Customer Service Operations: Definition, Types, and BenefitsΒ 

Zuzanna Bocian

Zuzanna Bocian

9 min read
Jun 18, 2024

It wouldn’t be incorrect to refer to customers as kings and customer service as a company’s lifeblood. A customer-centric approach is crucial, and it requires exceptional customer service and experience. As a result, customer service operations play a central role in balancing increasing revenue, reducing costs, and ensuring the best customer experience.

In this guide, I’ll discuss customer service operations and how it shapes customer experience.

Definition of customer service operations

Customer service operations is a broad term that encompasses all the activities and processes a company uses to support its customers. It includes the day-to-day activities, strategies, and processes a company undertakes to assist customers, from the initial contact through an advertisement or website visit to the final farewell.

Customer service operations involve coordinated systems, strategies, and efforts to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. This is achieved through collaborative efforts, with everyone from customer service teams to managers contributing to offer the best customer experience.

It incorporates many roles, such as:

Differences between customer service operations vs. other types of customer service

Before we head further into customer service operations, it’s essential to clarify whether there are differences between customer service operations and other types of customer service.

As mentioned above, customer service operations is an umbrella term that covers all the activities, processes, and strategies related to customer service. This implies that all types of customer service come within the framework of customer service operations.

All these types are integral parts of customer service operations. So, when a company works on customer service operations, it covers every aspect of customer interaction.

Types of customer service operations

Although customer service operations is a broad term, it’s divided into multiple types based on different approaches.

Onsite support

Onsite support refers to providing customer support at the customer’s location. This type of support is common for hardware-related issues, especially when the issue is not solvable remotely and requires physical assistance from customer service agents. This can involve the installation, replacement, or repair of hardware.

Examples of industries offering onsite support:

  1. IT: The IT support team visits their client’s office facility to fix hardware issues, network connectivity, or other physical repairs.

  2. Manufacturing: Technicians visit the factory to find faulty machinery.

  3. Healthcare: Healthcare facilities send medical professionals to patients’ homes to offer bedside treatment.

Online support

Online support refers to providing web-based customer support through any digital communication channel. Today, there are multiple ways to offer online support due to digital advancements. This can include:

  1. Live chat: Direct assistance to customer inquiries through live chat support.

  2. Email: Receive and answer customer queries through the web.

  3. Social media: Interact with customers and answer their questions through different social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok, etc.

In short, all web-based support comes under this customer support operations type. Below are a few examples of industries offering online support:

  1. Banking: The banks offer their customers live chat and email-based online support.

  2. Ecommerce: The ecommerce brands offer online support through live chat, email, and social media.

  3. Telecommunication: Companies offer live chat and email support to tackle users’ queries.

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HelpDesk ticketing system

Technical support

Technical support refers to support operations for technical issues. It involves specialized support agents with the technical expertise to troubleshoot and resolve the issue. Depending on the underlying request, this customer service operations job can be performed on-site or online.

Below are a few examples of industries offering technical support:

  1. Software: Software companies provide technical support to assist users in software-related issues, like installation, troubleshooting, etc.

  2. Manufacturing: The manufacturing industry relies on on-site and online technical support to address hardware or software issues.

Outsourced customer support

Outsourced customer support is another type of customer service operation that refers to taking the services of a third-party company to handle customer support. This is a popular way to reduce the in-house burden of handling customer support and save costs. In addition, it helps the company keep its focus on business growth.

Below are a few examples of industries using outsourced customer support:

Core elements of effective customer service operations

Customer service operations should be effective in optimizing the service experience for customers and increasing loyalty. Therefore, some of the core elements of effective customer service operations are as follows:

1. Response time

Response time implies the average time customer support takes to respond to customers’ inquiries. The competitive era and changing customer demands urge companies to offer fast responses.

71% of consumers (age 16-24) believe quick responses can drastically improve their customer experience (source). According to SuperOffice, almost 46% of customers expect a response faster than 4 hours, while 12% expect a response in 15 minutes or less (source).

However, fast response time is crucial to effective customer support operations. Some of the ways to reduce response time include:

Reports in HelpDesk

2. Accessibility

Accessibility implies how easy and accessible it is for all customers to reach the customer service team. Simply put, a company must offer various contact methods and ensure that those methods are designed to be accessible to all customers.

Some of the ways you can optimize accessibility in customer operations include:

3. Multi-channel support

Multi-channel support implies offering customer support through multiple channels. Today, customers expect to interact with the company from any digital medium, such as phone, live chat, social media, or email.

For effective customer service operations, you must offer multi-channel support. Empower customers to reach your customer service operations associate from any platform of their liking. For that, you must know the main platforms your customers prefer.

For example, if you’re an ecommerce brand, customers may like to interact with you through Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp. Therefore, evaluate how customers interact and then support all those channels.

You can deploy customer service software like HelpDesk, which streamlines communication between customers and support agents through different channels, such as chat, email, social media, etc.

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HelpDesk integration with LiveChat

4. Customer feedback integration

Customer feedback is another core element of effective customer service operations. It’s important to collect customer feedback regularly to hear what customers say about your services. It helps identify issues and changing customer needs.

There are multiple ways to collect customer feedback, such as surveys, interviews, feedback forms, or social media channels.

HelpDesk bot

In addition to gathering customer feedback, you should also incorporate it into support operations. For instance, if the customer feedback indicates complaints about long wait times, this issue can be addressed by increasing the number of customer service operations associates, utilizing remote or in-house staff, or automating common customer inquiries with AI chatbots.

Importance of technology and software in enhancing support operations

In addition to the above four elements of effective customer service operations, emerging technologies and software solutions also play a vital role in improving support operations.

For example, a prominent technological innovation is the AI chatbot. An AI chatbot is like a virtual customer support agent that can automatically respond to common queries with its pre-trained data. This significantly lowers the number of support queries and improves employees’ performance, as they have to focus only on complex queries.

Similarly, there are now many software solutions to enhance customer support operations. To better understand, consider HelpDesk as an example.

HelpDesk is a powerful customer service software that streamlines all customer support activities. Below is a quick glimpse of the key features of HelpDesk:

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Benefits of efficient customer service operations

Looking at the above basics of customer service operations, it’s evident that efficient customer operations bring many benefits.

1. Increased customer satisfaction/loyalty/retention

Excellent customer service operations undoubtedly lead to more satisfied customers and increase retention and loyalty. 73% of consumers say a good experience is vital in influencing brand loyalty (source).

When customer concerns are heard and resolved timely with the best customer experience, it gives a sense of value and appreciation that customers expect today. 86% of consumers want to purchase more for a better customer experience (source).

2. Economic benefits

93% of customers will likely repeat purchases with excellent customer service brands (source). So, you’ll have more sales with existing customers, while these customers will also market your brand further. 72% of customers will share their positive experiences with six or more people (source). This is free word-of-mouth marketing and holds the potential to bring many new customers.

Secondly, efficient customer service operations bring cost efficiency in many ways. For example, if you have deployed an AI chatbot, it will handle common queries independently. You need fewer human agents and in-house resources to handle customer support. Similarly, you can automate many other repetitive tasks and lower the operational costs.

3. Competitive advantages

Efficient customer service operations also give competitive advantages. Today’s customers prefer convenience, appreciation, and personalized experiences. If your customer operations are top-notch, all these aspects will be fulfilled effectively.

Summary

Customer service operations encompass all customer support processes, activities, and strategies to improve customer experience. Efficient service operations result in customer satisfaction, higher revenue, and a competitive advantage.

It’s time to enhance your approach by utilizing the latest technologies and software solutions, such as HelpDesk, to ensure excellent customer service operations.

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