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Strategic Solutions: Overcoming Common Challenges in Customer Service Process Improvement

Presented By: Amanda Winstead

 Strategic Solutions

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Providing an excellent customer experience is imperative for all consumer-facing businesses. If your customers aren’t having their needs met in a pleasant and efficient manner, they can very easily go elsewhere. This doesn’t mean you need to get this right straight out of the gate.

Few successful businesses don’t dedicate time occasionally to making targeted customer service process improvements. Change is difficult, though. There can be hurdles to overcome along the way. The good news is that by getting to know why process change initiatives tend to fail and making plans accordingly, your team can develop a customer experience that truly influences your success.

Get to Know the Reasons for Failure

Whether this is the first time your business is planning to make customer service process improvements or you’ve adjusted before, it’s important not to simply focus on what components could influence your potential success. Rather, you should also get to know the challenges you’re likely to face. This enables you to better prepare your change management process and make more informed decisions.

There are some relatively consistent reasons the majority of process improvements fail. Many of these don’t necessarily result in the immediate downfall of an initiative but rather may arise after some initial apparent success.

The issues to be aware of include:  

  • Overcomplicating the improvement process: Not all change has to be elaborate to be effective. If there are too many unnecessary steps toward executing actions or instructions aren’t easy to follow, you may find your staff relatively quickly abandons the new processes.
  • A lack of clarity in communication: If all stakeholders aren’t able to understand both the imperatives for change and how to achieve it, it’s unlikely that your adjustments will take hold. This is why it’s so important to communicate your plans as clearly as possible. Don’t just explain verbally. incorporate visual forms of communication that enable everyone to see the route forward and how they fit into it.
  • Refusal to adapt or change plans: Unfortunately, some leaders can be so wedded to their ideas that they aren’t open to adjustments when the early signs of potential failure first arise. Accept that things can go wrong. It enables adaptation before things get too bad.   

While these common reasons for failure are useful, it’s also important to establish what challenges may be present for your specific business or industry. Review data on what has negatively affected attempts for change in the past. You can then utilize this information in conjunction with an understanding of the more general issues to create a solid route forward.

Communicate and Collaborate with Staff 

While customer service process improvements need to be driven by leadership, they shouldn’t simply be dictated from above. Overcoming challenges during a process change often involves collaboration and feedback from everyone — including all staff members. Remember that their interactions with consumers and operational tools every day often mean they have customer service insights that leadership may not.

Approaches that can help you overcome process improvement challenges could include:  

  • Discuss the causes of process change difficulties: Make time to regularly sit down with customer service departments and adjacent departments. Outline the reasons that process changes are important and the difficulties that often arise when implementing them. Invite insights from staff members on the subject and what they find to be problematic both in the current processes and when changes are introduced.
  • Communicate about performance-related concerns and how changes relate to these: Often, the best way to understand where there are customer service problems is to look at consumer feedback. This could come from various sources, including in-person interactions, social media comments, and survey data from your customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Avoid blame-oriented meetings. Use the feedback as an opportunity for everyone to collaborate on a solutions-driven approach to change.  

Remember that communication and collaboration shouldn’t simply be tactics you tack onto your processes. Rather, you should build them into your company’s overall change management protocols. The more integral these elements become to your operations, the more naturally and positively they’re likely to impact change planning, the adjustments you make, and customers’ experiences.

Adopt Improvements Mindfully

Once you have a good awareness of the challenges and gain insights from all team members, you should proceed mindfully with your changes. Effective customer service change requires a great deal of attention to the details of adjustments and how both consumers and staff are responding to them. This can certainly be a challenge in itself, as there are likely to be various other aspects of your business that also require your attention.

Therefore, some of the actions that can help make your changes a success include:  

  • Utilizing effective time management practices. By being strategic with the time you have available, you can handle your essential tasks while making space to focus on actions that can improve your business. Review your everyday activities and identify which you can delegate to trusted individuals or perhaps even take advantage of automated tools. Setting clear goals and crafting your schedule around these can also ensure you have visibility over your work and can dedicate time slots to change management activities.
  • Incorporating set periods of assessment. Analyzing your customer service processes regularly can be key to meaningful improvements. However, part of proceeding mindfully is also analyzing the progress of the change period. Commit to dedicated assessment sessions every week, perhaps shifting to monthly once processes settle in. This enables you and your team to spot issues early on and make adjustments.
  • Creating channels for employee and consumer suggestions and concerns: Alongside communicating the changes to stakeholders, you should also make a point of inviting them to raise issues as the adjustments are implemented. This can also communicate to employees that you value their opinions, which may boost motivation and engagement. Set up communications channels specifically for this purpose, including email accounts, online chatbots, and members of management for one-to-one conversations.  

It’s worth also bearing in mind that implementing your changes mindfully doesn’t tend to be a quick process. Don’t expect immediate results. Having a little patience gives you and your staff some space to thoroughly plan, adopt, review, and give feedback on your adjustments. This tends to set you up for the most positive outcomes for everyone involved.


Change is good. For customer service processes, the right changes can help meaningfully boost experiences in ways that affect engagement. It’s important, though, to take the challenges of change seriously. You need to examine what hurdles stand in the way of effective process adjustments and involve your stakeholders in identifying the best route forward. This takes a serious commitment of time and energy, but it can also garner new operational practices that are right for staff, consumers, and — ultimately — the success of your business.