6 Essential Types of Customer Service Every Business Should Offer To Rock Customer Care

You always hear, “High-quality customer service is the key to business success.” Most web definitions of it include:

  • prompt responses 
  • focus on customer satisfaction
  • and being sensitive to the customer’s needs

While all of these are true, we always like to emphasize that ‘high-quality customer service’ also means omnichannel support. Ideally, you must be omnipresent. After all, customers today expect companies to be reachable through various channels like live chat support, social media, email, and in-person. It’s been reported that omnichannel customer engagement increases revenue by 9.5%.

The thing is, different support channels mean different customer service types. Understanding each of them is essential to ensure a seamless customer experience at every touchpoint

So, what should your business offer? Sit back, and relax because we will uncover the six customer service types. 

Types of customer service experience

Customer service being offered via phone support

Customers interact with a business in various ways to resolve their concerns, questions, or needs. Below are the six different types of customer service experience.

1. Traditional

There are two traditional ways for customers to reach a business—by either phone calls or in person:

  • Phone-based support: Customers must call the support line to get assistance with any issues or questions. 
  • In-person customer service: This is typically for brick-and-mortar establishments. You can’t underestimate face-to-face customer service because nearly 85% of retail still takes place offline. 

Some tips you can apply for this type of customer service experience:

  • For phone-based service, smile and use a friendly tone. Even though the customer can’t see you, they can hear a smile in your voice. For in-person service, greet customers warmly as they enter your company, and make them feel valued throughout the engagement.
  • Always approach customer complaints or concerns with empathy, patience, and a willingness to help.
  • Maintain a positive attitude in the workplace, even during busy or stressful situations. 

Also, take note that the physical environment of the business establishment has a huge impact in shaping how customers perceive the service they receive. So, be mindful of the store layout, ambiance, and cleanliness.

2. Digital or online

The rise of digital transactions was brought to us by technological advances. As of 2023, retail eCommerce sales globally topped 5.8 trillion U.S. dollars. But with the increasing popularity of online shopping, consumer preferences changed. And so, the importance of digital customer service is also increasing. 

Digital communication channels include:

  • Live chat: interacting with agents via real-time messaging 
  • Social media direct messaging: platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp let customers contact companies directly from their business profiles
  • Email: asynchronous messaging where customers can explain their issues on their own time and just wait for a reply
  • Self-service: customers now first try to find solutions on their own via help centers, knowledge bases, FAQs, or forums 

Here are a few tips to enhance your digital customer service style:

  • Always acknowledge any inquiries you receive. Set up automated responses to reassure your customers their concerns are received.
  • Make self-service resources easily accessible and regularly updated for common inquiries.
  • Make sure that your website or app is designed with responsive layouts for a seamless mobile experience. Today, it’s forecasted that there are 17.72 billion mobile devices worldwide.

3. Behind-the-scenes

Customer service team working behind the scenes to increase customer satisfaction

Like in movies, there’s also behind-the-scenes customer support team that enables front-end operations to function smoothly. This is more widely known as back-office support, and this customer service style is the collective term for the teams, systems, and processes that work together to support actual customer service operations. This includes payroll and financial management, tech support, and data analysis. They support the customer-facing reps through expertise, enablement, and operational efficiency.

For customer service teams implementing back-office support, best practices include:

  • Conducting quality monitoring to evaluate back-office support teams’ performance and to pinpoint coaching opportunities.
  • Eliminating redundant tasks by automating repetitive processes and developing workflow optimization strategies.
  • Regularly holding ongoing training programs and workshops to keep back-office support members updated on best practices and new technologies.

4. AI customer service

Basically, this customer service type happens when customers channel their concerns through AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants—whether through text-based or voice-based interfaces. 

And it’s not rare because the size of the chatbot market could reach 1.25 billion U.S. dollars in 2025. AI customer service systems leverage machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), and other advanced algorithms to understand customer inquiries and resolve issues without human intervention.

Use the following strategies to enhance the AI customer service agent experience:

  • Prioritize AI applications for use cases where they can add value, like answering common customer inquiries and analyzing customer data.
  • Be transparent with customers that they’re interacting with artificial intelligence to manage their expectations.
  • Recognize that there may be complex issues and situations that require human intervention, thereby setting up escalation procedures and monitoring protocols.

5. Complaint resolution-specific departments

Angry customers being handled by customer service team and customer service reps

Ever encountered a brand with a specific complaint resolution department? Personally, I did—and troubleshooting was fast. 

So, this fact is noteworthy—90% of consumers consider issue resolution the most important aspect of customer service. Complaint resolution-specific departments are dedicated solely to handling customer complaints. Their primary responsibility is to listen to customer concerns, investigate these issues thoroughly, and come up with satisfactory resolutions. 

Here are some tips for implementing this type of customer service experience:

  • Always validate the customer’s frustration. Acknowledge the customer’s feelings first before presenting solutions.
  • Ask relevant questions to collect useful information and uncover the root cause of the issue.
  • Keep customers in the loop throughout the complaint resolution process, then follow up to assess their satisfaction and clarify any lingering concerns.

6. Customer loyalty program

Customer loyalty programs are a type of customer service experience focused on incentivizing and rewarding customers for their continued patronage. These programs foster long-term relationships with customers, promote repeat business, and increase customer retention by maximizing customer lifetime value. Loyalty programs influence 83% of consumers’ decisions to buy again.

The best practices for companies with customer loyalty programs include:

  • Simplify the enrollment process for your loyalty program and minimize barriers to participation.
  • Ensure customers understand the best ways to maximize points/rewards.
  • For high-tier members, offer exclusive perks or benefits (like VIP access to events, sneak previews of new products, or members-only promotions) to make them feel valued and special.

Pros, cons, and costs for each type

Customer service options exploring phone calls, social media customer service, and interactive voice response
Type of Customer ServiceProsConsResources Needed
Traditional customer serviceThere is solid proof that the human touch is present.

You can expect the fastest possible resolution of issues.

Your face-to-face service allows you to read non-verbal cues and interact more effectively.
There may be a limit to the availability depending on business hours.

Geographical limits can affect accessibility to services.
Infrastructure (e.g., facilities) costs.
Digital or onlineYou can use multiple channels to start communications.

You can reach more customers globally.

You can provide self-service options for customers.
May appear impersonal compared to in-person service.

There may be potential system downtime
Budget for customer support software and tools
Behind-the-scenesYou have direct access to experts for handling complex issues.

You have reliable support for empowering frontline staff.
No direct communication with customers may come across as limited visibility and reactivity.Expenses for implementation and maintenance of backend systems
AI customer serviceYou’re available 24/7 for customer inquiries.

You can handle large volumes of customer interactions.

AI-powered bots can continuously learn and improve through machine learning algorithms.
May risk being “too botty,” which can result in customer dissatisfaction.

There may be inaccuracies in AI-powered responses.
Training and ongoing support for agents using AI systems.

Maintenance and updates for AI systems
Complaint resolution-specific departmentYou have a centralized department for handling complaints.

You have ready-access to expert advice on handling customer complaints.
Requires ongoing training and development to maintain complaint resolution expertise.Staff training and development for complaint resolution.

Monitoring and quality assurance mechanisms.
Customer loyalty programsStrategic for enhancing customer relationships and loyalty.

This program is a channel that collects customer data and insights for targeted marketing.
You may diminish your product’s value if rewards are not perceived as valuable.Additional budget for rewards and incentives offered to customers

Common principles in all of them

Each type of customer service experience has its unique characteristics and implementation strategies. But on a more detailed inspection, there are several common principles that apply across all types of customers service among them:

1. Customer-centricity is key

Regardless of the customer service type, the ultimate focus is on meeting the needs and expectations of the customer. Decisions are based on what is best for the customer, not what is best for internal operations.

2. Personalization is king. 

Even if you have different customer service channels to offer, getting personal is still one of the biggest players in enhancing the customer experience. By that, we mean continuously researching the customer’s history and past interactions prior to contact so you tailor interactions, recommendations, and solutions to individual customers

3. Problem-solving skills are fundamental.

It’s a must that customer service reps and teams can easily identify and resolve customer issues. This requires your customer service representatives to put their investigative mindset forward to understand the root cause fully. At the core, they must have strong analytical abilities to get to the heart of problems and come up with solutions.

4. Data-driven approach

High-quality customer service never relies on assumptions. They leverage data collection and analytics to the customer service team gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends for optimizing the customer service experience.

5. A strong sense of ownership

All customer service styles have an agent who takes full responsibility for the end-to-end, on site customer service experience. No finger-pointing and delays which frustrate customers. With clear ownership, there is follow through on solving issues fully rather than leaving things half-done.

Caveat: there might be two MAJOR types of customer service

Despite having different types of customer service experience, it all boils down to how your approach meets customer needs. Are you addressing or preventing customer issues? If that’s the case, we can say that there are just two types of excellent customer service:

  • Reactive customer service is when your businesses address immediate customer concerns as they arise. That’s where timely assistance and resolutions really matter. 
  • Proactive customer service, on the other hand, prevents issues before they occur. This involves anticipating customer needs and providing assistance or guidance before they ask for it. 

Match customer needs with the right type of customer support

Customer service department receiving high ratings

Businesses trying to meet the diverse preferences of their customers effectively must understand the different types of customer service experiences that various communication channels give. Each type of customer service strategy comes with its own pros and cons, and you want to make sure your approach fits your resources and audience.

If you need help providing excellent customer service across all of your social media support your channels, check out our team at LTVplus. We train and select our customer service agents accordingly so they are prepared to deal with inquiries or issues from customers. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our services.

Need a dedicated customer experience team ready to support your brand?

Book a consultation with us and we’ll get you set up.

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