Skills and data; the perfect combination for an efficient online customer service department


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The ongoing digitalisation of customer contact has forced us to look for new ways to efficiently organise our online customer service. The role of service employees has been changing drastically and the skills they need to keep up with these developments are changing as well. But what are the consequences of the changes to their position? And how can you use the predictive power of data to organise your online customer service department as efficiently as possible?

The multi-skilled online customer service employee

The trends within online customer service have shown that the modern service employee has to take on an increasing amount of tasks. It is no longer simply about answering the questions of customers, it plays a role within other departments as well, such as marketing, sales and product development.

Opportunities for lead generation thanks to proactive employees

Easy to reach, digital channels have lowered the threshold for service and customers are asking for help and advice much more quickly than before. As a result, it often happens that a service employee will have to act in the interest of sales, in order to help customers with their purchase. Monitoring tools give you the possibility to monitor based on searches. By finding out which terms are used in the messages of potential customers, you can actively monitor these terms and proactively contact them if the opportunity arises.

Brand reputation lies (partly) in the hands of the online customer service department

Due to the arrival of social media, the amount of service messages that organisations receive via social media and messaging channels has increased considerably in the last several years. At the same time, consumer expectations regarding organisations and their services are growing steadily as well. The threshold for consumers to share their experience about organisations online is lower than ever. Online customer service employees therefore have to be aware of the fact that they influence the reputation of the organisation.

“Complaints about bad service or negative events can go viral on social media in no time and can really hurt the reputation of a company,” says Alexander de Ruiter

Online customer service for the purpose of product development

When customers have questions or complaints about products or services, the online customer service department will handle this. By tagging questions and comments, you can find out what most questions and complaints are about. Are they about a specific product or service? Then it is important to discuss this with the Product Development department.

In brief, the online customer service department are the eyes and ears of the organisation and short lines of communication with other departments, like sales, marketing and product development, make sure the department can perform optimally. But how do you make sure you are always up to date with what is going on around the organisation? Data can help you create this overall picture. Not only afterwards through reports on online customer service performance, but also in advance as a predictor.

The predictive power of online data

Predicting the amount of calls in order to optimise the staffing level of your customer contact centre is a method that has been used for years. But predictions can also be made based on online data, for example to determine the required staffing of the online customer service team or for insights into (recurring) events. So it is important to make good use of this. Below you can find some useful tips and tricks!

Data as predictor for real time events

Online news spreads like a wildfire. Is there any particular news that could reach the papers and influence your organisation? Then it is a good idea to keep an eye on this news in real time, for example through a narrowcasting. The messaging can be an indication of pressure on the online customer service department when (potential) customers come to you with questions.

Find relevant moments you can play into with data analysis

If you want to set up a campaign for a certain holiday, it is important to analyse what people have said before and during this holiday the previous years. How fantastic is it when you monitor specific needs and can play into this in real time? You cannot get more relevant! For example, write a report in which you analyse what people are talking about in the time around Valentine’s Day and whether they need something that you can play into.

Launching a product? Be prepared!

When you launch a new product or service, you can expect to get questions. Therefore, it is good to know what questions arose during previous product launches. To do this, you can retrieve data from similar products from your own organisation or the competitor. For example, you could analyse what amount of questions the online customer service team received during the previous product launch, so you can make sure there is enough staff available during this time.

Linsey Jepma
As a content marketeer, I'm daily occupied with the latest developments in the field of online customer service, chatbots, social media monitoring, reputation management and data insights. I'm always looking for interesting stories. Let's get in touch!


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