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Digital Customer Service: What It Is and Why You Need It

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
Digital Customer Service What It Is and Why You Need It

Is your business offering adequate customer service? It might not be if it doesn’t take an omnichannel approach featuring the digital options many consumers today prefer. This guide explains digital customer service, its benefits to consumers and businesses, and some options for implementing it.

What Is Digital Customer Service?

Digital customer service is the process of assisting customers online using digital tools like chat, email, social media, text messaging, and others. Digital customer service has overtaken traditional methods like phone calls or in-person conversations.

Digital Customer Service: The Benefits

Businesses and consumers benefit from digital customer service in many ways, including the following.

Improved Service Quality

Interacting with prospects and customers digitally creates a virtual paper trail. You automatically retain records of your interactions, including the content and results of all your email campaigns, online ratings and reviews, social media interactions, chatbot exchanges, and more.

You can use this data to identify things your organization excels at and what it could do better. For instance, if your email open rates are high, it’s likely a sign that people value your content. If you see the same issues coming up time after time in chat, you could have a systemic customer service issue that needs addressing.

Make it a habit to review your digital records to identify ways to improve your customer experience.

Faster Response Time

Remember — less than a decade ago — when you had to endlessly listen to hold music when you contacted companies? Digital customer service has virtually eliminated that time waste.

You can set up a chatbot and train it using artificial intelligence (AI) to answer your most frequently asked questions online. With the popularity of online chat, consumers only need to engage with a customer service representative if the issue requires human expertise.

A relatively small investment in digital customer service technology typically pays off in significant savings in staffing while delivering a better user experience.

Meeting Customer Expectations and Improving Satisfaction

Digital interactions can happen when and how consumers prefer. They can select email, chat, or social messaging apps like Facebook. And if they want to reach out to companies in the middle of the night, they can likely get answers to their questions or — at worst — a response in the morning.

If companies want to keep their customers happy, they must offer multiple communication options 24/7. Small businesses that don’t invest in online customer service will fall behind their digitally-savvy competitors

Expanded Global Reach

Digitizing customer service makes it possible for companies to provide support all over the globe without having physical offices or employing countless people in different locations.

Technology allows you to effectively answer queries no matter where customers are. The answers can be translated into different languages through the power of artificial intelligence (AI), maintaining the same standard of customer service globally, which positively reflects on a brand.

Examples of Digital Customer Service Technology

Here are some popular technologies used to deliver service online.

Live Chat

Live chat is an online discussion between a consumer and a human representative. It’s popular with people who don’t like talking on the phone or want a quick response to a query. Companies that don’t invest in it risk losing the growing number of those who appreciate anonymity and speed.


AI chatbots are also popular with people who appreciate the benefits of live chat. They’re also great for those who need to connect with a company during off hours. Can your business afford to lose customers who need to communicate with you when your representatives aren’t available?

Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is a collection of the most essential information about your company, such as your small business FAQs, overviews of products and services, and instructions. Website visitors can navigate categories — or chapters — to find the information they want.

Investing money and time to set up a knowledge base pays off for both consumers and businesses. Website visitors can find answers to their questions, while the company minimizes the amount of incoming communication. Plus, well-informed consumers are far more likely to purchase than those with knowledge gaps.

Social Media Management

People of all ages today are active on social media, and many prefer to communicate with brands via Facebook, X, and other platforms. When they do, they expect to get answers quickly. Social media management software like ClickUp and Hootsuite make it possible.

A key advantage of social media is more personalized communication. Brands can even use humor at times, which reduces distance and helps to build better relationships with customers.

Digital Customer Service: Why Multichannel Is Key

Different people have different customer service preferences. Some like personal interactions, but more and more are turning to virtual ones. Even within that group, some consumers prefer chat, while others are more likely to explore a knowledge base.

That’s why your business must take an omnichannel approach to customer service. Depending on one or two communication options could put your business at risk because it may not be enough to satisfy all your customer preferences. Those unable to connect with your company in the way they prefer could move on to your competitors who offer more options.

Take time to find out how your customers want to connect with representatives and prioritize offering them an omnichannel customer service program aligned with their preferences.

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