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Online Customer Service [Best Ways to Improve It]

Online Customer Service [Best Ways to Improve It]

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Traditional customer service was mainly dependent on phone calls during given business hours.

Let’s explore the importance of online customer service in expanding support services and pleasing customers.

In this article, you will see why it has grown into such an important tool for today’s interactions between customers and businesses.

Online Customer Service + Best Ways to Improve It

What is online customer service?

Online customer service refers to the support that a business provides to its customers.

The services can be provided through platforms such as self-service portals, social media, emails, and other internet-based methods.

While traditional customer service methods still have their place, with today’s digitally inclined populace, online customer service is a preferred option for many companies and consumers.

For customers, it improves accessibility, speed, personalization, and flexibility.

For companies, online customer service often involves automating repetitive support tasks using tools such as ticketing software, giving agents more time to deal with complex problems and getting more problems solved in general.

Furthermore, modern online customer service can make it easier for businesses to collect and analyze customer data, which helps to anticipate needs and customize recommendations.

The key components of effective online customer service

A company may decide to invest in an online business but might not be successful due to poor communication or bad customer service.

The key components of effective online customer service

Here are some ways a business can better their communication with their online customers.

Live chat support: Customers communicate with the agent through a chat box in real-time on a company’s website. Live chat provides instant responses to questions and concerns raised by customers, and agents can communicate with more than one client at the same time.

Social media support: Another popular support channel is social media, such as Facebook, X, or Instagram. Brands can engage with their clients by addressing comments, messages, and mentions to resolve issues or provide whatever assistance is needed.

Email support: Customers can use email to get answers to their more complex questions, and support agents respond by providing thorough solutions or information.

Self-service portals: Here, a customer can access online resources such as FAQs, knowledge bases, and troubleshooting guides, which empower customers to find solutions independently.

Feedback portal: A platform like this allows customers to provide feedback on their experience with a brand. It can help businesses improve their product offerings.

How to improve your online customer service

One of the best ways to create a lasting relationship with your customers is by solving their problems, answering their questions, and being there for them when needed.

Let’s see how you can improve your online customer service to influence their purchasing decisions.

Communicate with your customers clearly

Effective customer communication is the most important thing a brand can offer because it ensures they understand what to expect, including the features, pricing, and terms of service, reducing the likelihood of misunderstanding.

Transparent and open communication builds trust between the customer and a business.

Pro tips:

  • Use easy-to-understand language to convey your message clearly.
  • If you’re providing instructions or guidance, make sure they are clear and actionable.
  • After providing information or instructions, give customers the opportunity to ask questions.
How to improve your online customer service
Agents talking to customers

Invest in multichannel support

This improves online customer service by letting customers choose their preferred communication channel, such as live chat, email, or social media, making it convenient for them to reach out.

It also enables businesses to engage with customers in real-time, fostering stronger connections and accessibility.

Pro tips:

  • Know where your audience is and how they prefer to engage.
  • Maintain consistency across all channels to reinforce your brand identity.
  • Equip your team with the necessary skills and resources to deliver exceptional service across all channels.
How to improve your online customer service
Omnichannel technology for online business

Quickly respond to your customers

Some of the main benefits of online customer service are the response time and its easy accessibility.

According to the 2023 Sprout Social Index, 76% of customers value a brand that offers a quick response, and nearly 70% expect a response in less than 24 hours.

If you must ask your customers to hold, explain why this is happening, get their contact information, and offer a scheduled chat.

Although the customer has not received a solution to their problems, they will be happier because of your fast response and respect of their time.

Pro tips:

  • Use ticketing software such as BoldDesk to stay organized and manage customer inquiries effectively.
  • Use canned responses for common answers to provide consistency and then customize them as necessary to suit each customer’s situation.

When you respond quickly to your customer concerns, it makes your customers feel valued.

Empower your employees

Your employees are the people who interact with your customers every single day.

They are the people customers depend on to answer questions or help where necessary. Equip them well.

Pro tips:

  • Offer thorough training programs to give employees the knowledge, skills, and practice necessary to improve their customer service.
  • Invest in technology and tools that empower employees to deliver better online customer service, such as contact management, live chat software, and knowledge bases that provide easy access to information.
  • Trust your employees to make sound decisions and handle online customer interactions

Personalize support based on customer data

This involves using customer data to customize the customer service experience to each person’s preferences, habits, and needs.

Understanding a customer’s history allows businesses to deliver a more relevant, efficient, and empathetic customer experience that leads to satisfaction and higher revenue.

Pro tips:

  • Divide your customer base to smaller groups based on common characteristics or behavior to customize support strategies to meet specific needs of each segment.
  • Respect customer preferences regarding data usage and provide options for opting out of personalized communication if desired.
  • Refer to previous interactions or conversation history to provide relevant product recommendations and solutions.

Proactive customer support

Instead of waiting for customers to reach out with issues or questions, businesses need to use reporting and analytic tools to gauge and analyze common customer pain points.

Pro tips:

  • Analyze customers’ behavior and past interactions to anticipate their needs and potential issues before they arise.
  • Keep customers informed about order status, account updates, or upcoming events through proactive notifications via email, SMS, or push notifications.

Promote customer-centricity

This involves transforming online customer service from a transactional exchange into a relationship-building opportunity, where businesses prioritize customer satisfaction and engagement at every touchpoint.

Pro tips:

  • Offer support across various channels such as chat, email, social media, and phone, and ensure a consistent experience regardless of the platform.
  • Develop a comprehensive knowledge base, FAQs, and tutorials to enable customers to find answers and troubleshoot issues independently.
  • Be transparent about policies, pricing, and product information, fostering trust among customers.

Collect and act on feedback

Feedback offers a platform for customers to voice their concerns, questions, or suggestions.

Through this, businesses get insight into areas where customers run into difficulties or dissatisfaction, allowing them to address these pain points.

Pro tips:

  • Offer multiple channels for feedback and ensure that they are easily accessible to customers.
  • Regularly monitor customer feedback and measure your customer satisfaction score at every interaction.
  • Acknowledge both positive and negative feedback and thank your customers for taking the time to share their thoughts.
How to improve your online customer service
Encourage customers to give feedback

Importance of online customer service

Let’s see how online customer service can offer numerous benefits for both businesses and the customers.

  • Offers instant responses: With the help of collaboration tools such as chatbots, live chats, Gmail shared inboxes, and mobile apps, businesses can provide instant assistance anywhere and anytime, even after regular working hours.
  • Saves money: Online customer service can be more cost-effective than traditional methods like phone support. It reduces expenses related to infrastructure, staffing, and telecommunications.
  • Easy feedback collection: Online support is an avenue for collecting valuable feedback from customers and keeping records for future reference.
  • Comfortable and convenient: Customers no longer have to leave their homes to get help from a service provider or wait on hold for hours on their phones. They can get assistance anytime.
  • Improve agent productivity: With online customer service tools, such as automated responses and chatbots, businesses can handle multiple inquiries simultaneously. This reduces customer wait times and increases efficiency, leading to higher satisfaction levels.

Excellent 3 online customer service tools

As customers increasingly turn to online support, companies are making it a top priority.

The following are some of the best tools for providing fast solutions to customers.

BoldDesk

BoldDesk provides several features that help to speed up customer support procedures online.

Businesses can effectively handle client questions, concerns, and feedback using a variety of channels, including social media, email, and live chat.

With the help of BoldDesk’s ticket management features, agents can organize, rank, and monitor client requests from the point of submission to the point of resolution.

It provides self-service resources and knowledge base features for the creation and upkeep of documentation.

Businesses using BoldDesk can provide prompt, customized help to increase client satisfaction.

Slab

Slab is also a knowledge management system created to facilitate consumer self-service assistance and speed up business collaboration.

It has features like version control, simple content creation, and search capabilities.

Businesses can easily build and manage a knowledge base of FAQs, tutorials, and other useful materials for their internal staff and external clients using Slab.

This lowers support overhead, speeds up the resolution of questions, and raises client satisfaction levels all around.

Document 360

Document360 was created to make knowledge management and support procedures more efficient.

It gives companies the ability to build, compile, and distribute knowledge bases so that clients can get self-service help.

Document360 improves the customer experience through easy-to-use content generation, strong categorization, adaptable layouts, and analytics.

These features facilitate quick access to relevant information, lower the number of support tickets, and raise customer satisfaction.

Secure your business’s future through online customer service

Online customer service has made life easier. It saves customers time, since they no longer have to queue in a store somewhere or stay on hold on a call for hours waiting to be served.

BoldDesk enables you to provide better online customer service through our many tools. Try it for free, or sign up for a live demo to learn more about its features. You can also contact the BoldDesk support team if you need further assistance.

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