How to avoid roadblocks to great customer service

Shep Hyken
min read
How to avoid roadblocks to great customer service

What gets in the way of creating a great customer service experience for you and/or your organization?

Shep Hyken customer service roadblocks cartoon

Is it a process that is clunky, inconvenient and difficult for the customer? Is it people who aren’t properly trained or don’t have the right people skills? It’s easy to ask yourself these questions and self-diagnose your organization, but have you ever asked your people?

That’s exactly what my friend and client, Diane Kniowski, did. Diane is president and regional general manager at Univision. As she moved into this role, she realized the opportunities that would come from providing a better customer experience. The question she asked her team was simple:

If I can remove one roadblock that gets in the way of you doing your best work, what would it be?

While this question was general, it focused on what was getting in the way of success for both the employees and their customers. Her team came back with their answers and consolidated them into 26 areas of opportunity. To date, 25 of those original 26 areas have been eliminated. I say “original 26” because as some of these “roadblocks” were eliminated, new ones were discovered. This exercise, as simple as it sounds, was her way of creating a process improvement initiative that has been wildly successful.

This is similar to an exercise that we do in our customer service workshops. We ask participants to identify the problems and complaints they hear most from both internal and external customers. We add one extra question: “How often does this happen?” We list them all, vote on the top three, and then have a team discussion on how to eliminate or mitigate these problems and complaints.

Here is something interesting related to the “how often” question in our workshops. When someone says, “It happens all the time,” I ask, “Why?” Why hasn’t anyone done anything to at least reduce it from happening “all the time”? This is just common sense. Unfortunately, when you’re in the middle of your work, you don’t or can’t always take the time to step back and analyze certain situations.

What responses you get from Diane’s question or our workshop exercise will vary. Some answers will be major “aha!” opportunities, while others will seem trivial and unimportant. All must be considered, and nobody’s issue should be casually dismissed without a good reason as to why it won’t be pursued.

So, what are you waiting for? Sit down with your team and find your roadblocks to more success. Once these roadblocks and problems start to get eliminated, you’ll be amazed at how other issues start to resolve themselves. This translates into a better experience for both employees and your customers.


One of the factors that holds you back from providing great customer service is the amount of time that customers have to wait before getting their issues resolved. Eliminate this problem and strengthen your service with a powerful Engati chatbot. Try Engati for free.

About Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. He has been a panelist on our Titans of CX webinar and has even been interviewed by us for our Engati CX series. This article was originally published on his blog.

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