8 Types of Customer Service from Which You Can Choose

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 18, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When companies sell products or services, they may focus on offering excellent customer service to increase brand awareness and sales. There are many forms of customer service at different stages of the purchasing process. Learning more about these types of customer service and how to offer them can help you build a loyal customer base. In this article, we explain what customer service is, discuss eight types of customer service, and tell you why good customer service is important.

What is customer service?

Customer service is the support a company offers to its customers. This support begins during the purchasing process and usually extends past the purchasing date. Companies typically provide customers with advice and information about products or services they sell. This can help consumers make informed decisions. When customers commit to buying a product or service, companies often provide them with troubleshooting tools and problem-resolution support. Offering excellent customer service is important for businesses looking to grow their brand loyalty and maintain their customer base. Successful companies create an environment where customers feel comfortable coming to customer service agents for assistance.

When customers are confident that they can receive the help they need, they're more likely to return to that same company for future purchases. Customer service is all about fulfilling the promise a brand makes to its customers during the purchasing process. With the increasing use of digital communication tools, many companies have started offering customer support on various platforms. Beyond the telephone, customers can now find support via e-mail, web chat, text message, and even on social media. There are many tools companies can give to customer service agents to provide customers with the help they need.

Related: Ways to Improve Customer Service Skills (With Tips)

8 types of customer service

Here are eight common types of customer service that companies can offer:

Telephone support

Telephone support is a classic way of offering customer service. To receive telephone support, customers call agents on the phone to ask questions and explain their problems verbally. This allows them to describe complicated situations with ease. There are some challenges in telephone support processes, like poor cellular service, that can lead to dropped calls and limited employee availability, which can lead to long wait times. Telephone support allows agents to better assess a customer's tone and emotions, and it helps people who aren't as technologically savvy access great service.

Related: Phone Etiquette Guide: 11 Rules for Professional Phone Calls

On-site support

Companies provide on-site support is in-person at business locations or customers' homes. Companies use on-site support to provide repairs and troubleshooting services to customers with technological issues or consulting needs. The biggest advantage of offering on-site support is that it allows agents to interact with customers on a more personal basis, which can help them build stronger customer relationships to make repeat business more likely. Customers also prefer support solutions that are convenient for them, such as when you deliver service to their door.

Related: Tips on How to Provide Good Customer Service (With Benefits)

Self-service support

Self-service support is when companies give customers resources they can use to answer their own questions or concerns. A common example of self-service support is when a company creates a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page on their website. This is an ideal type of customer service for customers who do their own research before contacting customer support through other channels if they don't find their answers. It's also a good option for regular customers of a company as they are more likely to be familiar with its products already, so they can easily navigate self-service support to find the exact answers they're seeking.

Related: Relationship and Effect of Customer Service in Sales

Web commerce support

Web commerce support is when companies offer advice and information to customers during the purchasing process. It typically occurs when customers sign on to a website to purchase a product or service and find themselves with questions. To answer those questions, companies often create a frequently asked questions page on their website about certain products. They may also allow customers to ask each other questions on the product's page within their web platform. This type of support helps customers find answers on their own, similar to self-service support, but makes it easier for customers to find product-relevant information in a timely manner.

Related: Customer Service Skills: Definition and Examples

Social media support

As social media is one of the most popular digital tools used for communication, many companies use it to improve their customer service. Customer service agents may have access to a company's social media pages and monitor them for customer inquiries in comments or direct messages. They can respond to these comments and messages to offer solutions or build stronger bonds with their customers.

Customers may also leave reviews on companies' social media pages for their audience to see. If the review is negative, companies aim to address it quickly to minimize the damage these comments may cause. Customer service agents may respond to the review or contact the customer directly to offer a solution, which can maintain customer loyalty. If the review is positive, it can be a good marketing tool for the company as it shows prospective customers that previous customers are happy with the product or service they received.

Related: How to Include Social Media Skills on Your Resume in 5 Steps

Interactive voice support

Interactive voice support is an automated telephone system that interacts with customers in a limited fashion through a dial pad and voice requests. Interactive voice is a great way for companies to support customers with very simple questions without needing to have actual agents present. Also, companies can update interactive voice systems frequently to store relevant information. This makes it so that live support agents don't answer every single question of customers. Instead, they can focus on helping them resolve issues that voice support can't handle.

The fundamental challenge of using interactive voice systems is that customers aren't interacting with an actual human, which means the support system may sometimes redirect them or put them on hold many times. Companies can avoid this if they strategically and purposefully design their interactive voice systems to allow customers to request help from a live agent when necessary.

Related: Why Is Exceptional Customer Service Important? (Plus Tips)

Live chat support

Many companies have a live chat feature on their website where customers can seek support from a customer service agent. Customers may start by talking to a robot to explain their problem until a live agent is available. This is a popular type of customer service because customers can receive support quickly and, even if they're waiting, they can complete other tasks at home.

Related: What Does Customer Service Do? (With 11 Job Types)

E-mail support

Although e-mail support was one of the first digital tools companies used for customer service, it's still a popular option today. Companies may include their e-mail address on their website or social media pages or include a contact form customers can complete to receive an e-mail response.

Although companies try to monitor their e-mail regularly when they're open, replies may not be as quick as other forms of customer service, such as live chat or telephone support. Despite this delay, customers who prefer text-based conversations may choose e-mail support over other options. E-mail support also allows companies and customers to document their conversations to reference later if necessary and helps customer service agents take time to explain themselves more clearly.

Related: What Is Sales Support? (With Definition and Benefits)

Why is good customer service important?

Good customer service is important for a number of reasons, such as the following:

  • Grow customer retention: When customers receive good customer service, they're more likely to make future purchases with the company. This can lead to an increase in profits and brand awareness if happy customers leave positive reviews for the company.

  • Improved brand loyalty: As companies often have competitors that offer similar products, good customer service can help make them more competitive. If customers have a good experience with one company, they're more likely to be loyal to the brand and choose it over its competitors.

  • Increased employee morale: When employees have the tools and training to help customers, they may have more job satisfaction. Similarly, if a company has a positive image, employees may be happier working for the employer.

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