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Article 7 min read

10 types of customer service you should know

Learn about the 10 customer service types and how you can use them to provide an outstanding customer support experience.

Von Hannah Wren, Staff Writer

Zuletzt aktualisiert: April 26, 2024

Why do you need different types of customer service?

You need different types of customer service because your customers aren’t all the same. Some people prefer to call your service line when they have a problem, and others want to use your website’s messaging services. It’s important to be flexible and engage in different methods of customer communication.

Businesses need variety in their customer service capabilities. They need to be available via their website, phone, email, social media, and more. And with all these different mediums, it can become overwhelming.

In this article, we cover the 10 most important customer service types. We explain how to approach each support channel and how to deliver an outstanding customer experience (CX) regardless of how you connect with your customers.

More in this guide:

The 10 types of customer service

Let’s dive into the different types of customer service and how you can use them to achieve your customer service objectives.

A numbered list shows the 10 types of customer service.

1. AI-powered support

Delivering good customer service can be difficult—and that task becomes harder when you’re balancing customer needs and the demands of your business. AI-powered support uses automation to better serve your customers, lend your agents a helping hand, reduce support operational costs, and more.

Using AI transforms your customer experience into an intelligent customer experience (ICX). This can involve using AI agents to resolve consumer requests or automatically send support tickets to the most qualified and available agent. Overall, AI-powered support can create more efficient agents and faster customer experiences across all consumer touchpoints.

2. Omnichannel support

Your customers want to connect with your business on the channels they use most, whether your website, support line, or social media platforms. Omnichannel customer service connects conversations from channel to channel without losing conversation history or context.

For example, a customer may first reach out to your customer service team over email but then want to finish the conversation over the phone. Omnichannel support can accomplish that—and when the interaction switches to the phone, the support rep can access all of the customer’s information so they don’t have to repeat themselves.

3. In-person support

Even in a digital-first world—people love to shop in person and like to interact with the things they’re buying. But as the world changes, brands need to set themselves up to be flexible and embrace digital customer service—and that starts with connecting the dots between a customer’s online, mobile, and in-store visits.

Consider connecting your processes so customers can order online and pick up in-store. An extra human touch at the end of the transaction might mean all the difference for a good CX.

4. Phone support

A phone conversation remains a powerful way to solve problems, even in the age of emails and social media DMs. When customers get help over the phone, customer service representatives can resolve complex issues faster and deliver detailed, personalized customer service.

Customer service phone software can help you better understand how to staff, how many calls support agents take, and how ticket volume from your phone channel compares to other channels. With the right software, you can also benefit from a full customer history, automatic ticket creation, call recording, and other time-saving tools.

5. Email support

Email is one of the most common ways businesses engage in online customer service. The right email management software can be one of the easiest ways to organize, prioritize, and delegate customer support interactions in one place.

Email is typically easy to implement, and many customers already have an email address or know how to create one. It’s often a common type of internal support, as HR, payroll, and IT teams often use email to handle issues or answer employee questions.

Prepare for the future of customer service

Download the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2024 to learn about crucial types of customer service for this year and beyond.

6. Social media support

As we’ve touched on, customers want to be able to contact you where they spend their time. As millions of individuals and brands are on social media, you should have a presence there and be able to effectively support your customers directly on the app.

To keep up with your customers and deliver prompt service, you should have a dedicated way of managing your DMs and mentions. One option is to have a portion of your customer support team only focus on social media support.

Alternatively, some social media customer service software can turn public posts, DMs, and other social media interactions into a support ticket in your system—making it easy to keep up with your social audience.

7. Messaging and live chat support

Messaging and live chat help organizations provide instant customer support. Businesses and customers alike love these methods because they are fast, convenient, personal, and secure. While both live under the same conversational customer service umbrella, there are some differences between live chat and messaging:

  • Traditional live chat connects consumers with businesses on their website or app. This approach prioritizes “in the moment” support, as you are unable to save or transfer conversation history.
  • Messaging is an evolution of live chat that can happen in real-time or at the customer’s convenience on a business website, social media page, or app. Contrary to traditional live chat, businesses can save and transfer conversations in messaging platforms.

Whichever method you choose, know that these types of customer service can help you resolve customer issues quickly.

8. Proactive support

Before engaging in proactive support, you need to embrace a customer-first mindset. Being customer first means putting the customer at the center of your organizational decision-making rather than only focusing on your product or balance sheet. Developing this mindset is an important customer service tip that helps you deliver a positive CX.

For example, your website might be down in two weeks for scheduled maintenance. A proactive, customer-first approach would be to realize that although your website may be offline, your customers aren’t. You could email your customers announcing the maintenance dates while also giving them information on how best to contact you during this outage.

9. Self-service support

Self-service resources empower your customers to solve their own problems. These consist of knowledge bases, FAQ pages, community forums, and more that they can use to find answers to common questions. A collective knowledge base can also help your support team to find answers to their internal questions.

Offering self-service is a baseline for excellent customer service, and a great self-service experience can boost customer satisfaction, reduce support costs, and increase agent engagement.

10. Point of purchase support

Point of purchase support can provide some last-minute proactive support to your customers before they buy. This type of support typically involves a chatbot or other form of communication that customers can use to iron out any final concerns—whether that be information on your shipping policy, specific product information, or any pricing questions.

This is typically more sales-based than customer service-based, but it can be crucial to start the customer relationship on the right foot.

Frequently asked questions

Excel in every type of customer service with Zendesk

There are endless ways your customers can contact you, be it a phone call, an email, or a DM on social media. Despite all the options, the best type of customer service is service that consistently meets customer expectations–regardless of the channel. Zendesk offers omnichannel customer service software to help you create fast and personalized customer support experiences whether through an AI agent or a human agent, which, in turn, creates customer loyalty.

Start a free trial today to create more meaningful connections with your customers.

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