11 Common customer support challenges and how to overcome them (2024)
A common challenge in customer service is navigating tough customer interactions, especially when you can't offer a refund, and the customer takes their frustration to social media. To address this, preparing your team with the right strategies is essential, although it's impossible to anticipate every scenario.
Understanding and overcoming typical customer service obstacles is important. This involves going beyond standard solutions and requires a deep dive into the most prevalent challenges in the field. Your team can gain valuable insights and best practices by learning from experienced customer service experts and coaches.
Our research from various expert sources will provide practical tips to handle these situations effectively. These guidelines will help you maintain professionalism while ensuring a positive customer experience, even in the most demanding circumstances. Keep reading to explore the top strategies for managing common customer service challenges.
What is customer support?
Customer support involves assisting customers when they have questions or issues with a product or service. It is a reactive process where the support team responds to inquiries, aiming to resolve problems quickly and help customers use the product effectively. The goal is to ensure customer satisfaction and facilitate a positive experience.
Why is customer support difficult?
Customer support is challenging for both customers and representatives. Customers face difficulties due to high emotions, a lack of understanding, limited time, and inadequate communication. While, customer support representatives deal with angry customers, complex problems, multiple communication channels, resource limitations, and the risk of burnout. Understanding and addressing these challenges can enhance the overall customer experience and make the job of support representatives more manageable and rewarding.
Top 11 customer support challenges and tips to handle them
Handling angry customers
Today, dealing with upset customers is a common scenario in the world of customer service. But, how you handle it can either boost or harm your business reputation. The best option is to stay calm and handle the situation gracefully.
In your customer-facing roles, encountering an angry customer is inevitable. It's necessary to remember that their frustration is often rooted in their experiences with the company's products or services rather than with you. In these moments, demonstrating empathy and understanding towards their concerns is crucial. Acknowledge their feelings and show genuine interest in resolving their issues.
Maintaining composure is key. Staying calm helps you think more clearly and reflects positively on your professionalism and the company's commitment to customer satisfaction.
By providing exceptional service, even in challenging situations, you uphold the values of our customer service department and play a pivotal role in enhancing the customer experience.
You can also use the H.E.A.R.D. technique. (Hear, Empathize, Apologize, Resolve, Diagnose). Keep your responses focused on the facts and always aim to find a solution for the customer. As a gesture, consider offering a freebie after the conversation wraps up—it might help them calm down. Check out this comprehensive guide for effective tips on managing angry customers.
Not knowing the answers to the question
When faced with a customer query you can't immediately answer, view it not as a setback but as an opportunity to demonstrate proactive problem-solving. Rather than resorting to a simple "I don't know," use this moment to guide the customer towards potential solutions.
You can explore various approaches, like directing them to relevant resources in our knowledge base or suggesting alternative solutions. If the query requires more specialized knowledge, don't hesitate to connect the customer with a team member with the expertise to assist. This approach resolves the customer's issue and reinforces the efficiency and resourcefulness of your brand's customer support.
For instance, DevRev empowers teams with in-app self-help knowledge-based articles. Articles in a knowledge base aid customer problem-solving through tools like Turing bot or a customer portal. It is created by internal users and is linked to specific products, empowering customers.
Articles can be Draft, Published, Review needed, or Archived, with access permissions. To create, go to Settings > Support > Knowledge Base> Articles. Automated creation is possible with the smart import KBs snap-in.
Serving multiple customers at one time
In customer support, serving multiple customers involves handling various tasks concurrently—engaging in chats, responding to emails, and taking calls. It's like juggling multiple tasks. But, it's important to avoid overloading your support team, as too much pressure can lower their performance.
In today's fast-paced environment, striking the right balance is key. You need to efficiently resolve customer issues without overwhelming your support agents. Achieving this equilibrium ensures satisfaction for both customers and staff.
Implementing a ticketing system that automates routine inquiries can be a game-changer for SaaS companies. This allows support representatives to concentrate on more complex issues. A prime example of an AI-powered CRM solution that facilitates this is DevRev.
Not having the right tools and channels
If your customer service team lacks the necessary tools, it's akin to attempting construction without a hammer and nails — inefficient and ineffective. Agents require seamless access to key resources:
- Comprehensive customer information
- A well-structured product knowledge base
- Efficient communication channels with other departments
The absence of these essential tools can lead to customer frustration and dissatisfaction, potentially driving them to seek services from competing companies. Ensuring your team is well-equipped is crucial for maintaining high customer satisfaction and loyalty.
To help, customer service managers can observe how their agents work and identify any roadblocks. They can then provide the necessary tools, such as customer service software, self-service portals, or better ways to understand what a customer expects before they reach out. This can make a big difference in improving the customer experience.
One such feature DevRev offers is shared inbox conversations by connecting through any channel.
Enhancing agent training by thoroughly explaining the customer journey is another effective strategy. This ensures that agents fully understand their role and can perform more efficiently. Equally important is allowing them sufficient time to complete their tasks. This approach may involve reducing their call load or expanding the team with additional hires. The goal is to streamline operations, benefiting the team and the customers.
Your AI copilot for customer support
Not meeting customer expectations
Meeting customer expectations presents a recurring challenge in customer service, even for top-performing companies. The anticipation for swift and efficient resolution of inquiries is widespread among customers, yet this is not consistently achieved. There are various reasons for this, such as support agents lacking the necessary skills, failing to provide the expected level of service, or customers feeling unfairly treated or ignored.
To address this issue, it's crucial to collect customer feedback through surveys, chat logs, and interviews. Direct input from customers is invaluable for improving the overall customer experience. Use this support process to make incremental changes, even small adjustments can accumulate over time and lead to a better customer service experience.
Here are a few of the ways to exceed customer expectations,
- Establish customer expectations
- Take action after receiving feedback
- Be accountable for your mistakes
- Appreciate returning customers
- Measure customer happiness
- Track sales and service team performance
Ultimately, customers just want the best experience with your business. They expect you to keep your promises and look out for what's best for them. While several tech tools help to do the job. One such customer support CRM tool offered by DevRev helps to resolve customer queries and improve brand values by exceeding customer expectations.
Struggling due to high employee churn rate
High employee turnover in customer support can lead to a decreased knowledge base, reduced service quality, loss of productivity, decreased customer satisfaction, and increased operational costs.
High turnover in the customer service team, often seen with employees who view the role as a temporary job — like those in transitional career phases — poses a significant challenge. This results in a continual cycle of training new employees, which can temporarily impact the quality of customer support. To address this, companies should focus on strategies to stabilize their workforce and maintain consistent excellent service.
To make things better, organizations need to find ways to keep experienced people around or find those who want to stick around longer. They need to address the root causes of turnover and implement effective retention strategies. This can help improve service quality, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction. If you’re a B2B company and looking to retain your customer service representatives team, understanding and calculating the customer churn rate is essential.
Improving customer slow response time
In industries where time is of the essence, swift responses are crucial. Consider a scenario where a software application encounters a bug. It can be incredibly frustrating if customers face delays and receive unclear communication from customer service. This leads to dissatisfaction and can result in customer attrition and harm the brand's reputation.
Therefore, prompt and transparent customer service is key to maintaining customer loyalty and a positive image.
- Make genuine promises that you can fulfill and maintain transparency when addressing customer concerns.
- Consider offering temporary solutions to alleviate customer pain points.
- Provide regular updates on the progress of service tickets raised by customers.
- Empower your customer service agents and provide necessary communication channels.
- Providing customer self-service tools like knowledge-based articles, chatbots, and online community support.
- Actively seek customer feedback and use it to identify areas of improvement.
Addressing gaps in your product or service
Maintaining customer satisfaction depends heavily on identifying and addressing gaps in your product or service.
Identifying and addressing gaps in your product or service is necessary to maintain customer satisfaction. However, there are times when responding to customer feedback can be challenging. To overcome this, transparency and honesty is the key. Offering email notifications upon feature release keeps customers informed and meets their requirements.
Additionally, utilizing DevRev's OneCRM integration and support insight features enhances customer satisfaction and fosters long-term loyalty. By leveraging DevRev support's capabilities, businesses can effectively identify and respond to customer needs, reinforcing their commitment to continuous improvement through transparent communication and feature releases.
Reducing ticket backlog
A ticket backlog refers to unresolved support tickets exceeding the agreed response time outlined in your customer support strategy or service level agreement (SLA). Its causes include spikes in ticket volume, staffing issues, unexpected events like outages, or the need for improved workflow efficiency. When you have a lot of support tickets to deal with, it can be overwhelming. But don't panic! Here are a few ways to help you get through it.
- Focus on buying yourself more time by responding rather than resolving. This means sending a personal email to each customer that tells them you're working on their issue and will get back to them by a certain timeline.
- Don't set up an autoresponder that tells customers you're backed up. This will only annoy them more.
- Make sure to personalize your responses. This will show your customers that you care about and are working to resolve their issues.
- Set realistic deadlines for yourself. Don't try to do too much at once.
- Take breaks when you need them. It's important to avoid burnout.
- Ask for help if you need it. Feel free to assign tasks to other team members without hesitation.
- Remember that speed is only one of the important things in customer service. What matters most is that you're responsive and helpful.
Consider using Turing AI to check each ticket, assess its status, and improve the support experience for customer service employees. This helps streamline workflows and enhance overall service quality for customers.
Overcoming customer support feedback challenge
Are you making the most of customer feedback? Let's chat about some common mistakes companies make when diving into feedback. First off, don't ask the wrong questions. Instead of generic service, go for the gold with specific queries like, "What can we improve?" Also, drop the long and complicated surveys – keep it short, around 2-3 minutes.
Also, don't forget the personal touch. Be friendly in your emails, use their first name, and remind them why their thoughts matter. Lastly, maintain a consistent flow throughout the process. Analyze everything consistently over time, avoid manual coding shortcuts, and remember, it's not just about the volume of feedback, but the impact. So, if you're aiming for actionable insights, let's keep it real and avoid these gaps.
Keeping employees happy and engaged
"If a customer likes you — and continues to like you — they will continue to do business with you. If they don’t, they won’t."
Keeping customer support employees happy and engaged is one of the customer support challenges that most businesses face. The best solution is to foster a positive work environment, offer growth opportunities, provide competitive compensation, listen to concerns, and showcase care, to maintain a healthy customer service workflow.
This approach helps businesses improve customer satisfaction, reduce turnover, increase productivity, and a better brand reputation.
Turn customer service challenges into opportunities
We know customer service challenges are inevitable, but they don't have to be a nightmare. In fact, one can take this as an opportunity to build stronger customer relationships and boost your business's reputation.
Here’s why tackling customer service challenges is crucial:
- To prevent customer churn: A poor customer service experience can lead to customers leaving for the competition. 86% of consumers are more likely to switch brands after a bad experience.
- To protect your brand reputation: Negative customer reviews can spread quickly online, damaging your brand's image and trust.
- To increase customer loyalty: Excellent customer service can turn customers into loyal advocates who will promote your business to others.
Learn more about support solutions provided by DevRev to address your ongoing challenges. These services are crafted to suit your business requirements. Enhance your customer satisfaction score and reach your support objectives by engaging with our customer support team.