we can focus on streamlining overall customer journeys and ensuring consistency throughout rather than individual pain points.

To do this, retailers should categorise their users and map out key journeys within these categories, defining important interactions within each journey.


Decide which key metrics you want to measure

Typically, measuring a pain point considers not just the number of individuals affected by it, but the severity of the pain point. There are a number of data sets an online retailer might harvest in order to measure the severity of a pain point, most notably, impact, reach and task completion time. These metrics are gathered automatically and can be harvested by eCommerce teams via analytical tools.

However, there are other valuable metrics we can leverage. A more holistic approach utilising a mixture of data sets provides a more comprehensive picture of which aspects of your website require your attention. These data sets require users to provide feedback on the experience and provide insights into a user’s perceived experience rather than the organisation’s assumptions based on user behaviours. These include customer satisfaction, customer effort and net promoter score (NPS).

A combination of the two data types provides a more comprehensive and accurate picture of a user’s experience with a particular touchpoint. 


Design a scoring system to assess pain-point severity

The easiest way to define the severity of a pain point is by rating each metric in a pre-defined and consistent manner. Internally, this will require your team to determine scales for each metric and agree upon fixed criteria that will categorise pain points into particular levels of severity upon the scale.

For example, a typical scale may look something like this:

  • Critical: If we do not fix this, users will not be able to complete the scenario.
  • Serious: Many users will be frustrated if we do not fix this; they may give up.
  • High: There are a few barriers to a user achieving their goal.
  • Moderate: Impacts core journey and users experience reduced performance.
  • Minor: Users are annoyed, but this does not keep them from completing the scenario. This should be revisited later.



Let’s compile a list of the data sets we decided to gather earlier and rank each of these metrics on our aforementioned scale, where a score of 1 is a critical issue and a score of 5 is a minor issue:

  1. Impact: score of 4 (moderate)
  2. Reach: score of 1 (impacted upwards of 80% of users)
  3. Task completion time: score of 5 (10 seconds – the quickest 20% of users)
  4. Customer satisfaction: score of 4 (user was satisfied)
  5. Customer effort: scored 5 (minimum effort)
  6. NPS: scored 4 (likely to recommend)

Medium has generated a formula for calculating the overall pain point severity based on these metrics, however, retailers can create a formula that suits them – the important thing is that is consistent:

(Impact x Reach x Task completion time) +(Customer satisfaction x Customer effort x NPS)
Divided by total possible score (250)
Multiplied by 100 to find the percentage

(4 x 1 x 5) + (4 x 5 x 5) = 120

(120 / 250 = 0.48) x 100 = 48

So, our pain point score is 48!


What does this mean?

It is important that your team defines their own benchmarks internally to determine pain point thresholds. Typically, this becomes clear over time, as you become more familiar with which scores require immediate action. However, the higher the score, the better that touchpoint is performing.

As an example, you may decide that any score under 10 needs to be actioned immediately and is earmarked as a high priority. On the other hand, scores over 80 indicate that individuals have a higher tolerance – these will become a lower priority on the corporate agenda. Of course, threshold tolerance depends will vary from business to business.

Ultimately, this approach ensures quick wins that will have the largest impact. Many companies begin customer-experience efforts with plans to reinvent the wheel, however, one of the single most important things a company can do to achieve a gold-standard CX is link activities to the value they will add. Simply prioritising CX initiatives based on their severity is an important first step in the roadmap to eCommerce excellence.

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders for a range of marketing initiatives.

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