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Roy Atkinson

What are the Biggest Customer Service Challenges Faced? Solutions from 9 Experts!

Category: Customer Support

Last updated on Mar 9, 2023

In today’s world, as the advancements in the technology, the accessibility of information, product quality, etc., are enormous.

The ‘Customer service’ serves as an integral part to achieve customer gratification. Obviously, the preeminent reason for facing challenges by professionals, who are involved in providing customer service would be the failure to achieve customer gratification.

Here I have cited some of the valuable insights shared by various service leaders which could be of great value to provide solutions when we struggle facing challenges in achieving customer satisfaction.

Jeff Toister

Jeff Toister
Author. Consultant. Trainer. at Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.

What are the biggest customer service challenges ever faced?

Whenever I’ve been on the frontlines serving customers, the biggest challenge has always been a lack of the right tools and resources to keep customers happy. It might be a defective product, a restrictive policy, or just a lack of accurate information. I remember working for a company many years ago that had a broken inventory system. Customers would place an order, thinking the item was in stock, only to discover a day or so later that the item was really out of stock. Even worse, we usually lacked accurate information on when the backordered items would be available again. So customers were understandably angry, while those of us working in customer service could only apologize, perhaps suggest an alternative item, or offer a small discount.

As a customer service leader, the biggest challenge has always been consistency. You might have one star player on your team, but how do you get everyone to serve customers at that same level? It takes a lot of patient training, coaching, and encouragement. You have to hire right, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. And you need to provide your team with the resources necessary to do a great job. Customer service leaders often work long hours, so doing all this can sometimes feel like an impossible task.

What are the steps taken to resolve the challenge?

I’ve always tried to be as knowledgeable as possible when serving customers. Knowing all I can about my company’s products, services, policies, and procedures has allowed me to quickly find solutions to problems that otherwise might have been difficult to solve. For example, when I worked in a clothing store in high school, I volunteered to help whenever we received new inventory. This allowed me to see new products as they came in, learn something about them, and see exactly where they went in the store. That knowledge would come in handy later on when a customer would come in looking for something in particular, and I could easily guide them to the right product.

As a customer service leader, the most important thing you can do is work with your team to create a customer service vision. This is a shared definition of outstanding service that gets everyone on the same page. Using a vision as a guide for everything the customer service team does makes it easy to create a consistent service operation.


Roy Atkinson

Roy Atkinson
Support Industry Analyst at UBM

What are the biggest customer service challenges ever faced?

I will name two challenges from my previous position, and I’ll call them Case 1 and Case 2.

Case 1 occurred on the day of a Board of Directors meeting taking place on our office campus. Our main lobby, through which the VIP’s would enter, featured a large video wall, showcasing recent achievements of the organization. The video wall had been installed at the request of our audio-visual department, and IT really knew nothing about it. The IT service desk received a call from the lobby security desk saying that the video wall was not working, with only two hours before the VIP arrivals.

Case 2 occurred while I was transferring the contents of a hard drive to another computer. Those contents included data from scientific experiments which had been run over the course of two years, and, according to the owner of the drive and computer, had never been fully backed up. The transfer process unexpectedly failed, and both drives appeared to be blank after the failure.

What are the steps taken to resolve the challenge?

Case 1: The service desk contacted me to have a member of my support team to go look at the video wall. Before dispatching a technician, I called the audio-visual (AV) department to find out why they weren’t handling the situation, and to gather as much information as possible for the technician. The AV folks said a third party had done the video wall installation, and they weren’t at all familiar with the technology side of it, except that it was computer-powered, but not by a normal PC; the computer had been purpose-built for the wall. I dispatched one of my techs, and he was able to discover that one of the computer power supplies had failed. We searched our inventory and found a compatible power supply. Replacing the power supply did the trick, and the video wall was functioning again—with only a little time to spare before the board members came through the lobby.

Case 2: With the owner of the computer, drive, and data at my side, I worked with some utilities to recover as much as possible from the failed transfer. We then searched other drives and online directories to recover data. We were able to get almost all of it back, and nothing critical was lost.

In Case 1, the service was restored before the intended audience (the board) even knew it wasn’t working. The key here was gathering information and knowing what we could do with what we had on hand.

In Case 2, the customer was included throughout the process, start to finish, and was actively engaged—and very grateful. My job was to keep the customer calm and engaged as we worked through the issue.


Shep Hyken



Customer Service and Experience Expert at Shepard Presentations, LLC.

As an outside expert looking at how brands are managing customer service challenges, I see one of the biggest challenges in that customers have higher expectations than ever before. The reason is simple, and this is where some brands make a mistake. The mistake is that they keep comparing themselves to their competition. Customers no longer compare the experience they have with a brand to a direct competitor. They compare it to the best service they have ever received from anyone or any company. That raises the bar, and some may say that’s unreasonable. We can’t all be an Amazon or a Nordstrom. And, we don’t have to copy them to be successful. What we can do is take a look at these rock star brands, recognize what they do well, and adapt it to our process.


Adrian Swinscoe



Customer Experience/Service Consultant at Adrian Swinscoe

The biggest and continuing challenge that I face in customer service is creating a culture of continuous improvement. Too often do I see organisations go through an improvement/change/transformation programme, make some changes, achieve some results and then stop. The truth is that being able to deliver great customer service or experience is a never ending process. If you are stuck then I’m a big advocate of starting small, generate some momentum, achieve some wins to build convince and to learn before thinking about scaling. Its all about momentum, learning and changing improvement from an initiative into a habit.


Nate Brown

Nate Brown


Co-founder at CX Accelerator

What are the biggest customer service challenges ever faced?

In a past life, the biggest challenge was creating an environment in which the agents were supportive of each other. We have found this to be the key to creating both a better work experience…and ultimately a better customer experience. Accountability and iron-clad processes are both excellent, but it can never achieve as much as a group of co-workers who sincerely take care of one another.

What are the steps taken to resolve the challenge?

We had to slowly change the culture and the way we viewed each other. Our team eliminated any sense of competition, even playful competition, in favor of collaborative goals and team-focused rewards. We created a context of friendship in which people had opportunities, both inside and outside standard working hours, to develop meaningful relationships. By leveraging tools such as DiSC and StrengthsFinder, we were able to learn each other’s communication tendencies and better utilize one another’s gifts. At the end of the day, leadership must take steps to create this family atmosphere through their own example. Feel free to reach out if I can help brainstorm on any ideas!


Sam Hurley


Sam Hurley

Managing Director at OPTIM-EYEZ IT LTD

In our tech-focused digital world, I’m sure many others will relate when I say, “Things go wrong.”

Tools stop working, automation malfunctions, and customers or subscribers don’t receive what they intended.

It inevitably happens when third parties are included in the mix, regardless of how much time and energy you invest into perfection.

And when it does happen, the best way to navigate customer service is simple: CARE.

It’s fundamental to the nature of customer experience that we all crave.

Be personal, understanding, and even offer more than what was originally expected. Be 110% grateful for your customers and their interest — and prove to them you are genuinely sorry you let them down.

This is exactly how I act in such an event.


Jeremy Watkin

Jeremy Watkin


Director of Customer Experience at FCR

What are the biggest customer service challenges ever faced?

There are so many challenges to choose from in customer service including handling escalated customers, staffing and scheduling agents optimally, selecting the right technology and integrations, tracking the correct metrics, and on and on and on. If I had to select just one, however, the biggest customer service challenge I’ve ever faced is myself. Early in my career I was quick to lose my patience with coworkers and customers — especially if the current challenge seemed insurmountable — or if the call I was on took me thirty minutes past the end of my shift. There have been some moments over the course of my career in customer service that I’m not proud of.

What are the steps taken to resolve the challenge?

A couple different strategies have helped me improve the way I serve customers. First of all, I began observing the great customer service I receive from others and have made an effort to emulate that. Second, I began a process of self-discovery. Some books and assessments that I highly recommend include Strengthsfinder by Gallup, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, and Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. These resources have helped me immensely both personally and professionally.


Jeanne Bliss

Jeanne Bliss


Customer Experience Practitioner & Pioneer at CXPA

I continue to focus on Leadership. Specifically identifying the things that are getting in the way of people delivering value. Bring people to the table. Give them a voice. Believe the issues that they bring up. Include them in identifying the value erosion and creation moments for both customers and employees. THEN work to build and improve them.


Heidi Craun

Director of Platform at Hyde Park Angels

The biggest challenges I’ve faced in Customer Experience manifested in issues like third-party updates that we were unprepared for and that rendered a product unusable, product enhancements that didn’t meet user needs, and teams that simply didn’t deliver on the commitments necessary in order to facilitate cross-functional processes. These are all seemingly disparate, but what each of those challenges boiled down to is a lack of understanding about and appreciation for the value of the CX organization — the expert understanding those professionals have about the company’s customers, how that expertise is a valuable asset that should be leveraged by most (if not all) departments in a company, the importance of fostering excellent customer experience across all channels, and what individuals in CX endure on the front lines when a company misses the mark.

That’s a big issue to overcome, as it involves inspiring cultural shifts and educating teammates outside of CX, where we have less influence. One of the ways in which I tried to tackle the issue involved closing the customer feedback loop with other teams — particularly product and engineering. This involved surfacing and sharing actionable data on a weekly basis that the rest of the company could leverage. Exposing what drove support volume and influenced customer satisfaction on a granular, data-driven level inspired awareness and accountability for how different parts of the organization impact each other and the customer. This wasn’t just negative data; when bugs were fixed and long-requested features were added, everyone in the organization could see how their work had created value for customers and reduced organizational costs. This approach led CX to become recognized as one of the most data-driven teams in the company, and it helped to overcome the misperception that CX is merely a human band-aid for company failures.

In order to build bridges with other teams and reward outstanding customer-centric behavior, my teams started giving “Honorary Customer Advocate” awards to non-CX teammates who went above and beyond or showed exceptional commitment to customer success. These awards were given rarely, making them more coveted, and everyone in the company was notified when someone received an award.

Lastly, one of the key things we started doing was hosting new team member shadow trainings for all new employees. For a half day, everyone who joined the company would shadow a CX person to learn about our customers, how product challenges affect their lives, and what the process for troubleshooting those issues looks like on the CX side. This helped us to set the tone for CX as value creators who are collaborative, and it fostered a greater sense of understanding and empathy for the customer, whom everyone in the company is ultimately called to serve.

Also, check out our Guide to Creating Customer Service Policy


What are the Biggest Customer Service Challenges Faced and Solutions from 9 Experts

In any customer-driven business the way you treat your clients will be a factor in your success. I hope this post is of value.

Murali S

Jan 25, 2019

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