The Biggest Customer Experience Challenges (According to Our Community) and How to Tackle Them
To kick off 2023, we surveyed our customers across various service industries, as well as customer experience experts in our community to report on their biggest customer experience learnings of the previous year and their plans for the year ahead. We asked about the best ways to measure CX, the most successful methods of coaching and recognizing frontline teams, their biggest focus, learnings, challenges and goals. In this series, we’ll be diving into the survey results to provide new ideas on how you can make 2023 the year your business wins on customer experience.
We’re not going to sugar coat it, improving customer experience can come with some real challenges. Whether it’s creating a genuine sense of motivation amongst frontline employees, scaling your CX efforts or getting more positive online reviews, nailing the customer experience can sometimes seem like a continuous uphill battle. The good news? Uphill battles can be conquered.
Read on to discover some of the most common customer experience challenges from our community, and most importantly, strategies to help you tackle them.
Challenge: Onboarding & Equipping New Frontline Employees
When asked about the biggest customer experience challenges, Stacy Armijo from Amplify Credit Union says “Even when we did find success [hiring], we realized our training function wasn't ready to onboard and equip employees at the volume and speed we needed”.
Stacy is not alone. According to a report by Arlington Research, 39% of frontline workers don’t feel prepared to do their job properly, and 52% of frontline workers reported that they had not been provided adequate training when taking on their new role.
As the customer experience is so heavily reliant on the frontline employee, it’s critical that they have the skills, motivation and confidence (in a short period of time) to deliver experiences that keep customers coming back for more.
Solution: Coach Using Service Standards & Customer Feedback
To get all employees on the same page (and fast), start by ensuring that every individual is familiar with your company service standards. These are a set of tangible guidelines that help to define a) what a customer can expect from a service, and b) how the experience should be delivered by the frontline.
They are clear, actionable and measurable instructions that your frontline teams can use to make sure they’re ticking all the boxes for an awesome customer experience.
When it comes to ongoing training, let customer feedback do the work for you. Instead of using high level, generic customer service training (which can be timely, costly and often misses the mark), connect your teams to real-time customer feedback from the first day on the job. This helps them gain a firm grasp on what they’re nailing, and what they need to work on to create a truly memorable experience.
Managers can also use this feedback to spot trends and coach for specific gaps in knowledge.
Challenge: Collecting & Standardising Customer Data
Tim Daloisio, Sr. Director of Strategy & Operations of Eyeful Media said, "Our biggest challenges were in standardizing data for automation”.
Over time, our customers make a variety of purchasing decisions, actions and behaviors that can inform us on how best to interact with them. When we go looking, there’s a ton of data to work from. But as Tim points out, standardizing that data and using it effectively (and in a way that’s scalable) can be difficult to say the least. How do you trigger automatic surveys without being able to see when a customer became a customer? How do you tell the right customer about specials they might be interested in? How do you automate referral requests to your biggest brand advocates?
Solution: Choose Smart, Simple Technology
Choose your tech stack wisely with simple automations and integrations in mind. Don’t overcomplicate it – figure out what data is most important and what automations can be set up to use that data in the most meaningful way. For example, leveraging NPS data to set up automatic follow ups, as Tim did.
“Our biggest win was leveraging NPS feedback to turn a former customer and "passive" into a new engagement and promoter due to quick responsive action”. – Tim Daloisio
The sooner you get onto this, the better. The longer you leave this kind of work the more painful and time-consuming it becomes.
Challenge: Supporting & Empowering the Frontline
Frontline work is tough work. Folks on the frontline take on a huge responsibility of customer experience and have historically been undervalued, underpaid and underappreciated. Supporting them, and creating an environment where they feel genuinely empowered, motivated and appreciated is a challenge felt by many service businesses, including Anna Egan from A1 Air Conditioning & Heating.
“One of the biggest challenges we faced in 2022 was dealing with attrition due to mental health difficulties.”
This was an extremely common sentiment from everyone we questioned, and after the last few years.. I think we can all relate.
Solution: Listen Up!
One of the most simple, and impactful solutions to creating a supportive work environment is to listen to your employees. Instead of jumping the gun and running for solutions, you need to thoroughly understand what the problems are first. What are your team struggling with the most? Do they feel valued for the work they’re doing and iif not, why? What do they think could be done to improve their day-to-day at work? The only way to find out is to ask.
For larger organizations, ensuring every employee feels seen, heard and valued can seem like an impossible task. However, with the right technology, you can achieve listening at scale.
An employee feedback tool can help open up the conversation between managers and frontline employees, and create a seamless way for individuals to communicate with their higher-ups.
Be sure to show real world action in response to this feedback, and balance technology with face-to-face check ins too. If employees feel like they are just shouting their opinions into the void, you’ll do more harm than good.
The customer experience game is full of challenges. From onboarding, equipping and supporting frontline employees, to collecting and standardizing impactful customer data, it can all feel a little overwhelming at times. Using the strategies above, you can start to tackle these challenges one by one, and move towards a company with happier employees, which as we all know by now, means happier customers.
Up next: AskNicely's Survey Best Practice Guide - New & Improved for 2023