Five Common Obstacles to Great Customer Service

Very often in life, the things we do wrong are just as important as the things we do right. If you’ve been struggling to improve your customer service and aren’t seeing the desired results, maybe it’s time to look at your customers’ overall experience—the good and the bad—and then focus on fixing what’s wrong.

Below is a list of five common service issues that your customers may be experiencing which could be working against your efforts to improve their satisfaction. Remove these barriers, and you just may find your customer service approval ratings at an all-time high.

  • Customers typically contact you two or more times to resolve an issue. If your first-contact resolution (FCR) number isn’t up to par, you’re making customers work too hard to get what they need. (You should be measuring FCR on multiple channels, if you have them.)

To remove this barrier: First, make sure your Communicators are trained and well-equipped to handle the needs of even the most complex customer queries. That includes being knowledgeable about the technology they use, the procedures for finding information, and the product itself. Make sure you have provided enough resources for them to get the job done, like a knowledge base or product information sheets. Second, review your operations processes. Intelligent call routing and IVR menu options should be delivering customers to the right person the first time around.

  • Customers can only contact you via one or two channels. It’s a challenge to provide great service on multiple channels, but limiting options for contact simply means you’re shifting the burden onto your customers.

To remove this barrier: Make people’s lives easier by giving them a number of contact channels that also naturally fit your corporate strategy. There’s no need to jump into every contact channel available. Find out where your customers are, and use that as a starting point.

  • Customers contact you directly to resolve most issues. It’s burdensome for both you and your customers if there are no obvious avenues for issue resolution other than to contact customer service. You know there are solutions available, but it seems that they don’t.

To remove this barrier: Provide ways for customers to solve their own problems, and help guide them to the right solution. If the website is the best way to update account information, let them know. If billing issues are better handled with a call, tell them that, too. Other information, like frequently asked questions, should be prominently placed on your website.

  • Numerous customers call about the same issues. If customer feedback consistently relates to similar issues, that’s a clear sign of a problem (even if it isn’t communicated as a complaint). Hopefully you’ve been tracking customer feedback; now it’s time to take action.

To remove this barrier: Act now to ensure that future customers no longer have to contend with this issue. Identify the cause of the problem and fix it. If it’s related to product design, inform your design team and work on a solution. Is it a communication issue? Discuss it with marketing and sales and craft a new message. Whatever it is, use this opportunity to turn customer feedback into actionable insights.

  • Customers have to navigate a complex Web-based “help center” or phone IVR system before they can speak with a Communicator. Much customer frustration stems from feeling “trapped” in IVR systems or having to click through too many unhelpful help options. Some customers may end up abandoning the effort altogether.

To remove this barrier: Though you might think all customers prefer to handle things themselves, many people still feel more comfortable speaking with a human (or require a person’s help to get the job done). Don’t make it difficult to reach a live Communicator. Make sure your website offers a clear contact number, and that your IVR system has an easy exit. Sometimes the sound of a live voice is all it takes for a customer to go from resentful to grateful.