13 Customer Experience Challenges to Overcome (2024)

Customer experience challenges

Customer experience is becoming an increasingly important aspect of managing customer relationships. With advancements in technology, customer standards and expectations have risen. Customers expect fast, personalized, and seamless experiences when interacting with your business. Underdelivering on these experiences or failing to meet customers where they are can result in decreased loyalty and damage to your brand’s reputation.

To meet rising expectations surrounding customer experiences, you must first understand the common challenges organizations face.

What Is Customer Experience (CX)?

Customer experience (CX) refers to the overall perception and impression a customer has of a brand or company based on their interactions and engagements throughout the customer journey. It encompasses all touchpoints, from initial awareness and consideration to purchase, onboarding, product usage, support, and beyond. CX is a critical factor in building and maintaining customer loyalty, satisfaction, and advocacy.

13 Customer Experience Challenges & How To Overcome Them

From ever-evolving customer expectations to the challenges of digital transformation, there are numerous hurdles modern brands have to navigate. Here are thirteen of the most common CX-related challenges facing organizations:

1. Understanding customer preferences and behaviors

User research is critical for CX success, since it helps you determine which products to develop and UI and UX options that cater to your major customer personas so that you can personalize your product experience for a wide segment of users. But, depending on your team’s size, you’ll run into issues sourcing accurate data, managing changing customer expectations, and measuring the right metrics during the user research process.

For instance, inaccurate or incomplete customer data can lead to misguided insights. Data may be outdated, contain errors, or lack context, making it difficult to make informed decisions about customer preferences.

Likewise, your product analytics and behavioral analytics data might be scattered across several platforms (e.g., your CRM, ERP, website analytics platforms, etc.), making it challenging to build a 360-degree profile of your customers to understand how they interact with your product and common pain points.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Developing customer personas based on data and insights: Create customer personas using a combination of common usage patterns, product and behavioral analytics, and 1:1 discovery.
  • Conducting regular surveys and customer feedback sessions: 1:1 conversations, surveys, and polls can help you gauge your customers’ sentiment, understand usability gaps in your product, and any problems they expect your product to solve intuitively.
  • Leveraging AI and end-user analytics for predictive understanding: ML models can help you detect behavior patterns in your customers’  active usage, location, spending, demographics, and psychographic data.

2. Identifying and prioritizing CX problems

Whether your customers are dealing with long wait times, poor UX (on your website or application), billing and payment issues, areas of high dropoff and user friction, or difficulty reaching support, you need to first:

  • Identify these problems
  • Measure the extent to which they exist using product analytics and user research (e.g., how many users rated us poorly on our last NPS survey?), and finally
  • Create a plan for solving them, along with a cross-functional team of experts

Ways to Overcome:

  • Implementing real-time UX monitoring and analytics: Heatmaps, session replays, and A/B testing can help you pinpoint technical issues and isolate UX problems by viewing your product from your users’ perspective.
  • Creating a cross-functional team to prioritize and address issues: Include experts from your product, engineering, marketing, and customer support teams.
  • Investing in a digital adoption platform to quickly develop in-app guidance and support: A guided onboarding platform removes friction from your product by teaching users to navigate your UI independently, complete with on-demand self-help content and personalized onboarding.

Create contextual user onboarding flows, drive adoption of new features, and make in-app announcements with Whatfix

Whatfix is a no-code digital adoption platform that enables product managers to create contextual in-app guidance, product-led user onboarding, and self-help user support – all without engineering dependencies. With Whatfix, create branded product tours, user onboarding checklists, interactive walkthroughs, pop-ups, smart tips, and more – all enabling customers and users with contextual guidance at the moment need. With Whatfix, analyze, build, and deliver better user experiences.

3. Efficiently leveraging and integrating technology

Apart from 1:1 user interviews, most of the CX optimization workflow can be fully automated. But, it can be a nightmare choosing a CX software platform out of the sea of options available (e.g., G2 has 522 and 281 software tools listed under live chat and customer self-service respectively), training your team to use it to its maximum capability, and integrating it with the rest of your stack.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Choosing the right technology aligned with specific goals: If you’re trying to personalize your onboarding experience, you need a digital adoption solution; if you need to get deeper insights into user behavior patterns, a behavioral analytics tool would be a better bet—define your challenge and then find a solution for it.
  • Regularly updating tools and documentation
  • Integrating systems for a seamless, multi-channel experience: For instance, you can integrate your email marketing software and CRM to automatically update a customer’s profile when they reply to a marketing email.

4. Empowering employees with robust knowledge and comprehensive training

Even after purchasing expensive customer experience software (CRMs, helpdesk software, live chat platforms, etc.), many organizations are surprised when no improvements follow, simply because their employees weren’t trained to make the most of their new stack. Likewise, your organization’s customer experience will always be limited by the level of your team’s knowledge of your services, how to fix common issues, and customize your product for customers.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Providing continuous product knowledge training and support: Through 1:1 coaching sessions, webinars, on-demand training videos, and courses.
  • Aligning employee goals with CX objectives: This is most practicable with customer service teams where you can pay support agents a bonus for every customer interaction that’s rated above average (e.g., 8 – 10) on your NPS or CSAT scoring.
  • Encouraging employee engagement with customer-centric culture

5. Breaking down organizational silos

An organizational silo exists when an individual or team has (essential) information that isn’t shared with other teams of individuals—and according to Dimension Data’s 2020 CX benchmarking report, 54% of organizations report that their customer experience operations are operated in silos.

In practical terms, this means that:

  • The engineering team doesn’t receive bug reports early enough (or at all) from CS agents,
  • Sales reps and account executives can’t upsell more valuable features, because the developer team didn’t keep them in the loop with product releases, and
  • Product managers can’t iterate on strategy quickly enough because they have a poor outlook on customers’ pain points.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Promoting interdepartmental communication and collaboration: Even a once-weekly brief shared between departments will make sure the entire organization has a better perspective on customers’ needs, issues, and opportunities for growth.
  • Implementing tools to share data across the organization: Use an internal wiki, knowledge base, or update log where users can post updates and comments, tag teammates, create separate threads, etc.
  • Establishing unified goals that transcend departmental boundaries: Big-picture goals will get your organization working together closely once you consistently remind everyone they’re on the same team.

6. Securing leadership support to boost CX initiatives

Prioritizing your organization’s customer experience will often require investing heavily in CX software, retraining your workforce, and rolling out assistive technology such as guided onboarding and personalized product tours. Without securing buy-in from leadership, the efforts will be dead on arrival, and you’ll never get the budget or approval to make lasting changes.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Demonstrating clear CX ROI: Sources like Zendesk’s annual CX Trends and HubSpot’s State of Service report can help you present realistic ROI figures and explain how investing in CX pays off.
  • Aligning CX strategies with overall business objectives: How will your proposed investment in CX increase revenues, profitability, and customer retention while reducing churn?
  • Building relationships with key stakeholders to garner support

7. Lack of personalized solutions

A one-size-fits-all approach to customer experience might speak to a large potential customer base while ignoring the needs of your ideal user persona who are more likely to support your product, pay a premium, and eventually become brand evangelists promoting your product for free.

Without a personalized CX experience, you’ll record consistently poor retention, high churn, and a long time to value as your customers will struggle to pinpoint features relevant to their specific use cases.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Implementing personalized marketing and support initiatives: Segment users into different buckets, funnel them through different onboarding and product experiences, and use product analytics to determine how to personalize the experience to their need further
  • Utilizing analytics to understand individual customers’ contextual needs: Tools like funnel analysis, cohort analysis, heatmaps, activity maps, and A/B testing can help you split users’ needs based on their usage scenarios.
  • Regularly reviewing and adapting personalization strategies: Whether you’re showing users different onboarding flows or product feature lineups, or localizing your support language based on their location, you need to review the data at least quarterly to determine how it affects engagement.

8. Improving awareness of CX initiatives

This point ties back to No. 5 (breaking down organizational silos) since it’s hard to communicate with the rest of your organization why CX initiatives matter when every department operates completely independently. 

As a result, your customer experience efforts are more likely to fail when different teams don’t understand why they should go the extra mile, pitch in to make customer interactions exceptional, and prioritize requests from the customer support team.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Regularly communicating updates and success stories: Share positive CX figures, customer stories, reviews, and comments with the rest of your organization.
  • Creating a culture where CX is a shared responsibility: For instance, you can second employees to your CX team at least once per quarter, use a shared inbox to collaborate on support tickets, and assign experienced non-CX staff to edit help articles

9. Properly managing customer data

Managing customer data is a three-pronged challenge that usually scales with you the larger your organization:

  • Collecting and managing a wide range of data points to build detailed customer profiles,
  • Managing personally-identifiable information securely and ethically, and
  • Converting your database into actionable insights that’ll guide your CX strategy

Ways to Overcome:

  • Implementing robust data collection and quality assurance methods: Define clear objectives, create a data collection plan, and collect the data you need via multiple channels (surveys, questionnaires, product analytics, etc.) for higher reliability.
  • Ensuring data security and compliance with regulations: Make sure you understand regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA, always obtain informed consent, encrypt data in storage and transit, and keep your customers in the loop regarding any changes to your data handling policies.
  • Leveraging data for actionable insights and improvement

10. Ensuring a seamless and consistent customer journey across all channels

Ensuring a seamless and consistent customer journey across all channels can be a significant challenge for customer experience (CX) teams due to several reasons:

  • Multichannel Complexity: Many businesses interact with customers through multiple touchpoints, including websites, mobile apps, social media, email, phone, chat, and in-person. Coordinating and maintaining consistency across these diverse channels can be complex.
  • Diverse Customer Preferences: Customers have varying preferences for communication channels. Some may prefer self-service on a website, while others may prefer talking to a live agent on the phone. Meeting these diverse needs while maintaining consistency is a challenge.
  • Data Integration: To provide a seamless experience, CX teams need access to real-time customer data across all channels. Data integration and synchronization can be technically challenging, especially with legacy systems.
  • Channel Silos: Organizations often operate with channel-specific teams or departments, each with its goals, processes, and technologies. This siloed approach can lead to disjointed customer experiences.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Developing a comprehensive omnichannel strategy: Ensure your customers can pick up conversations across devices (mobile or desktop) and channels (email, live chat, SMS, and social media) with little friction.
  • Regularly review touchpoints for consistency

11. Building strong customer engagement and trust

Getting customers engaged and cultivating their trust guarantees higher retention, average revenues per user, and customer satisfaction. But, CX teams often struggle in this regard, either because of a lack of the appropriate technology, unresponsive support, or the lack of commitment to actually supporting customers after the sale or subscription.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Responding to negative reviews with empathy and solutions: Always respond to negative reviews in detail, explaining what transpired and offering a fix, without blaming customers
  • Implementing measures to demonstrate value for customers’ time: Offer to pick up conversation via asynchronous channels, compensate disgruntled customers with discounts and perks, and keep customer conversations straight to the point.

12. Driving a culture and mindset shift towards a customer-centric approach

From the top-down, you can purchase expensive CX software, enroll your staff for seminars and 1:1 training, and paste placards about being customer-friendly all over your offices. But, it takes an organization-wide mindset shift to get your staff to respectfully listen to customers, go the extra mile, and constantly focus on improving customer experience 1% at a time.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Fostering a customer-first culture through leadership and incentives: For instance, your company’s leadership can volunteer to engage with customers on social media threads, address every issue escalated to them personally, and offer new users a 1:1 onboarding experience.
  • Addressing employee experience as part of the CX framework: Where do your employees fit into your CX matrix? Create a strategy to pay out a bonus based on the quality of your employees’ customer-facing conversations to encourage more thoughtful interactions.
  • Developing strategies that are aligned with operational and financial metrics

13. Insufficient responses and mitigating customer churn

Surveys and polls are some of the most accessible channels brands can use to collect feedback, understand how their users interact with their product, and possible changes they can make to improve their customer experience. Sadly, surveys often paint an incomplete picture, magnify marginal issues, and can distract CX teams from improving their most pressing pain points that attack their revenues and customer retention the most.

Ways to Overcome:

  • Implementing proactive customer outreach and support: Create a schedule to proactively reach out to customers throughout their lifetime, either manually or on autopilot (i.e., using if-them email workflows).
  • Analyzing churn to identify root causes and preventive measures: Use cohort analytics, session replays, and journey maps to understand why significant percentages of your customers drop out at different stages of your funnel.
  • Creating a feedback loop for continuous improvement: Convert the key takeaways from your customer conversations into user stories your engineering team can turn into features.
Solving Customer Experience Challenges with Whatfix

With a digital adoption platform (DAP) like Whatfix, organizations can enable customers with more contextual, guided user experiences. 

Whatfix’s data-driven DAP approach uses an ‘ACE framework’ to analyze customer experiences and user paths, create in-app guided content and self-help support to empower end-users and customers, and engage customers with more contextual, moment-of-need support, in-app experiences, and surveys.

Whatfix’s no-code editor enables customer-facing teams and product managers to create in-app tours, flows, tooltips, pop-ups, and more – as well as curate all their customer service, success, and support resources into an embedded, self-help knowledge base that allows customers to search for the contextual issue they’re facing.

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What Is Whatfix?
Whatfix is a digital adoption platform that provides organizations with a no-code editor to create in-app guidance on any application that looks 100% native. With Whatfix, create interactive walkthroughs, product tours, task lists, smart tips, field validation, self-help wikis, hotspots, and more. Understand how users are engaging with your applications with advanced product analytics.
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