Enhancing Customer Service Connections Online


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Delivering a personable customer service in today’s technological age must be matched by quality and knowledge about the product or service to avoid customer frustration.

Customer service representatives make up more than 2 million employees in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Customer service reps are responsible for providing online shoppers with “a consistent and relevant brand experience,” which is what customers shopping online demand and expect from retailers, according to NetSuite.com.

Complementing a retail management software from NetSuite with efficient digital communication platforms can drive growth and increase revenue for your business. Enhance your customers’ shopping experiences with the following types of connectivity.

The Demise of the Telephone

Phone-in customer service predates online services by decades. When someone needs to find out how to order a replacement part for their appliance or if they need a walk-through for software installation, they can speak to an expert for assistance. This personable service must be matched by quality and knowledge about the product or service to avoid customer frustration. Delayed assistance because of lengthy holding times on the phone also lowers the quality of customer service.

Dying employment rates further exemplify how customer service over the telephone is becoming more outdated. According to Career Builder, the BLS had predicted that 2012 would experience more job openings than applicants for this profession, including customer service reps who respond to inquiries over the phone.

How is the customer service experience evolving as retailers and businesses strive to meet the needs of online customers?

Live Chat for Better Customer Service

According to Entrepreneurship in a Box, 51 percent of top-performing, U.S.-based companies use Web-based customer service, including live chat to handle customer service. Live chat has increased by 24 percent from 2010 to 2013 in the customer service marketplace. Companies can provide customers with much shorter queue times via live chat in comparison to telephone-based customer service. Live customer service chat also prevents callers from being put on hold because of fielding questions with Web-based modules.

Live chat works by typing a complaint, issue or question into a text box that connects to a customer service representative in seconds. Keep in mind that as you adopt a live chat platform, security and privacy are concerns to address. And although live chat is convenient and quick, the speedy service eliminates personalization. Operators must retain the same level of personalization with live chat services as telephone-based customer services.

Email and the Customer Experience

Email, or form-based customer service, leverages the speed and efficiency of the Internet. Inc.com states that email is the most rapidly expanding customer service option with past growth that’s exploded “from 2.9 billion emails in 2005 to 7.2 billion by 2010,” according to a Jupiter Research study. Compared to the cost of stamps, printing services and the time spent on sending snail mail, email serves as a nearly free customer service option. Also, ensure that your customer service email system monitors activity to prevent hacking and compromising customers’ confidential information.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


  1. Live chat is really good for customer service and I’m glad that it has become one of the most important channels for communication. I’m impressed with companies that have a chat app appearing in their site’s home page. I don’t have to reach out for a phone just to speak to a call center agent. Help is already right there on the screen.

    However, we can’t ignore the power of social media. Remember that everyone’s in social media already not only for engagement and conversations but also for customer care. I talk to my telco provider via Twitter for my concerns and I get quick responses.


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