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Digital vs Offline Customer Service

digital vs offline customer service article header

Customer service can have a big impact on your customer satisfaction and retention.

How big of an impact? Well, 94% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases from businesses that have given them fantastic customer service.

When acquiring a new customer costs up to 5x more on average than retaining customers, it shows how vital customer service is not just for repeat sales, but for keeping your outgoings down too.

You might even be surprised to know that providing great customer service can help you acquire new customers too. If you get a reputation for excellent customer service, you’re more likely to get referrals and new customers through word of mouth.

So, clearly, customer service is very important – but which type of customer service is the most effective?

Digital Customer Service

The digital world has transformed many aspects of business, and customer service is one of them.

Social media platforms, especially Twitter, have been adopted by a lot of businesses as a hub to provide their customers with product and service updates and answer customers' questions directly through replies or direct messages.

More recently, the advancements of AI chatbots and automation tools have allowed customers to find answers and troubleshoot simple issues without having to speak with a customer service agent – with 68% of consumers saying they like chatbots as they give quick answers.

Even simple customer service email addresses or forms on websites allow businesses to manage customer queries and support requests more efficiently.

Despite digital customer service allowing businesses to manage customer queries more efficiently, and even automate aspects of their customer service, it comes at the cost of human interaction that can make your customers feel more valued and connected to your business.

While many issues can be solved via online customer service and automation, sometimes your customers just want to pick up the phone and speak to someone.

This is certainly the case for more advanced or serious issues that they are experiencing, as chatbots are mainly designed to provide solutions to minor, more common problems.

various customer service icons on a digital screen

Offline Customer Service

Customer service has been around long before the digital age.

Telephone customer service, complaint letters in the mail, or face-to-face for those with premises – it’s been around for decades.

But with the dawn of the digital age, surely these customer service methods have long been dead, right? Wrong.

If your customers have got an issue with your product or service, nine times out of ten, they’ll go straight online and search for a solution, whether that be on your website, a forum, or just on Google.

But the solution to their problem might not be available online or might be unique to them, so giving them the option to pick up the phone and speak to a real person about their issue can ease their frustration and make them feel heard.

If you have a physical product that your customers need help with, the ability to go in-store and speak to a customer service advisor will be a lot less hassle than trying to explain the issue over email or on social media.

This can give some retailers the edge over their online-only competitors.

If you buy a PC online and after a few months it suddenly won’t turn on, you’ll have to email customer service, wait for a response, and then send off your PC to be fixed or wait for a replacement. If you bought it from Currys PC World, for example, it’s going to be much quicker and easier to pop into your local store and get it fixed.

The downside to telephone and in-store customer service is that it’s often more costly and time-consuming than online customer service, as you’ll need to dedicate a few members of support staff to man the phones or physical stores.

So while online customer service and automation are more convenient for some businesses, they can often come at the cost of convenience to the customer if they don’t provide offline customer service over the phone or in person.

a person using a telemarketing headset to answer customer service calls

So which is better?

The truth is online and offline customer service both play important roles in creating a positive customer experience.

Digital customer service can provide quick solutions to common issues and can be automated to save you time and money. Offline customer service gives a personal touch and the much-needed human interaction that maintains a connection with your customers.

Rather than focusing on one or the other, striking the right balance of online and offline customer service can massively improve your customer experience, and cater to different customers’ needs and preferences.

Need some help with your customer service?

If you’re looking to improve your customer service and don’t know where to start, give us a call on 01329 275100 to have a chat with a member of our team about our Customer Support services.

If you’re looking to provide more support to your customers online, visit our digital agency’s website to learn more about our digital customer support services.


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