What is Customer Service: Definition, Types, Benefits, Stats


Neeraj Shukla
By Neeraj Shukla | January 24, 2023 8:33 am

Customer service is the assistance you provide to your customers from the time they first get in touch with you until months and even years later. The goal of customer service is to build and maintain positive customer relationships, leading to increased loyalty and repeat business. Take a deep dive into customer service definition, types of customer service and benefits of it, what qualities make up great service, stats about the industry, and much more.

What is Customer Service?

Customer service is the assistance given to customers before, during, and after they purchase a product or service. It is the responsibility of customer service representatives to make sure that customers are satisfied with their purchase and to provide any necessary support or advice they may need. Customer service can take many forms, including phone calls, emails, online chats, and in-person visits. The ultimate goal is to ensure customer satisfaction and maintain a positive relationship with the customers.

Simply put, customer service is all about providing support and assistance to customers to help them with their needs and concerns, whether it be related to a product or service they have purchased or just general inquiries.

Types of Customer Service Channels

Types of Customer Service Channels

Phone Support

Phone support is one of the most common forms of customer service and is widely used by businesses of all sizes. It allows customers to quickly and easily get in touch with a company to ask questions, get help, or resolve problems. Many customers prefer phone support as it allows them to speak directly with a live person and get immediate assistance. According to market research, phones still account for 68% of all support interactions. this form of customer support channel is highly used for billing inquiries, conversations with your bank, or conversations with healthcare providers.

Phone support refers to customer service provided over the telephone. This can include technical support for troubleshooting problems with a product or service, as well as assistance with billing or account issues. Phone support may be provided by a company’s own customer service team or by an outsourced call center. The hours of availability and level of service provided can vary depending on the company.

Email Support

Email has become a widely used method of communication, with over 4 billion email users worldwide. This makes email support a popular and effective way for companies to provide customer service and communicate with their customers. It allows businesses to reach a large number of customers quickly and easily, and it can be a cost-effective way to provide support. As more and more people rely on email for communication, providing email support has become a necessity for many businesses.

Email support also allows customers to easily reference their previous communications with the company and to receive a written record of the interactions. One of the downsides of email support is that it can take longer to receive a response than with phone support, and the response may not be as immediate. Additionally, it can be difficult to convey the urgency or severity of an issue through email, which can delay a resolution.

Live Chat Support

Live Chat support is provided through real-time online communication, typically through a website or mobile application. It allows customers to receive immediate assistance and support from a live customer service representative, typically through a chat interface or instant messaging. This service can be used to answer customer questions, provide assistance with using a product or service, or resolve issues and concerns.

Live chat support like Appy Pie Live Chat can be provided by a company’s own customer service team or by an outsourced call center. It is a very convenient way for customers to get answers to their queries, as it allows them to multitask while receiving support. It’s also a convenient way for companies to provide support as it can handle multiple chats at the same time which increases productivity.

According to a study by Statista, about 44% of online shoppers believe that one of the most crucial features a website can provide is the ability to speak with a live person while making an online purchase. This highlights the importance of live chat support as a customer service channel, as it allows businesses to provide immediate assistance and support to customers during the purchasing process, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and sales.

Social Media Support

According to a study by statista, 47% of respondents have a more favorable view of brands that provide customer support responses over social media. This highlights the importance of social media support as a customer service channel, as it allows businesses to connect with customers in real-time and provide immediate assistance and support. Additionally, providing customer support over social media can help to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, as customers appreciate the convenience and immediacy of this service.

It also shows the impact of social media on customer service, as more and more customers expect brands to have a social media presence and provide support through these channels. Businesses that neglect social media support may be seen as less customer-friendly, which can harm their reputation and ultimately impact their sales.

Video Chat Support

Video chat support can be particularly useful when dealing with difficult technical problems as it allows the support representative to see the customer’s screen and provide visual guidance. This can be much more effective than trying to explain technical issues over the phone or through text-based chat. Additionally, video chat support allows the representative to remotely access the customer’s device and troubleshoot the problem directly, which can save a lot of time and effort for both the customer and the representative.

According to a recent study, the number of video calls made to banking customer service representatives increased by 400% on average in the first three months of the pandemic. Video calls had a significant impact on keeping a secure and satisfied customer base as banking moved from in-person to online transactions.

Video chat support also offers convenience as it can be accessed from anywhere at any time. It can also be more cost-effective than traditional phone support, as it eliminates the need for call centers and long-distance call charges.Video chat support also allows support team to handle multiple customers at a time, thus increasing the efficiency of the support team.

Communities and Forums

Forums and communities can be a valuable resource for both customers and companies. Customers can get answers to their questions and find solutions to their problems quickly, and companies can use the feedback and information shared on these platforms to improve their products and services.

Many companies uses forum to provide support, by setting up moderated discussion boards where customers can ask questions and share information with one another, as well as with company representatives. They can also use these platforms to share news and updates, and to provide training and resources.

According to a study by Statista, 71% of online product communities are created for customer support. The State of Community Management Report states the value of using communities for customer service.

Overall, communities and forum support can be a valuable asset for companies, helping to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty while also providing valuable insights and feedback.

Self-service Knowledge Base

Self-service knowledge bases can be a valuable tool for companies looking to improve customer support and reduce the number of support requests they receive.A self-service knowledge base can be implemented in different ways, but typically it’s a web-based platform that is searchable, easy to navigate and has a wide range of topics and categories. The customer can easily find the information they need by searching or browsing the knowledge base.

A self-service knowledge base is a collection of articles, FAQs, and other resources that customers can use to find answers to their questions and solve problems on their own, without having to contact customer support directly. The benefits of self-service knowledge base include-reduce the volume of support requests, improve customer satisfaction, lower support costs, build customer trust and much more.

Companies can also use analytics tools to track how customers are using their knowledge base, which articles are most popular, and which areas need improvement. This can help them to continually improve the knowledge base and ensure that it remains a valuable resource for customers.

Chatbot Support

Based on Statista’s research, 64% of businesses trust chatbots to provide personalized customer support than regular customer service. This statistic shows that, although chatbots have yet to become mainstream, they are quickly becoming a preferred way for businesses to provide customer support.

Chatbots like Appy Pie Chatbot can provide a number of benefits for companies looking to improve customer support. They are available 24/7 and can handle multiple customer interactions simultaneously, providing fast and efficient service. They can also be programmed to handle a wide range of common customer queries, which can help to reduce the volume of support requests that need to be handled by human agents.

Chatbots can also be integrated with other customer support tools, such as knowledge bases or CRM systems, to provide a more comprehensive support experience for customers. For example, a chatbot can be integrated with a knowledge base to provide customers with quick access to frequently asked questions and answers.

What are the Key Customer Service Traits?

The key customer service traits are the characteristics and attitudes that are essential for providing good customer service. These traits include:

Empathy

Empathy is one of the key customer service traits. It involves the ability to understand and relate to the customer’s emotions, thoughts, and experiences. This allows customer service representatives to provide a more personalized and effective response to customer inquiries and complaints. Empathetic customer service representatives can create a more positive and understanding customer experience, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Furthermore, showing empathy can help defuse difficult or angry customers by showing that the representative is truly understanding and cares about their concerns.

Patience

Patience is an important skill because it allows customer service representatives to handle challenging situations in a professional and effective manner. A patient customer service representative can help handle a tense situation by staying calm and composed, which can help to resolve the customer’s concerns more quickly and efficiently. Additionally, patience allows customer service representatives to take the time to fully understand the customer’s issues and concerns and to come up with effective solutions.

Customers can be angry or frustrated because of many reasons, a patient customer service representative can help the customer to feel heard, understood and that their concerns are being taken seriously. This can help to diffuse the situation, and can lead to a more positive outcome for the customer.

Active Listening

Active listening is another key customer service trait. Active listening is a powerful tool for building trust and rapport with customers, and it can help to ensure that customer service representatives provide accurate and effective solutions to customer problems. It also can help to prevent misunderstandings and miscommunication.

Active listening includes paying attention to verbal and nonverbal cues, such as tone of voice, body language, and word choice. It also involves asking clarifying questions and paraphrasing what the customer has said to ensure understanding. It is essential for customer service representatives to listen actively to the customer, so they can understand their issues and concerns, and provide them with the information and assistance they need.

Positive Attitude

Positive refers to the ability to approach customer interactions with a friendly and positive attitude. This is an important skill because it can have a direct impact on the customer’s experience. A customer service representative with a positive attitude can create a more pleasant and welcoming environment for the customer, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

A positive attitude can be demonstrated by using a friendly tone of voice, smiling, and using positive language. It also involves being proactive in solving customer’s problems, being willing to go above and beyond to help the customer, and being genuinely interested in the customer’s needs.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are important because they can directly impact the customer’s experience and satisfaction with the service they receive. Interpersonal skills include communication skills, active listening, positivity, flexibility, and responsibility to win customer trust. Good interpersonal skills can help customer service representatives to understand the customer’s needs and concerns, and to provide effective solutions.

These skills also help in building trust and rapport with the customers, which can lead to a better customer experience and long-term customer loyalty. Furthermore, good interpersonal skills can help customer service representatives to handle difficult or angry customers in a calm and composed manner and to defuse tense situations.

Responsiveness

Responsiveness is the ability to quickly and effectively respond to customer inquiries and complaints. It is an important aspect of customer service, as customers expect timely and accurate responses to their questions and concerns. A responsive business is able to address customer needs quickly and efficiently, which can help to build trust and loyalty with its customers.Additionally, being responsive to customer complaints can help to mitigate negative impacts and turn a negative experience into a positive one.

Flexibility

Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and customer needs. It means being open to different options and being willing to change course of action as needed. A flexible business is able to adjust its products, services, or processes to meet the unique needs of its customers. This can help to build trust and loyalty, as customers appreciate being able to work with a business that is responsive to their needs. Additionally, flexibility can also help a business to stay competitive in the market by being able to adapt to changing trends and customer demands.

Digital literacy

Digital literacy is indeed an important trait for customer support representatives, as it enables them to effectively use technology to assist customers and resolve their issues. This includes proficiency in using customer support software and applications, internet navigation and research to find solutions and knowledge, and digital communication tools to communicate with customers through various channels such as email, chat, and social media. This skills also helps customer support representatives to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends, which can help them to provide better and more efficient service to customers.

Furthermore, in the current scenario, digital literacy has become an even more important trait as many companies are providing support through digital channels and customers are also increasingly reaching out through digital channels, thus having a digitally literate customer support representative can make a lot of difference for the customer experience.

Multitasking

The ability to multitask is indeed an important trait for customer support representatives, as they often need to handle multiple tasks and customer interactions simultaneously. This may include answering phone calls, responding to emails, and addressing customer complaints through various channels such as social media, chat, and in-person. Being able to multitask effectively can help customer support representatives to be more efficient and productive, and it can also help to ensure that customers receive timely and accurate responses to their inquiries and concerns.

Why Good Customer Service is Important?

In today’s digital age, customers have more options than ever before. The internet and social media have made it easier for customers to research and compare products and services, and to share their experiences with others. This has increased the level of competition among businesses, and customers have come to expect high levels of convenience, choice, and personalization. In order to stay competitive, businesses must be able to meet the evolving needs and expectations of their customers. This includes providing excellent customer service, which can help to attract and retain customers, and to build trust and loyalty.

According to a survey conducted by HubSpot, 68% of consumers say that they are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences. This highlights the significance of good customer service in today’s marketplace, where customers have more options than ever before, and are more likely to choose a business that offers a positive customer service experience.

Good customer service can lead to increased customer satisfaction, positive word-of-mouth, repeat business, better problem resolution, cost-effectiveness, improved reputation, employee satisfaction, and a better understanding of customers’ needs. It is an essential part of the customer experience and can be the difference between a customer choosing to do business with a company or not. Furthermore, it can lead to increased employee satisfaction and motivation, as employees feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in doing their job well.

What are the Benefits of Good Customer Service?

Good customer service is essential for the success of any business. It is one of the most important ways for a company to differentiate itself from its competitors and to create a positive and lasting impression on customers. Some of the key reasons why good customer service is so important include:

Increased Customer Loyalty

Good customer service can help to increase customer satisfaction, encourage repeat business and generate positive word-of-mouth advertising. When customers feel that their concerns and needs are being heard and addressed, they are more likely to remain loyal to a company and continue doing business with them. It can lead to more referrals, higher sales, and improved customer loyalty. In addition, it can help to build a positive reputation for the company and create a competitive advantage that customers cannot find elsewhere.

Positive Brand Reputation

Positive brand reputation is a byproduct of excellent customer service. When customers have a positive experience, they are more likely to share their experience with others, leading to positive word-of-mouth. This can help to establish a strong brand reputation and can be a valuable asset for the company. A strong reputation can attract new customers and help to retain existing ones, ultimately driving business growth. Additionally, a positive brand reputation can also help a company attract and retain top talent, and increase its bargaining power with suppliers.

Boost sales

Consistently providing great customer service can help to build trust and loyalty with customers, which can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth advertising. This can help to attract new customers and increase sales for the company. When customers know that they can expect a high level of service every time they interact with a business, they are more likely to choose that business over competitors, which can help to establish a competitive advantage.

Cost Savings

Providing good customer service can help to retain customers and ultimately save money in the long run. Retaining an existing customer is typically less expensive than acquiring a new one, as it requires fewer resources to market and sells to a customer that is already familiar with the business. Additionally, satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and spend more money with the business, which can also lead to cost savings.

Furthermore, good customer service can also help businesses to avoid costly disputes, complaints, and negative reviews which can be detrimental to a brand’s reputation and lead to the loss of more customers. Providing good customer service can help to build trust and loyalty with customers and can ultimately lead to cost savings for the company in the long run.

Employee Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is one of the most important factors in any organization. It is essential to have happy and satisfied employees to maximize productivity, reduce turnover, and increase the overall morale of the office. Providing good customer service can lead to increased employee satisfaction as they feel valued and appreciated by the company. When employees feel that they are making a positive impact on customers and the company, they are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in their work.

Upsell Products

Good customer service can lead to upselling products. When customers have a positive experience and trust a business, they are more likely to be open to recommendations and suggestions for additional products or services. A customer service representative who is well-trained and knowledgeable about the products and services offered by the business can make personalized recommendations to customers, and help them to see the value in purchasing additional products or services. This can lead to increased sales and revenue for the company.

Increased Word-of-Mouth Advertising

Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend a business to others, either through word-of-mouth advertising or by leaving positive reviews online. This can lead to increased visibility and credibility for a business, which can attract new customers. Word-of-mouth advertising is also considered to be one of the most effective forms of marketing, as it is based on personal recommendations from people that the potential customers already know and trust.

Increased Positive Reviews and Reputation

Positive customer service experiences can lead to positive reviews and a good reputation, which can be powerful tools for attracting new customers. Positive reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, G2, Trustpilot, and Google can help to build credibility and trust for a business, making it more likely that potential customers will choose to do business with them. Moreover, having a good reputation can help a business to establish itself as an authority in its industry, which can lead to increased brand awareness, brand loyalty and can also increase sales in long term.

Tips for Providing Good Customer Service

Providing good customer service can help improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, your business’s bottom line. Here are some tips for providing good customer service:

Be Proactive

In customer service, being proactive means identifying potential issues that customers may have and taking steps to address them before the customer even experiences the problem. This can include things like proactively reaching out to customers who may be at risk of churning, or identifying and addressing common complaints before they become a widespread issue.

By being proactive, you can help to improve customer satisfaction and reduce the number of customer complaints. This can lead to increased customer loyalty, repeat business, and positive word of mouth for your company.

Get Feedback

Getting feedback from customers is an important way to improve customer service. There are several ways to gather feedback, such as conducting surveys, holding focus groups, or simply asking customers for their opinions. This information can be used to identify areas where customer service can be improved, such as long wait times on the phone, confusing website navigation, or lack of product knowledge by employees.

Companies can also use feedback to identify best practices and recognize employees who are providing excellent customer service. By regularly gathering and acting on customer feedback, companies can continuously improve their customer service and ensure that they are meeting the needs and expectations of their customers.

Train Your Customer Support Employees

Training employees on providing good customer service is crucial for a company’s success. By providing employees with the knowledge and skills they need to provide excellent customer service, companies can ensure that their customers have positive experiences. Training can include topics such as communication skills, product knowledge, problem-solving, and understanding the customer’s needs and expectations.

It is also important that employees understand the importance of customer service to the company’s success. By highlighting the impact that customer service has on customer satisfaction, retention, and ultimately the company’s bottom line, employees will be more motivated to provide excellent service.

Create a Customer Community

Creating a customer community can be a powerful way to ensure the best customer service. A customer community allows customers to connect with each other and with the company, providing a space for customers to share their experiences, give feedback and get help. This can lead to a more engaged customer base and can help improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

A customer community can provide valuable insights into customer needs and preferences, which can help inform product development and customer service strategies. Overall, creating a customer community can be a valuable tool for improving customer service and building strong customer relationships.

The Key Customer Service Statistics

  • 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience. (Salesforce Research)
  • 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service. (HubSpot Research)
  • 48% of customers say the pandemic has raised their customer service standards. (Zendesk)
  • 70% of the customer’s journey is based on how the customer feels they are being treated. (McKinsey)
  • 72% of companies believe they can use analytics reports to improve the customer experience. (Deloitte)
  • 78% of customers have backed out of purchase due to a poor customer experience. (Glance)
  • 86% of customers have to contact customer service multiple times for the same reason (InfoLink)
  • 66% of US online adults said that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with a good online customer experience (Forrester)

Final Notes

In today’s competitive business environment, providing excellent customer service can be a critical differentiator that sets a company apart from its competitors. Customers have more options than ever before, and they are not afraid to switch to a competitor if they are not satisfied with the service they receive.

Remember that managing customer relationships and offering excellent customer service are made much simpler with the right technology and tools like Appy Pie Desk. This customer service platform allows businesses to manage customer interactions through various channels such as email, live chat, and social media, all in one place to streamline the customer service process.

Neeraj Shukla

Senior Lead Content at Appy Pie

App Builder

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