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How to ensure effective online customer service

Last updated August 11, 2021

In the traditional sense, customer service has always meant being patient, polite and as helpful as possible on the phone to customers who need to place a query or complaint.

In the digital age however, your customer service team will need to adapt these skills and apply them to dealing more and more with email and live chat software.

RELATED:  Good customer service: 10 ways to deliver great customer service

Here we look at ways that you can ensure your team’s online customer service skills are working to improve your customers’ satisfaction, and ultimately use this data as a springboard to help shape your company’s marketing strategy to increase future sales.

How to ensure a positive customer experience

There are several different types of customer service, all using different channels of communication. Whether your marketing strategy rests the majority of your business’s customer service on phone support or live chat support.

RELATED: What is automated customer service? A guide to success

Here we look at how you can use your customer service strategy to encourage potential customers to invest in your product or service, as well as helping you retain your existing customer base.

It may be important to note beforehand, that although customers expect you to have good online customer service channels, this is not the only way they will wish to be able to contact you. In addition, you may wish to consider using a mobile app, contact or call centre and even in-person sales representatives.

Invest in software

There are numerous CRM (customer relationship management) systems available today that can help you monitor how effective your customer support team are. This software can help your support agents to keep all correspondence with one customer in one place, so you can seamlessly continue the conversation they’ve been having with your company.

Many providers offer a free trial. Test out their software and see how it can help improve your online customer support offering.


There is no point investing in customer service software that can help your team build a knowledge base about your customers and their queries, if you are not going to use it to its full potential.

Online customer service training should be made mandatory for all of your team members, and management level staff should be shown exactly how it can help you analyse your metrics.

It can help to give every member of staff training in exactly what data you will be collecting and why, so there is transparency amongst your staff and everyone can see the importance of each task they’re asked to complete.

Use the data

Online customer service software can offer you many benefits, such as decreasing your response time to customer questions.

With an effective CRM system, you will be able to see just how much time you are saving, which in turn can give you an idea of how much money you might be saving on staffing. You may also be able to glean an indication of how many customers you’ve managed to retain rather than lost through slow customer service.

A CRM can hold all of this information in one place, allowing you to cross-analyse easily. You can look at customer feedback, make improvements and monitor how this has affected your sales.

You can also see the most common questions customers ask and use this information to change your product or services so you resolve these issues before they even become an issue for future customers.

Respond quickly

It’s a well known fact that the longer you take to respond to your customers, the more likely they are to become agitated with your services. In turn this can deter them from dealing with you again in the future, or worse, encourage them to leave your company negative reviews online and to their friends and family.

In the age of social media, many businesses are turning to apps such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger to speak directly to their customers. Live chat options like this are convenient for the majority of your customers to access on their smartphones. Like with their friends on social media however, they are also more likely to expect an immediate response.

RELATED: Customer support: definition, role, and difference between customer service

This can be easy to achieve with a combination of chatbots and contact centres. Opening channels of communication like this also has the advantage of offering a personal touch that can make you seem friendlier and more accessible to your customer base.

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