The Top 5 CX Challenges Confronting Companies

There are lots of customer experience (CX) challenges confronting companies today. The good news is that company executives are aware of the issues. The bad news is that there doesn't seem to be an easy or quick way of overcoming these obstacles; executives have been trying to address them for the last few decades.

The biggest and most common issue is the strongly held belief among consumers that the quality of service (the CX) is poor and getting worse in most companies. Customers want what is referred to as a frictionless experience, where they can interact with companies in any mode, pivot from one channel to another, use multiple channels at the same time, and more. Customers also strongly maintain that they should have the right to help themselves or easily reach a live agent with the necessary knowledge, tools, and communications (interpersonal) skills to do the job efficiently. In other words, customers expect to interact with businesses the way they want, when they want. They believe that omnichannel, frictionless support is their right, while most companies continue to struggle with digital transformations.

The second major CX challenge for companies is the need to deliver highly effective omnichannel self-service capabilities. Customers increasingly prefer to help themselves and expect self-service capabilities to be available in all channels, to be easy to use, to work well, and to allow transfer to a live agent (without waiting incessantly) when necessary. The issue is that approximately 90 percent of companies are still offering their customers outdated interactive voice response (IVR) solutions with highly structured and limited options for self-service. A surprisingly large number of these self-service solutions have not been updated in more than five years, and almost all of them are available only in the voice channel.

The third highly impactful CX challenge confronting companies is the Great Resignation. This one is somewhat positive for contact centers, as it has brought executive attention to a number of staff-related concerns that have negatively impacted these departments for decades. There are many aspects of this challenge that companies need to address, but the two most important ones are how to hire and onboard qualified resources and how to keep agents engaged and retained. When contact centers cannot find or retain qualified customer-facing employees, they cannot respond in a timely manner, making customers wait 30 or more minutes to speak to a live agent. However, simply throwing more people at the problem is not the answer. When customers speak to an agent who is not properly trained and cannot properly assist them, it makes the situation worse for the customer and the agent. Employees must have the necessary training, knowledge, and resources to do their jobs.

The fourth major challenge confronting companies is the need to improve security and reduce fraud. A large percentage of the fraudulent activity that occurs in companies comes in through the front door—the contact center or other service department. To reduce the risks and better protect the company and its customers, many organizations use a two-factor authentication process. If done properly and only when necessary, this can be positive for all constituents, but that is not what happens in too many companies. Agents are required to over-verify their customers, which causes frustration that is often taken out on the employee. This results in an equally poor experience for the customer and agent.

This brings us to the last of the top five CX challenges for service organizations in 2022: the need to keep costs down while enhancing both the customer and agent experience. Reducing expenses has always been a top objective (or challenge) for service organizations, but more so now as interaction volume scales, the complexity of transactions increases, and customers become more demanding.

It should be clear that practices and systems that might have worked in the past—although many never worked for a lot of organizations—are less effective today and are not going to work in the future. Companies that want to deliver an outstanding CX must rethink and recreate most aspects of their service organizations and contact centers. It's time for organizations to transition from today's static environments to the dynamic operating departments of tomorrow.

To learn what companies need to do to greatly improve the CX while enhancing agent engagement and keeping their costs down, look for my next column coming out on June 30.

Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting, is an expert on contact centers, analytics, and back-office technology. She has 30 years of experience helping organizations build contact centers and back-office operating environments and assisting vendors to deliver competitive solutions. She can be reached at