How to Improve Your Online Customer Service

Ian Loew Ian Loew · 5 min read

Since consumers can get anything online, online customer service is more important than ever.

If you want to provide an excellent customer experience and grow your customer loyalty, you should work on improving digital customer service.

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Source: Superoffice

The good news is, that a great customer experience is a top priority for nearly half of the companies.

But with customers’ growing expectations, organizations have to keep up with the changing trends.

They must constantly adjust to ensure their customer service meets changing customer expectations. How can you improve your business’s online customer service? Let’s get to the point.

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1. Analyze the Service Needs of Your Customers

To improve your online customer service, you need to know what your customers’ needs are. That will help you communicate better and resolve problems more effectively.

Ask yourself the common questions people ask and their frequent issues. What do customers value in interactions? What are their favorite means of contact?

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Source: Nicereply

You can get the answers to these questions by speaking with your customer service representatives. Sending out a survey to previous customers will also help you understand their needs. Here are other questions you could ask:

Once you know your customers’ needs, you can take the relevant actions to serve them better.

2. Offer Live Chat Support

People love quick solutions. That holds even in customer service. The good news is, that there are tools at your disposal that allow you to give this kind of service. Live chat, for instance, can help you provide fast online customer service.

Besides, 73% of customers prefer live chat as a communication medium for customer support. Why wouldn’t they?

On average, replying to a customer’s email takes one working day. Your customers can be “served” with live chat within two minutes.

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From the customer’s point of view, they can also continue performing other tasks even when they’re having a live chat conversation.

In other words, live chat is an opportunity to ensure customer satisfaction.

Petplan Pet Insurance is one example of a company using live chat for its customer service. The live chat is available on the company’s Facebook page and website.

Online support is now a standard, with 81% of customers using online chats or live support for communicating with companies.

Ignoring people’s expectations can backfire on your business, resulting in prospects turning away and seeking business relationships elsewhere.

3. Regularly Update Your FAQ Page

People usually head over to the FAQ page to look for answers before contacting the company directly. Keeping a regularly updated FAQ page can help you as a business.

Your website’s FAQ page should provide clear answers to common questions asked by customers. The more specific and helpful your answers, the higher the customer satisfaction.

Regular updates are critical to keeping the FAQ page helpful. In cases when you decide to develop your e-commerce website, make changes to privacy policies, or swap couriers, for example, you need to include the updates in your FAQ section.

You don’t want to leave inaccurate information on your site and confuse and irritate customers.

Here are some of the other things your FAQ section should include:

  • how to use your product
  • delivery options
  • shipping services cost, time
  • conditions for exchanges and returns
  • how to claim a warranty
  • how to order
  • do customers need to register
  • how to recycle the packaging
  • the best ways to contact the company

Here’s a great example of a FAQ page from Virgin Plus, a prepaid and postpaid wireless service company in Canada:

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Source: Virgin Plus

Notice the red live chat icon on the right (remember what we discussed earlier?). That assures the user that if they can’t find an answer, the company is ready to provide it via live chat.

4. Use Social Media for Customer Support

Being active on social media can help your business in many ways. You can use social media for online customer service. Your efforts will be noticed, and people will see your brand as one that listens to its customers.

Dealing with frustrated customers isn’t an easy task. But there are best practices you can follow from other companies.

For example, T-Mobile for Business is a company you can emulate. When an unsatisfied customer publishes a post full of complaints, the company’s online customer agent sends a reply with instructions on how they can help:

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Some 42% of consumers expect a 60-minute reply time for their complaints on social media. Therefore, you should swiftly reply to customer questions, complaints, and reviews.

You’ll stand out from the competition when your brand maintains a consistently helpful online presence when interacting with customers. Be kind, use clear terminology, and always say thank you, even to users who give bad comments.


Spotify is another excellent example. They run a Twitter support account @SpotifyCares to provide quick responses and updates on common issues. The music streaming platform also has a @SpotifyStatus account where followers can find updates on the current status of their issues. Spotify makes it easy for customers to contact them.

5. Provide Self-Service Options

Around 70% of consumers expect websites to have a self-service feature. That has become a necessity rather than an option for customers.

Self-service can help your customers in different ways. Giving people a choice is one way. While some customers prefer speaking face-to-face, many will try to help themselves instead of speaking with customer service representatives.

Self-servicing also reduces wait times. The more instructions and solutions people can find on your website, the fewer people queue to speak with the assistants. Customers seek an effortless experience, and self-service is a way to achieve it.

Your company will benefit from providing self-service by:

  • Reducing costs – Hiring customer service agents costs money. Reducing the number of customer inquiries can free up your agents so they can focus on more complex cases.
  • Increasing flexibility – You’re giving your customers 24/7 service.
  • Driving loyaltyMaking things easy for people will increase customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers can turn into loyal allies for your brand.

So, what are the most common types of online customer self-service? Apart from FAQs, you can have how-to videos, interactive guides, and online customer community forums, to name a few. Here’s a screenshot of Dropbox’s community page:

There are 379,991 posts, split into categories for easier navigation. That’s quite a lot!

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Another example comes from plastic trash cans manufacturer Glasdon Inc. Besides a sales video, the company shows a demonstration video on its product pages. Clients can learn how to use and maintain their products on their own this way.

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With self-service options for your customers, you can enhance customer satisfaction by giving your consumers a degree of control.

6. Measure Customer Service Metrics

Measuring customer service metrics helps you understand your business performance. No wonder it’s critical to improve your online customer service. With an assessment of customer service metrics, you’ll be able to reflect on your customer service team’s productivity and service delivery.

You can learn what people expect and develop a more refined online customer service strategy plan.

The most important metrics to focus on when trying to improve online customer service include:

  • Response time – find out how quick your customer service agents are in addressing customer queries.
  • Resolution time – learn how quickly your assistants deal with customers, providing an effective solution.
  • The number of positive outcomes – this is the total number of issues fixed out of the total queries assigned.

After measuring your metrics, you can implement strategies to improve your online customer service. That may include introducing new software and training programs to improve the efficiency of your agents.

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Wrapping Up

Providing a high level of online customer service is critical to keeping up with the growing demands of customers. That is what consumers want, so businesses need to give this to them.

You can improve your company’s online customer support by analyzing your clients’ needs and measuring customer service metrics. You can introduce a live chat tool and self-service options like a FAQ page in your customer service strategy.

Social media is also an excellent channel for speaking to your customers. When you improve your online customer service, rest assured you’ll achieve greater customer satisfaction.

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Ian Loew Ian Loew

Ian Loew is a web entrepreneur and inbound marketing expert, and the Owner & Head of Business Development of Lform Design. After four years of helping Fortune 500 companies with MGT Design, Ian embarked on his freelance career before establishing Lform Design in 2005. He leads a team of creative professionals to deliver inspired online experiences via modern, responsive websites that reflect his clients' core values. When not at the helm, Ian can be found mountain biking with friends or spending time with his family.

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