Article

Types of customer service: give your customer the best service

By Douglas da Silva

Published April 6, 2021
Last updated April 13, 2021

Customer experience is a very important issue for any company. At the end of the day, a customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor due to bad service than issues with the price.

As a result, focusing on offering the most convenient and efficient kind of customer service is a smart strategy and one on which companies should focus their efforts.

In today’s post, Zendesk gives you a comprehensive look at everything you need to know about the main types of customer service that your company should be offering in order to generate more customer satisfaction and, consequently, more opportunities and sales.

What is customer service?

Customer service is all the activities that a company engages in to take care of their customer before, during and after a purchase. One of its main objectives is customer satisfaction, ensuring that your product or service reaches the customer the way it should.

So, we can say that a customer service department aims to achieve its objective by providing support to consumers or indeed anything else they need. And we aren’t just talking about the actual moment when a customer makes a purchase, but everything involved in that process.

In addition, although a lot of companies have a specific department to provide customer service, it is important to bear in mind that everyone involved in a company’s sales process is responsible for the customers’ experience. 

Three benefits of providing a good customer service

70% of consumers say that they have spent more money with a company that provides them with a good service. As such, we can say that a good service, on top of all its other benefits, is a differentiating factor against competitors. 

In addition, a survey by Forbes says that 86% of customers are prepared to pay more for good service and to feel more valued. As a result, we can conclude that it is customer service rather than price that differentiates a company

1. Increase loyalty

A satisfied customer is much more likely to doing business again with a company compared to a customer who did not receive a good service. And as we know, gaining a new customer is more expensive than keeping an existing one.

2. Improve reputation

A high level of customer satisfaction maintains a company’s reputation, and that converts into results. Virtual learning centre Udemy, for example, has achieved a 97% customer satisfaction rate and increased its user base from 2.5 million to 14 million. 

3. Increase sales

According to Bain & Company, companies that give their customers a good service see revenue growth by 4% to 8% above the market average. As such, a satisfied customer = more sales. 

Consequently, as a company it’s important to adopt strategies to ensure that you always give your customers the best service and support so that they don’t need, for example, to go elsewhere. 

Types of customer service

Providing good customer service is not just about treating people kindly – it’s also about knowing how to act depending on which channel you’re providing the service on. 

Let’s take a look at the types of customer service and their characteristics.

In-person customer service

In-person customer service is the most traditional kind of customer service. Yes, it’s true that the world has become fully technological. However, in-person customer service and relations continue to occupy a lot of space. This type of customer service involves the physical presence of both the company and the customer.

Generally speaking, in-person customer service is essential when dealing with things like documents, the collection or return of goods, and for all kinds of services where it is necessary in order to actually make the service available, such as hotels and supermarkets. 

Another example of this type of service is when you need a skilled professional, such as an Internet installation technician. It is important to say that with this type of service, it is essential to pay attention to all of the details, from how people dress to what they say, as it reflects on the company’s image.

Telephone customer service

It doesn’t matter what sector your company operates in. We have no doubts about saying that your customer service strategy must include telephone-based support. With this type of customer service, a series of rules and standards must be complied with in order to ensure customer satisfaction. 

Despite these standards, this type of customer service is very easy to incorporate into your strategy, as you can even contract an external company to do it – thereby always ensuring the quality of the service. 

With this in mind, it is important to take care of issues such as tone of voice, fluent speech,  confidence when giving out information and, of course, try to offer a freephone number that’s convenient to get hold of – mainly in terms of which days and times it’s operational.

Virtual customer service

As we mentioned, it’s a technological world, so companies need to adapt and include digital technology in their strategies for the different types of customer service. 

After analysing 45,000 businesses around the world, Zendesk has published a report on customer service trends, which says that millennials and Generation Z prefer channels that offer more immediate responses, and almost 80% of these generations feel loyal to their preferred brands. 

As such, in terms of virtual customer service, you can offer different channels, such as email, live chat, chatbots and social media. 

Proactive customer service

Also known as dynamic service, proactive service refers to the type of customer service that a company provides by  getting in touch with their consumers when they aren’t expecting it. 

In other words, this is when companies approach the customer in order to maintain loyalty and present a product or service to them or even recommend a benefit or offer to them. 

This type of customer service consists in building a relationship until achieving conversion. However, tolerance for rejection and frustration is necessary, because as the customer is not considering making a purchase, if you get in touch with them, there is a high chance of refusal.

Reactive customer service

 The opposite of proactive service, reactive service is when the customer gets in touch with the company for any reason. Then, the company needs to be ready to answer any request that the consumer might make. 

The customer may get in touch via any of the channels made available by the company. As such, you need to have trained staff to meet the consumer’s needs. 

We know sometimes it isn’t possible to have people available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so chatbots are an excellent alternative strategy for this.

Types of customer service depending on the role of the consumer who buys from us

Direct customer service

This is when the person who gets in touch is the person who is responsible for deciding on the purchase. 

Indirect customer service

This is when the person who contacts the company is not the person who has the power to make the final decision on the purchase. 

The important thing is to always identify the aspects of customer service so that you know where to focus your energy and strategies in the aim of always generating more opportunities.

Strategies for innovation in customer service

To get an edge on your competitors in terms of types of customer service, you need to be open to the innovations available in the market. So, here are some of strategies that you can implement at your company:

Omnichannel

Omnichannel is a strategy based on offering the use of different channels of communication at the same time. It’s as if they were all a single channel and the customer doesn’t notice any transition between the channels. To use this strategy, a good CRM software is essential.

Chatbots

Chatbots are pre-programmed with automated responses, providing the customer with an immediate response based on the customer’s choice from a list of options. 

Videoconferencing

Despite the advances with and acceptance of technology, customer service with a human touch is still valued. As such, videoconferencing enables you to provide a service that is remote and yet feels close at the same time. Despite the physical distance, video brings a sense of humanity and closeness.

It is important to be aware that to provide a good experience in terms of types of customer service, CRM software makes all the difference, as it enables you to integrate all of the technology and also to obtain information about the customer. 

Customer service techniques

Now that you know about the types of customer service and the importance of providing customers with an excellent experience and support, let’s look at some tips on customer service techniques.

Personalised approach

A personalised service makes a huge difference. So, always ask the customer for their name and, having done so, you should always repeat it throughout the conversation. 

Be a good listener

Another important issue when it comes to types of customer service is being a good listener. You need to pay attention in order to understand everything that the customer needs, so that once you’ve identified it, you know exactly what to do to remove their doubts or problems.

Empathy

Putting yourself in the consumer’s position is important. So, show them that any pain points they’re experiencing are important to you and that you will do everything you can to remove them. 

Questions

Listening to the customer is important, but asking questions is too. Therefore, ask open questions, closed questions, questions that seek approval, leading questions – ask everything. Ask questions so that it becomes absolutely clear what the customer needs, so that you can give them a good experience.

Flexibility

The customer may make a request that goes beyond the company’s normal practices. However, before you say that it isn’t possible, you can make exceptions, so think about whether it really is impossible. 

After-sales

After-sales is an area of customer service that’s just as important as the sale itself. Maintaining communication, providing assistance and knowing whether your customer needs something is essential in order to ensure that they are satisfied.

How do you get satisfied customers?

“The best advertising is done by satisfied customers”
Philip Kotler

And he’s right. Not only do satisfied customers provide us with good advertising, they do it by word of mouth. As such, having strategies that focus on maintaining their levels of satisfaction is important.

1. Know the customer

To know what your customers need, you first need to know your customers. So, never stop studying the people who consume your brand’s products. 

2. Create closeness

It’s important to have a presence and to maintain contact. So, the customer needs to know that you’re there, which builds a relationship of trust.

3. Guide the customer

Everything that goes on at your company should revolve around the customer. And that applies to everything – from the smallest things to the biggest. 

4. Evaluate the customer’s experience

Customer feedback is always very important. As such, once you’ve delivered the product or service to the customer, try to carry out an evaluation to find out exactly how satisfied they are, not only with the product but also with the service.

5. Manage customer complaints

No person or process is completely free of errors and mistakes. Neither humans nor technology. So be prepared, because complaints and demands for refunds can occur. That said, it’s essential to manage them in the best way possible, trying to clear up any of the customer’s doubts or issues with maximum friendliness.

What about you? What types of customer service does your company offer?

Don’t forget that for a successful customer service, CRM software is essential. At the end of the day, as well as optimising your processes, it enables you to obtain information about your customers including the entire history of their relationship with your company.