loose puzzle pieces that indicate a challenge

Top 10 customer experience challenges faced by organizations and how to overcome them

November 24, 2021

Organizations are often not alone with the customer experience (CX) struggles they face and they grapple with rapidly changing contexts and challenges. How an organization faces these challenges can determine whether it succeeds, or fails as it engages with its customers. So, within these conditions and with an ever increasing number of CX challenges being faced by businesses, what options do we have? In this article we will explore ten of the most pressing customer experience challenges being faced by businesses in 2022 and how journey mapping can assist in overcoming them.

Key challenge 1: Being able to identify and prioritize CX problems and opportunities

So what?

CX problems beyond our awareness can perpetuate bad experiences for our customers, employees as well as our broader reputation as an organization. Not being able to know where to focus can also result in ineffective effort and redundant innovation.

How will service design help?

Dive into your customers' lives. Through insight mining, developing personas and journey mapping you are able to accurately highlight where, when and how customers are facing problems, creating space for service innovation and CX improvements.

Insight

Only 7% of the customer voice is shared with CX leaders” 2020 McKinsey Customer Experience Survey

Key challenge 2: Having actionable customer data

So what?

The true value of data is when it can tell us a story, or reveal insights on which we can take action. Even though we have the ability to capture vast amounts of data it is also important that there is broader context and we have the ability to apply it in meaningful ways.

How will service design help?

A service design mindset focuses on giving context and meaning to the data we collect. A customer journey provides this context and can highlight the areas where you need to gather data about your customers lives that can be used for service innovations.

Insight

“It is predicted that 74 zettabytes of data will be created in 2021.” (one zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes) (Statista – Volume of data information created)

Key challenge 3: Consolidating experiences from being isolated fragments of engagement into a cohesive journey

So what?

Having a fragmented customer journey can be painful for both customers and service providers. The result is people that feel unsupported, confused and stressed. Having no awareness of your customer journey creates even more risk for negative experiences and deprives your organization of many opportunities for improving CX.

A common challenge a lot of companies face is that some of the people hold some of the story, but none of the people hold the whole story. This is a result of siloed departments where “I do my job, you do yours”. Each department may do a good job at serving customers at their stage, however the broader picture of the whole customer journey can become fragmented and lost.

How will service design help?

Journey mapping allows you to analyze your service delivery from end-to-end, from the early stages of when a customer discovers you, right until they have received your services and are contendedly waving goodbye. This way you can create journeys that have a sense of flow, are more consistent and leave people feeling supported as they receive services.

Insight

"65% of customers expressed frustration over inconsistent experiences or information presented across channels”  - Accenture

Key challenge 4: Integrating new, digital channels of communication

So what?

The ways in which we communicate are always changing, especially in our current technological and social climate. As each progressive generation becomes more adept and familiar with technology, so too do their expectations to be able to interact with, receive help and services in digital ways. Organizations have to embrace and integrate these new channels of communication, especially in the digital space. How might you send consistent messages and how can you make the most of this emerging digital environment?

How will service design help?

Understanding the context of your customers and the ways in which they need to interact with your organization can be a key for understanding and addressing their needs and give a clearer picture of how new channels of communication can be integrated. Journey mapping can put interactions within the context of users daily lives, their technical preferences and preferred channels of communication.

  • Journeys for different personas can identify what channels are most relevant
  • Journey maps allow us to see what digital journeys look like

Key challenge 5: Getting rid of UX that is bad enough to be an instant turnoff

So what?

Customer decisions about whether to continue engaging with a brand, website or service can be swift and unforgiving. Websites that take long to load, elements placed incorrectly, help boxes that keep popping up at awkward times.... UX shapes perceptions within seconds.

How will service design help?

Quality understanding of UX is quality understanding of the journey people take when they engage with your services. Mapping this journey can help to prototype and understand pain points - creating the opportunity to remedy or mitigate experiences that push people away. Service design methods such as prototyping are also great for producing low-cost, tangible models of how service can be delivered. Prototypes can be used with users to test assumptions, gain rapid feedback and see whether there are any major UX issues before investing more time and money.

Key challenge 6: Updating, upgrading or replacing existing technologies

So what?

Technology often makes our lives easier when undertaking tasks that we are faced with, however knowing when and why to update existing technologies can sometimes be challenging. Relevant change always speaks to addressing people's needs.

There can be a great deal of wasted time, effort and money pushing to implement a new program or tool that doesn't serve the needs of people who use it.

How will service design help?

Service design pushes you to interact with the people you work with, to identify the types of challenges they are faced with and how to overcome them. Understanding and envisaging what this future journey might look like are all factors that need to be understood and adapted to.

Key challenge 7: Having employees who really care about CX

So what?

Employees are the ultimate root of any experience your customers have. Thus, your employees should be the first thing you care about if you want to provide satisfying services to your customers.

How will service design help?

By applying your CX knowledge in the domain of employee experience (EX) you can strengthen relationships with employees.

Through creating employee journeys you are able to understand the rhythms, needs and working conditions that augment your employees’ ability to be a productive team member. Empathize with your employees to understand how to support them to do great work; while they are working remotely; when they need check-ins; what ideal times for meetings are; and how work can accommodate people's families and different bio-rhythms.

If you would like to read more about this topic, check out our article about mapping employee experience.

Key challenge 8: Strengthening partnerships and stakeholder networks

So what?

The connectivity you have with other people can be an invaluable supportive force. When you don't have a clear picture of the stakeholders in your service it can be difficult to know who to speak with, seek support from, or how your service acts as part of a system.

How will service design help?

Building stakeholder maps in parallel to journey maps and personas can illuminate how networks can be strengthened. By developing a strong customer experience vision, it becomes easier to share what you do and gives others a clearer picture of how they can get involved and provide support.

Insight

"In today’s world of profit margins, big data, and automation, the businesses who preserve their humanity are those that stand out.” - Tyler Penske; Thriveglobal

Key challenge 9: Mastering internal collaboration

So what?

Mastery over internal collaboration and the way we manage backstage processes has a dramatic impact on how our services are delivered and received. When we are able to coordinate the flow behind the scenes, people on the front line are empowered to deliver exceptional services.  

How will service design help?

What the world of business can learn is to articulate the conditions for winning at CX, then to systematically map out the roles and responsibilities of different employees for creating these conditions. Journey mapping makes this mapping explicit and the results can be a sense of flow that impacts all parts of a business from staff satisfaction, purpose and customer success.  

Key challenge 10: Making CX a collective effort of all company members

So what?

Customer experience is the responsibility of the entire organization rather than just being a siloed activity for specific teams. An organization is a system, nothing acts in isolation and when you influence one part, it will always impact another.

Take for example the payroll team, how do they influence CX? They are too far removed to be considered relevant you might think. But when we consider the backstage processes that keep a place humming, how long without getting paid would it take to affect the life and work of someone working in customer service?

How will service design help?

By articulating, aligning, connecting and sequencing the journey of customers it certainly contributes to the collective understanding within an organization of how their role relates to the overall journey of a customer.

Summary

Journey mapping and service design approaches in general have emerged as reliable means to embed the adaptability required to face emerging business challenges. Along with a genuine desire to improve the lives of your customers, these tools have the ability to improve both the experiences of employees and customers as well as having a positive impact on business profitability and growth.