Digital Customer Service: Benefits and Pointers for Business Success

February 15, 2024 7 min read

Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon

What Is Digital Customer Service?

Digital customer service is the support and assistance businesses provide customers through online channels such as chat, email, or social media. It uses technology to enhance communication, address questions, and resolve issues more conveniently than traditional customer service channels.

Customer service is a full-contact sport. You need to be there when customers need you most.

Businesses need to be proactive to get ahead of their customers’ needs by using tools like customer service automations while avoiding overspending on novelty solutions. Digital customer service is a must for businesses looking to offer a competitive customer experience (CX).

Customer expectations drive businesses to innovate, and those expectations aren’t going anywhere. With convenience on the rise, patience is lower than ever. According to Forrester:

19% of brands saw their customer experience (CX) quality decrease in 2022 — the lowest CX rate in 17 years.

To curb those expectations, businesses should offer a robust suite of digital customer service tools where users can connect with the right internal teams or find the right information. In this guide, we’ll break down the importance of digital customer service and give tips on implementing an effective digital strategy.

Let’s dive right in.

Why Should Businesses Offer Digital Customer Service?

Businesses should offer digital customer service because most customers use digital tools like mobile apps and messaging to inquire about and purchase products.

The five main business benefits of digital customer service

In 2023, 63% of customers surveyed by PwC purchased goods directly from brands online. Many of those customers will need customer support for a variety of reasons. When those customers look for answers, U.S. businesses risk almost $500 billion in annual revenue due to inefficient and ineffective customer service.

Rather than risk missing out, use digital customer service to reach more customers with less money than traditional customer service methods.

Some of the benefits of digital customer service include:

1) Make your product or service easier to access and use

Digital customer service helps speed up response times and increase the number of people your team can help. Use digital tools that make integrating your product into your customers’ lives easier.

It’s no secret that customers probably use your products outside of your business hours, especially SaaS tools. Your customers could be in any market or time zone (or keep odd hours), and they’ll expect support whenever they need it. Digital customer support platforms enable round-the-clock service, which is crucial for meeting customer expectations, building trust, and growing satisfaction.

The seamless integration of customer service directly into SaaS platforms creates opportunities for speedy problem-solving. This, in turn, translates to a better overall CX.

Thanks to tools like intelligent virtual agents, chatbots, and email support, digital customer service gives businesses the resources they need to support a high volume of customers regardless of their location.

2) Offer a personalized, customer-centric experience

CRM helps to personalize digital conversations and give the customer the perception that every interaction is authentic — or at least feels like it. According to Deloitte, the brands that offer the most personalized experiences exceed in customer loyalty metrics — at least 1.5x more effectively than those that offer less personalized services.

With a digital customer service platform, you can effortlessly collect and analyze data on customer interactions. This makes it easier for you to provide personalized support and even product improvements based on customer behavior and feedback.

In addition, CX analytics make it simpler to segment customers by preference. When you segment customers, you can market to them more accurately with personalization, whether that’s a new product or an improvement to one they already use. This can even help improve your customer retention by introducing existing customers to new product offerings.

Related: Customer Experience Analytics: How to Track and Improve CX

3) Improve productivity by freeing agents from repetitive tasks

Your agents work hard to ensure customers have all the information they need. Make work easier for your team with conversational artificial intelligence (AI) tools like chatbots that can answer simple prompts.

Self-serve resources like FAQs can help customers to answer their own easy, repetitive questions. This saves the more challenging questions for agents, who will get to flex their problem-solving skills.

Digital support means that automation can handle back-office tasks like leaving notes The right suite of tools can improve efficiency and productivity for all of your internal teams, helping them work together seamlessly to improve overall CX.


4) Strengthen business continuity

With digital customer communications, your business can maintain a consistent presence in the market no matter what changes in the industry. Inclement weather, tech issues, and even geopolitical events are less of a threat to your support team when you’re connected to your customers on multiple channels.

This is especially important for companies that sell complex products where customers may require immediate real-time support, such as many SaaS offerings. Live chat and instant messaging can help ensure continuous use of service for your customers, helping to improve their satisfaction in the long run.

5) Shift from a cost center to a profit center

Digital channels can be more cost-effective than traditional customer service channels like call centers. With digital channels, you can automate answers to common questions and limit the size of the support team you need to field inquiries.

Digital customer service can even help curb customer churn by flagging suspect accounts to managers for intervention. Those account managers can then use customer history to speak to specific issues that interest the customer and may influence them to stay on board.

Reimagine customer support as an investment to stay connected with customers and raise awareness of new and related products.

How to Implement a Digital Customer Service Strategy: 3 Action Items

It’s easier to keep up with stringent customer expectations with the right tools.

3 tips to strategize digital customer service

According to a survey from Webflow, 57% of responding marketing leaders agree that customers expect more than they did even 12 months ago. Additionally,  a staggering 93% of respondents agree their team “must continually innovate to remain competitive” when it comes to improving the customer experience through a company’s digital offerings.

However, you might be overthinking how simple a comprehensive digital customer service experience can be. 

Try these tips for a seamless digital strategy.

1. Don’t make your customers chase you

Businesses that offer customers a seamless omnichannel experience across phone calls, chats, emails, text messages, social media, and more may stand a better chance at meeting customer expectations and delivering a positive CX.

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Contact Center

In an interview with NPR, author, management consultant, and customer service expert Amas Tenumah calls out a poor cross-channel experience as a sign of a negative customer experience:

“[E]xpectations are rising…. Commercials…promise you the world…and then objective reality hits. And you try to reach customer service. And you are met with a bot. You are met with wait times…that’s really where the chasm is. This gap between expectations and objective reality just continues to get and wider wider.”

~ Amas Tenumah, customer service expert and author

Find your customers where they are. The best place to communicate with customers is where they prefer to reach you (or to be reached, depending on their preferences).

2. Get to the point with faster responses

You should prioritize fast responses to customer inquiries for the best impact on customer experience. Businesses that respond quickly to customer requests are seen as more attentive, which lets customers know that their needs are on the way to being met if not met already.

There are plenty of ways to speed up agent response times to digital requests, including:

  • Chatbots for automated responses to common questions
  • Templated responses for quick and consistent agent answers
  • Triage methods for prioritizing urgent messages

You can also use unified communication (UCaaS) tools to make the most of your customer channels by integrating phone, chat, and video conferencing into one platform. This way, agents can collaborate across teams so everyone has the information they need to tackle customer requests.

Self-serve tools for customers, like FAQs, can take redundant questions away from agents so they have more time to solve complex problems that require human intervention. This can also help empower your team with the authority to make decisions that benefit the customer. And when employees feel trusted and responsible, they’re more likely to have high satisfaction and performance.

3. Take advantage of the data at your disposal

Customer data is a treasure trove of valuable information — don’t waste it. A digital customer service solution can help you track and make sense of customer habits, behaviors, conversations, and purchases to flesh out complete individual customer journey maps.

Most importantly, customer data helps businesses with the “why” of digital customer service. Data is key for personalizing services, strengthening customer relationships, and improving loyalty. Data is also crucial for any predictive analytics businesses might want to use to forecast the future, like during revenue planning.

Related: How to Build the Best Digital Customer Experience Strategy in 2024

Choose the Right Tools for Comprehensive Digital Customer Service

When your customers are satisfied, you don’t have to spend as much to retain their business.

Customers rely on more business communication channels than ever before, making digital customer service the newest battleground for capturing customer loyalty. To win this battle, you should use data to your advantage.

With a comprehensive customer service tool like Nextiva, you can oversee smarter data collection and analysis. With customer insights from digital interactions, you can reach a wider audience, personalize more interactions, and swiftly resolve more issues.

Smarter data analysis makes businesses more attuned to customer needs, and customer centricity creates a path for a more sustainable business.

The call center solution teams love.

Sales and support teams use Nextiva to deliver a better customer experience.

Ken McMahon


Ken McMahon

Ken McMahon leads Customer Success for Nextiva. His 25 years of experience leading various aspects of the customer experience including professional services, customer success, customer care, national operations, and sales. Before Nextiva, he held senior leadership roles with TPx, Vonage, and CenturyLink. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and two children.

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