What Frustrates Your Customers The Most?

If tackling all of customer experience and touchpoints is too much, start here.


After last week's post on identifying customer touchpoints, I heard that some of you just thought it was too much, too complex. Note: it really isn't if you start small, but here's another way to start.

Either fix the most painful problem first


Fix the little irritants.

What is the one thing that your customers would like to see change?

What drives them nutty?

What do you always hear them complaining about?

Now often, a big problem is something that you feel like you don't have any control over. See below:

In Atlanta there is a large outdoor shopping center with metered parking in front of all the stores.

There is also garage parking which is free for two hours, but a bit of a pain to get in and out. Now, if you are doing serious shopping, lunch, etc., that garage is fine. But if you are just running into a shop to check something quickly or pick something up, it’s a pain. Why?

Because of those silly parking meters. They are too expensive and give you little time and don’t take credit cards (not kidding). If you feed that meter one quarter, it gives you five minutes. Five.

It’s like, “Ugggggg - I just want to run into West Elm to see if they have this one rug and I don't have a quarter!

Obviously the best solution here would be to upgrade the parking meters, but if that's not going to happen, let's get creative.

Until you convince the city to adjust the ridiculous meter situation, could you put out a sign (and send your customers an email) saying that you will pay their parking for up to 20 minutes? Have a bowl of quarters out for them to grab and go? Offer to go feed their meter while they are shopping?

great message

easy solve

customer care at a low price point.

To keep your brain going in the right direction, here are some solutions that we’ve seen:

  • Fast food restaurants letting the customers serve their own drinks Problem: "I always want a refill but don't want to wait in line."

  • Doctor's offices who now let patients fill out paperwork on a computer and they can see their past entries. Problem: "why do I have to fill out the same paperwork EVERY time I come in? Nothing has changed!"

  • Home design stores who let you take things home on approval. Problem: "I love it, but am not sure it's going to work in the room, but I don't want the hassle of returning it if not."

Here are three actual issues I have had over the past couple of months. Easy fixes.

"I can never find your phone number when I'm on your mobile site." If your customers never call, well, okay, I guess you can disconnect your phone service. But think about when they are trying to see what time you close - or if you are open on a holiday - or checking to see if the new shipment came in . . . . . Bonus points if it's a click to call. Actually, no extra points. That is a must-have.

"What time is happy hour?” I often am curious about deals or fun happenings. Or, maybe just wondering if a restaurant is open on a holiday. If you have an Events tab, please list these things there. “Events” is not just live music. And if it's a big holiday, create a pop-up box (just please take it down when the holiday is over).

“Do you have a good hair dryer or a bad hair dryer?” Okay, this one may be just me, but have you happily noticed that a few hotels have gotten much better with their in-room blow dryers? Seriously, rarely do I see those doll-size things attached to the wall. There are some good hair dryers out there, and once in a while I find a hotel that has them. I have called sooooooo many hotels and asked. Most of the time the front desk folks laugh, but have no idea. If you are a hotel and have a good hair dryer, why not put that on your rooms page? If you invested in this, then it must be something your guests care about, so tell them! And hyperlink to a (quality) image. Is it a nice surprise when you go into the bathroom and find a Cera T3? Yes, but would have been even nicer if I had known and hadn't used up valuable packing space.

“I can never figure out this weird online registration. Forget it!” This is so real and it’s not just an irritant. It is a real problem as you are losing business. There are a lot of options for online registration - please make it easy. I don’t have time to figure it out. And, if your audience includes millennials — forget it.


Now it’s a stretch to call the situations below real problems. I know — much bigger things to worry about these days. But to keep on the same brainwave, let’s go with it.

Problem: getting a massage and forgetting to bring a hair tie. A local spa provides new hair ties in case you forget yours.

Problem: It’s pouring down rain outside and I just bought a great book (or anything that isn’t waterproof) in a store that uses beautiful paper packaging. They put the beautiful bag into a plastic, waterproof bag. This is an example of fixing my problem before I realized I even had one!

Problem (okay - really just an irritant): sitting on the phone listening to hold music thinking I am going to lose my mind because it is either on a loop or is just AWFUL. Recently, I got to choose 1-Classical 2-Pop 3-Acoustic Guitar. There might have also been a choice for silence. If you have hold music, there's a good chance you have this option.

Problem: we are in a formal restaurant on a summer night when it is 90 degrees outside. It is FREEZING in here. This is an oldie but still works. It's not that it's always colder in fine dining restaurants, but it’s that the female guests often have on sleeveless/cocktail. Have several wraps that they can borrow. So easy. Oh, and please display/offer them well - have fun with it! Does the server come over with them draped over his arm? Is there a mini-menu with the colors/fabrics? Keep it on-brand, and even if she doesn't need it, she will remember it.

Identify the touchpoints. It’s a big deal! But if you can’t get to that yet, find either the biggest problem or the small irritant. Think creatively and solve it. And then solve another, and another, and another. Look at you! You’re already addressing those touchpoints.