Les Melnichenko
Apr 10, 2020 | 8 min read

Customer support is usually at the forefront when it comes to business growth. It’s an essential component of customer interaction that every professional should take into account. So, improving customer communication, by all means, is the first thing to do.  

A company will always prosper if clients are satisfied with the way they’re treated. Such things as a quick response, effective problem solving, and expertise in a company’s product shape high-quality customer support. 

There are different types of customer service and deciding which one works for your business best may be a tough nut to crack. Look through the following 8 most common types of customer support and choose the one that may suit your goals:

8 types of customer service: things you should pay attention to

Remember, there are no one-size-fits-all customer service options. Before you opt for one, weigh the pros and cons. This is what we are going to help you with. Happy reading!  

1. Live chat customer support

When landing on a website, customers usually have urgent questions. They want to know more about a buying process, ask about certain product features, inquire about shipping costs, or how to sign up. Your customer support team can perfectly deal with these issues promptly using feature-packed live chat software

Live chat is a must-have online business tool that can do wonders when applied rightly. It can help you streamline your workflow and convert more leads. There’s a set of features that many live chat software companies, such as HelpCrunch, have to offer. For instance, pre-made messages, online status indication, customer data collection, post-chat surveys, knowledge base integration, etc.

With a myriad of customer service types, it’s a live chat that can boost client satisfaction and improve retention significantly. In fact, more than 60% of customers are likely to come back to a website if it includes live chat. 

Live chat can not only make a huge difference to your income and reduce customer support costs, but also ensure higher satisfaction rates. As a result, you can grow your business with this cost-effective solution and meet the competition.

Pros Cons
Fast, real-time customer support Customers expect fast responses and instant help
Instant customer feedback Chaotic support during rush hours (if there isn’t enough staff)
Quick customer data collection
Multitasking, e.g. handling several customers’ queries at a time
Canned responses for quicker troubleshooting
Simplify sales process

2. Chatbot customer support

First, let’s define a chatbot – it’s a virtual assistant that simulates human conversation and helps customers find solutions to their issues, complete the checkout process, collect their feedback, book appointments, and so on. 

Thanks to the chatbots’ profound technical capabilities, they can process great chunks of information. According to the report, a chatbot can handle up to 80% of basic questions. Which is great and lets a support team focus on more complex problems during rush hours.

Our HelpCrunch team recently released a chatbot feature that allows you to handle repetitive questions, qualify leads, and automate your customer support routine.

Using a chatbot doesn’t mean you should give up on your brand’s unique voice. Set up special welcome messages that you can send any time a user comes to your website preserving your tone of voice. Once the user replies to it, the chatbot will automatically take over the conversation and help your visitor to find the right solution.

However, if your virtual assistant isn’t able to lend a helping hand, there is a way out. Thanks to modern tech, chatbots can route customer service queries to a human agent in seconds. No cumbersome queues, no chaos – everything happens in seconds.

Pros Cons
24/7 availability  Unable to handle more complex queries
Fast support Lack of human touch
Quick customer data collection Chatbots and their automated functionalities might often be an obstacle for not tech-savvy users 
Less human support team burnout  Often limited answers to customers 
Higher employee satisfaction level

3. Email customer support

People send 269 billion emails day by day. No wonder that among different types of customer service, this one requires minimum effort. Here are some perks of using email customer service:

  • Clients can ask you whatever bothers them any time, even beyond your working hours;
  • Each email conversation history can be archived for further actions;
  • Frequent queries can be automated with canned answers.

A customer support team can also attach valuable information about products or services, links to your website, or documents that help clients solve their problems faster. Consider getting a ticketing tool to organize, moderate, or prioritize emails your customer support team sends. 

Moreover, it’s vital that you don’t make a customer wait for your answer for hours. Get back to a person within 24 hours of first contact. You don’t want to join the ranks of that 62% of companies that just neglect to deal with customer support duties.

There are still people who prefer writing an email for interacting with a brand. However, if email communication prevails in your company, don’t ignore clients’ messages for days, personalize your emails, and don’t overuse automated replies.

Pros Cons
Better customer conversation context Time-devouring message exchange
Easy reach to docs, links, files, etc. Next to impossible to read emotions
Email automation for follow-ups Not always convenient to send emails, need to pick up the best time slots
Customized email campaigns for heavier audience reach
More convenient for customers in different time zones

4. Social media customer support 

It’s the 21st century, so the vast majority of customers can’t imagine their lives without social media. That’s why such social networks as Facebook or Twitter are a perfect match for a customer-centric brand. 

Speed is one of the most important aspects of any type of customer support. So, social media isn’t an exception. However, the average response time from a customer service team on social media varies from industry to industry. For instance, internet & software have 28%, healthcare – 27%, whereas sports – only 7%.

Simply registering your company on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn is not enough today though. Monitor social media mentions but don’t stare at your newsfeed for days on end. Use special tools for that, like Mention or Buffer. They’ll alert you every time your brand is tagged so that you can respond to customers. 

Besides, if your software allows, you can have all your social media conversations under the same roof. For instance, HelpCrunch has a shared inbox where all the customer social media queries land into the same place. No more switching between the tabs – just process all of them right here, right now.

By building effective customer service on social media platforms, you can cultivate stronger relationships with clients, boost brand awareness, and make your customers loyal.

Pros Cons
Increased customer experience, they reach out from virtually any app Higher risk to get and process negative reviews or comments
Enhanced customer advocacy as you can promote your cause on social media and connect with supporters  Need to handle negative feedback even at night
Better customer self-service thanks to FAQ sections Customers may expect immediate replies
Better brand reputation at the expense of customer success stories which can be shown on a company’s social media page

5. Phone customer support

With all this buzz around high-tech solutions, this type of customer service still holds its ground. To provide it, a company should make sure that clients can reach support agents by the given number whenever they want. 

This customer service channel has a set of big pros:

  • A telephone allows catching customers’ emotions better
  • It’s a faster way of presenting a problem as compared to a written form
  • A complicated issue is better explained during a live talk
  • Older generations are more familiar with telephones than computers. That’s why they will feel more comfortable and secure with making a phone call rather than writing an inquiry 

However, there’s a flip side to this type of customer service. Given that trends change at lightspeed, the younger generation has already switched to texting. So, they won’t fall back on old-school phone calls. 

Take on also poor network coverage and be ready to address complaints when people fail to get in touch with your support reps. On top of it, a client may be put on hold due to the customer support expert’s workload. Do you want to face irritation every step of the way? 

Pros Cons
Easy to provide more information Long waiting time
Any misinterpretation is minimized  Nuanced team collaboration
Accessible to any age group A rather expensive type of support to afford as you need the whole team to handle customer calls
More natural communication One customer agent can’t handle multiple calls
Problems with connection
Requires intensive support agent’s training

6. On-site customer support 

This type of customer support is carried out at a client’s place (be it home or workplace). It can be a lifesaver for many industries, like healthcare, education, IT, or beauty. 

Unlike other types of customer service, on-site support has significant drawbacks. One of them is that it’s time-consuming and may pose a challenge to reach a client at a fixed time. But as for a customer’s part, everything boils down to absolute advantages. 

However, on-site customer service is an extremely convenient solution as it’s delivered to the door. It offers a great chance to get to know your business better in natural face-to-face interaction. 

And last but not least, by performing on-site support, you can strengthen the brand quality through the display of your specific knowledge.

Pros Cons
Real-time customer support is more effective in problem-solving Commuting to a customer location can be time-consuming 
Could be yet another option when other types of customer service failed This can be expensive for a customer to afford
Customer can check the result at once  Customer service agents should be well-educated in various spheres
Support agents could be distressed because of unpredictable working hours

7. Customer self-service

Today, users want to deal with their problems by themselves before contacting a service agent. Most companies come up with an array of training materials, including webinars, instructional videos, demos, infographics, how-to guides, tutorials, and other relevant documentation. This content is aimed at making both customers’ and agents’ lives easier and can be referred to as a knowledge base

But good content is only half the battle. A well-thought-out knowledge base is searchable, intuitive, customer-friendly, and trustworthy. If you want to shape a help center that works, always remember these features. 

To give you a better idea, HelpCrunch hits the spot by adding a search box and a detailed filter bar coupled with a modern look and helpful content (plus, it’s integrated into the chat widget!).

Adding a knowledge base to your website can go a long way. Let me present several points: 

  • It stays on your site 24/7, which makes it approachable any time when a customer needs it;
  • Your email box won’t burst with messages;
  • Thanks to the ability to store multiple sources of information (audios and visuals), clients needs are able to find valuable information in an accessible format;
  • Repetitive phone calls are kept to a minimum as customers will be able to find all the answers. 
Pros Cons
24/7 availability to customers  Not all customers (e.g. elderly) can understand the mechanism of a knowledge base 
Customer support ticket volume is reduced significantly A self-service resource should be constantly updated
Ability to build a multilingual resource hub to serve international audiences  It could be impossible to provide answers to all customer requests 
Customer support operators can focus on other issues 

8. Video customer support 

You shouldn’t underestimate the power of video customer support. For starters, check these several clear-cut reasons:

  • More personal, 1-1 communication with a client. Besides, misinterpreting emotions is impossible – you both see each other and can react according to the situation;
  • Well-educated customer support team as you can offer them professional webinars or training sessions so that they can hone their skills;
  • Trouble-free demo sessions with customers – you can literally show how your product or service operates;
  • The ability for your teammates to tune in any time their help is badly needed.

All in all, this type of customer service can build more trust, develop customer loyalty, streamline the customer journey, and increase business profits significantly. Plus, it gives you a window opportunity to stand out from the competition. Not all brands take video support at its worth

Pros Cons
Personalized 1-1 customer communications Not all groups of customers might find it easy to understand how to use video support 
Easier meeting scheduling (and, as a result, troubleshooting) Internet connection can be unstable which usually goes ill with customer experience
Recorded and then shared material on social media, email newsletters, or any other channel   Long online video sessions may not be comfortable for all customers 
Lack of multitasking as voice interaction requires the undivided presence

Wrap it up

Sure thing, there are multiple types of customer service and more than one can fit your bill. The simple truth is that clients’ expectations grow, and you have to come up to them. Omnichannel customer service may be a way out, as it’s a combination of all the types mentioned above. 

By going omnichannel, you can view numerous touchpoints between service agents, prospects, and customers. Listen to your customers on channels they prefer best and take their ideas into consideration.

Speaking of, HelpCrunch lets you combine several types and channels of customer service: live chat, email and self-service functionalities. Just create a free account to achieve your customer support goals (it’s free for 14 days, no strings attached).

Read Also

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