5 Types of Customer Service


March 9, 2018

Written by

Merlene Leano

Effective customer service is critical to the success of any business. Innovative platforms for end-user assistance are apparent these days, with millennials and Gen Z'ers maximizing the convenience of digital communication tools. 

Anyone can leave public reviews on business websites on their social media accounts. The availability of various contact channels led to the increase in the demand for multichannel support. Hence, it is critical to train your help desk representatives on how to handle different types of queries and concerns.

Providing multiple channels for people to contact your company is one way to improve their overall experience with your brand. It ensures your team provides timely, empathetic assistance that keeps your target audience’s needs at the forefront of every interaction and strategy for implementing end-user assistance.

Client support teams also serve as the company's face. They are critical to enhancing sales and word-of-mouth marketing, collaborating with product teams. Indirectly, they have a voice in company decision-making.

There are five different types of customer support services that businesses worldwide have adopted to meet consistently meet their target market’s needs, and these are:

Live Chat

By simply clicking on a chat widget and speaking with an agent, live chat support enables your patrons and potential clients to contact your company if they seek real-time answers on your page. It is economically advantageous for you and convenient for them especially if you want to provide faster support.

Similarly, it also has a significant advantage over other types of customer service. It makes it possible to provide proactive assistance. By taking the initiative to communicate with customers, you make your services more accessible while bridging any gaps caused by communication barriers.

Due to live chat’s distinct advantages over phone and email channels, it is advisable that companies implement it by outsourcing live chat to a third-party vendor. Also, live chat has an incredible satisfaction rate of up to 89%—as reported in the Live Chat Benchmark 2020.

Aside from the advantage of speedy assistance and enhanced satisfaction rates, live chat also aids in boosting conversions when the business’s website is optimized for mobile devices. Additional benefits include increased efficiency at lower costs, flexibility in handling multiple customers concurrently, as well as seamless integration with various third-party apps.

Call Support

Perhaps one of the earliest and most broadly used types of customer support services is call support. The high demand for voice support also paved the way for establishing multiple call center outsourcing companies across the globe.

Having a human agent on the other end of the line to handle customer requests or issues establishes reliability. The main edge of voice-powered assistance is its capability to convey empathy and sincerity to the customers. Well-trained customer support agents know how to project the proper tone and manner of speaking that makes customers feel at ease.

Presently, it is possible to outsource multilingual call center services to provide support in the customer’s native language. Doing so encourages internationally-based potential buyers to reach out to your business.

Email support

It is best suited for asynchronous communication. Email communication has been proven essential in contacting potential leads, existing patrons, and even industry partners. 

There are still businesses that prefer to communicate with clients via email, considering how it flexibly switches from a contact center to a marketing tool.

Also, it is inherently more convenient than any other forms of customer service since recipients are given the option to subscribe or unsubscribe to their email list. 

While email support is not as quick as a chat or phone call, it enables both the sender and recipient to pause and resume the conversation at a pace that works for both parties. In a customer support scenario, you are adjusting the pace of the communication at your customer's convenience. There are instances wherein customers are not available for a call. Similarly, if the business has not yet enabled the use of chatbots on their live chat assistance services, then they may not be able to provide real-time responses past their operating hours.

Meanwhile, investing in email automation software or outsourcing email support to manage volumes of emails are practical alternatives for startups with limited staff.

Social Media

Employing social media is critical for reaching out to your target market, generating relevant insights, and growing your brand. It s a modern take on how to deliver exceptional service.

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter foster their user base and increase brand awareness online. It enhances user trust and engagement with your brand.

Social media allows you to meet customers where they are.

If you do not have the resources to hire dedicated staff to handle social media inquiries, integrate a live chat feature using Facebook Messenger. This way, direct messages sent via social media communication channels will be delivered directly to the live chat inbox.

Social media enables direct communication with your customers. If a customer has a question or concern, they go to a company's page to raise queries. They have the option to contact a member of your team directly who will address their concerns carefully and attempt to resolve the issue.

On-site Support

On-site support requires your agents to physically assist your customers, particularly for concerns that involve product repairs or inspections.

On-site support is available at business locations, otherwise, the said service may also be delivered to the residences of customers. This type of support is for customers experiencing technical difficulties or require consulting services. The primary benefit of providing on-site support enables agents to interact with customers on a more personal level, which can help agents develop stronger B2C relationships and increase the likelihood of repeat business. Additionally, customers gravitate toward convenient support solutions for them, such as when service is delivered directly to their homes.

Which Customer Service Type Is Best for Your Business?

Essentially, there is no single best type of customer service.

You should first determine the types of customer service interactions coupled with the nature of your business. The contact channel you choose will vary based on your lineup of services and target market. Some businesses provide support to software customers, while other companies specialize in eCommerce. Some run startup businesses or local mom-and-pop shops.

On the other hand, the abundance of contact channel choices raises the question of which of these help desk service options will help you retain happy and satisfied customers?

Whether your business is new or established, it's natural to have a diverse customer base with varying needs and expectations.

Different forms of customer service will appeal to you depending on the situations and issues. However, you must exercise caution when making a choice.

Consider factors such as the channels your target demographic prefers, the size of your team, and current trends when determining the best type of customer service. That said, this does not mean you should devote your entire operations to a single type of end-user assistance.

Adopt a combination of platforms that complement your services and incorporate various solutions that accommodate your customers' unique preferences.

Take any renowned corporation’s customer service as an example. You can follow their lead while keeping your budget in mind. Check out how competitors offer a balance of convenience and speed for a truly delightful user experience.

Why is having good customer support service important?

Customer service is critical to your business because it helps retain customers and maximizes their value. Businesses have the opportunity to recoup customer acquisition costs, build a solid community of loyal patrons, entice word-of-mouth recommendations, and establish their brand as a reliable company.

1. Brand awareness soars with positive customer experiences.

If there is one thing that should be multiplied, once you enter the business world, it is value.

Renowned brands continue to thrive thanks to heightened brand awareness.

Positive customer experiences are critical for brand awareness because they frequently result in word of mouth advertising. 55% of customers choose a business based on its reputation for superior customer service.

Give existing customers a positive experience and watch them spread the word about your brand. Analytics assist you in tracking awareness by assessing everything from online reviews to social media sentiment to the likelihood of a recommendation.

2. Customer service represents your core values.

You might have a sense of what your brand stands for, but your target market may not. As such, they tend to build impressions based on what they see and read on your ads, social feed, and review pages.

Your support agents mediate between you and your buyers and aid in unmasking the individuals and groups for whom your products and services are created. A good grasp of your patrons’ expectations and purchasing behavior is the secret to bridging any gaps they have with your business and building solutions custom-fit to their demands. 

3. Good customer service encourages customer loyalty.

Retaining patrons is significantly less expensive than acquiring a new one. In that sense, the higher the lifetime value of a customer—the more a business is capable of anticipating a tremendous increase in their total profit and revenue.

4. It Adds Value to your Product and Brand

A good product or service will only take you so far. When you factor in exceptional customer service, the value of your offer immediately increases.

The added value may also result in increased revenue. Indeed, the majority of people are willing to pay more for the same product or service if it includes excellent customer service.

Superb after-sales service justifies a more expensive product or service. Moreover, your brand name will become synonymous with positive buyer experiences.

This is beneficial when launching new products, expanding into new industries, or scaling the business for investors, among other things.

5. It sets you apart from your competitors.

Occasional shoppers become patrons when they feel valued and heard. Cheaper deals and counteroffers from other brands wouldn't even stand a chance. 

Outstanding assistance makes you stand out in the market. People prefer a business that provides excellent assistance over one that does not.

It is also vital to create an image of genuine concern for your target users. You want to exude a trustworthy image that encourages people to keep patronizing your products. 

To make this work, your help desk agents should be aware of this objective. Train them well, so they will learn the proper etiquette and skills needed to treat your customers with respect and care. 

Specifically, they should be aware of the following best practices:

  • Make Yourself Available — Assist when assistance is required. Demonstrate that your company is willing to assist with any questions or concerns.
  • Be Receptive — Long queues and waiting times reflect poor service. Addressing concerns promptly conveys the message that your company is always willing to assist if possible.
  • Possess Empathy — It is critical to train your support representatives to respond to concerns with empathy and understanding. Occasionally, inquiries or reports are simply misunderstood, and responding with a clear, simple, and relaxed tone helps.
  • It Isn't Persona — Customers who report issues are frequently frustrated and angry. It is best to instruct your employees not to take negative feedback personally. Allowing it to affect them would only cause them to react negatively and jeopardize your brand..
  • Offer Resolved — Even if you are unable to provide a solution, demonstrate an understanding of the customer's frustration and attempt to keep them informed when the situation is resolved or if any changes are made to the product. If applicable, offer an alternative solution to appease the client.

Your after-sales service is as good as the staff implementing it. Hence, developing a strong service-oriented workforce helps your business grow and keeps your user base happy.

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