Types of Online Customer Service and their Pros and Cons


As the name suggests, online customer service deals with catering to customers’ queries using digital means i.e. via email, social media channels, live chat on the websites, messaging apps, etc.

There are several benefits to online customer service as well, including customers getting immediate help whenever required, more than one customer’s request can be managed by support teams, and wait times can be reduced leading to an increase in customer satisfaction.

As a result of online customer service, more and more companies are working towards prioritizing customer experiences.

One of the ways that they are prioritizing customers’ experiences is by introducing multiple channels of communication for customers to reach out through. Now each of these channels or types of customer service comes with its own benefits as well as disadvantages and that is going to be explored in this article.

For instance, social media customer service is the most common type of customer service these days, what with customers being able to get in touch with the brands without leaving their favorite social media platforms, customers being able to share their experiences of dealing with the brands, etc.

However, the one thing that could damage the reputation of a brand through social media is that social media platforms are available to everyone, which means any negative feedback shared by a customer can be read by everyone.

This one con doesn’t make it easy for brands to be able to use social media platforms for customers with their interactions, but still, they take the risk anyway. There are other risks too that come with the cons of other types of customer service being discussed in this article.

Types of Online Customer Service

Let’s explore some of the types of online customer service and their pros and cons below;

Phone Customer Service

Using the phone has always been one of the ways through which customers can reach out to organizations and brands. Many private and public companies often use this type of communication with their consumers, due to the following pros;

  • Can be used to solve complex issues quickly.
  • Almost every household has access to a phone.
  • Can be used to easily assess customers’ moods.
  • Some customers prefer direct communication.

The Xfinity customer service operationsexemplify quality customer service. If you were an Xfinity internet subscriber and you experienced problems in network connections, it would have been feasible for you to dial the Xfinity phone number, where any member of the Xfinity customer service would have quickly responded and helped solve the issue.

While phone customer service has a lot of pros, there are certain cons to it as well;

  • Hold times are too long when staff isn’t available.
  • Call quality suffers because of poor network reception.
  • Younger generations prefer texting over phone interaction, which is why phone customer service might be becoming a less popular method.

Email Customer Service

While phone communication might be dying, email communication is still one of the online contact platforms for customers to reach out to the companies through. The benefit of email customer service includes;

  • Queries and questions can be sent to the company email any time – even after business hours.
  • Companies can reply to email conversations at appropriate times after proper research and perusal of the issues.
  • Companies can even automate answers to repetitive questions with chatbots so that they can focus their energy on more pressing matters.

The pros of email communication include;

  • It can be time-consuming to read and write emails, more than phone communication
  • If there is a complex problem, then it will take multiple emails being sent and received for the problem to be solved
  • Also, it is difficult to gauge customer’s emotions and feelings over email communication

Live Chat Customer Service

Nowadays live chat customer service is a must-have for online businesses due to its convenience and ease of access.

  • In live chat conversations, customer support can communicate with multiple simultaneously.
  • Automate responses to repetitive questions can be used here too with the help of integrated chatbots.
  • Also, both the parties have proof of the conversation for references in the future.

The only thing that makes live chat different from email conversation is that live chat offers faster response times. However, what is lacking in live chat is that;

  • Live chat customer service might be faster than email communication, but it’s still not as quick as phone communication in solving queries.
  • Also being an indirect form of communication, live chat communication makes it difficult to narrow down what the customer is feeling at the moment.

Wrapping Up

The power of any type of customer channel is limited, and when done right, companies can generate a high conversion rate and have their businesses booming.

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