Common pain points

Common pain points describe problems people experience when accessing products and services. We’ve identified common pain points across multiple life events. People experience these pain points regardless of the service, level of government or sector.

The common pain points were most recently iterated in January 2021. We generated them from analysis of research across 11 life event journeys.

Common pain points help us understand the systemic issues that impact how people access services. They help us identify whole-of-government opportunities to make information and services simple and easy to access.

Common pain points can be applied in different ways:

  • to guide conversations on collaborative work
  • help contextualise existing work
  • inform new work and encourage more targeted research.

Use the common pain points alongside evidence, expertise and testing specific to the context they are being applied in.

11 common pain points

1. Not aware of progress or important changes

People don’t know about where processes are up to, why things happen or important changes. This could be because they did not receive or access information. It becomes difficult for them to plan and can put them into an avoidable negative situation.

2. Difficult to find information

People experience challenges finding the information they need. This could be because it is spread across multiple sources or the amount of information is overwhelming.

3. Difficult to understand or use information

People can find it difficult to make sense of or use information. This can be because the language is too complex, it is not available in their preferred language, or is presented in a format they can’t access. Sometimes information can be inaccurate or out of date.

4. Not aware of available support

People are not aware of services and resources that could support them. This means that they do not look for or access support or information that could improve their situation.

5. Uncertain about entitlements and obligations

People are unsure about their entitlements and obligations when interacting with service providers. The policies, rules and processes are often complex and difficult to understand. This means that they can miss out on support or not fulfill obligations.

6. Unclear how to reach an outcome

People are uncertain about what they need to do to reach an outcome, particularly when they need to interact with multiple  services or organisations. They often feel lost and frustrated and may need to ask for help.

7. Too much time and effort to complete tasks

Accessing services can be time consuming and difficult. This can include waiting in person or on the phone, putting together applications, gathering evidence, following up on mistakes or checking progress. Long times taken to receive services can cause challenges when people need immediate support.

8. Required to provide information multiple times

People find it frustrating to provide the same information multiple times. This is magnified when they have already provided the information as part of achieving the same or a similar outcome.

9. Unable to use preferred channel

People are not able to use their preferred channel to complete a task. This could be because they are pushed towards a particular channel, experience issues using a channel or need to interact with multiple channels. As a result, tasks are more difficult or impossible for them to complete without extra assistance.

10. Difficult or impossible to complete task

People face challenges using services that do not account for their needs and circumstances. Needs and circumstances can be diverse and influenced by factors such as age, gender, culture, language, ability, location, or socio-economic status. This means people may not be able to use a service, use work arounds or settle for an unsuitable interaction.

11. Not getting the right support

People feel that they aren’t getting the right support to help them reach an outcome. This can be for a range of reasons including the support not being enough, the staff they deal with not having the right skills, a lack of trust in the organisations they have to deal with and or a perception of poor service quality.

Common pain points poster

Download the Common pain points poster (PDF, 192Kb)

You can find detailed information about the common pain points on our Life Event Communities.

Get in touch

For more information or to learn more about GovX please visit Life Event Communities or email