In-Person Customer Service vs. Virtual

customer tension, resulting in delighted customers and customer service agents.  Improve Customer Response Times with Zight (formerly CloudApp) Zight (formerly CloudApp) is a revolutionary customer support tool that can help…

Zight | January 28, 2022 | 7 min read time

Article Last Updated: July 30, 2023

In-Person Customer Service vs. Virtual

Chad Horenfeldt notes, “the expectation from your customers is that you will provide them the experience that they want…service is no longer a ‘nice to have.’ It’s essential.” 

Today, choosing the right type of customer service plays a significant role in every business. Customers are guaranteed the power to provide instant questions and complaints and receive instant responses. Offering them a well-organized service can significantly reduce the risk of dealing with negative reviews repeatedly.

Remember, one bad review can completely change how consumers perceive your business. That’s because trust is the new currency that brands and customers trade with. And if you lose your customers’ trust, you’ll experience high churn rates and ultimately lose money. That’s why business owners are using new types of customer service to ensure every customer is satisfied with the service they receive.

That has led to new types of customer service, which businesses can leverage to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Today, we’ll discuss what makes virtual customer service different from in-person customer service.

What Is Virtual Customer Service?

Virtual customer service handles all traditional customer service responsibilities and tasks on online platforms. While in-person customer service agents work in physical locations to respond to customer questions, solve problems, and foster lasting relationships, virtual customer service agents perform the same functions remotely. In the past, customers had to go to a physical location to get information and support for their products. Now, with virtual customer service, they can just call, email, text, on-site chat, or send messages over social media platforms to receive the same high-quality support with no added inconvenience. 

5 Pros of Virtual Customer Service

Virtual customer service boasts many benefits that make it a perfect solution in almost every industry. Reduced wait times are one of such benefits. Customers don’t have to wait for hours in line to receive customer support when your organization has a virtual customer service team. In addition, the ease of internal transferring and global agent availability enables your business to offer faster customer service. Nowadays, the addition of AI-powered chatbots reduces wait times further because computer algorithms can instantly perform simple customer service tasks.

Virtual customer service is also more accessible than in-person customer service. That’s because some customers find it difficult to leave the comfort of their homes to seek help with their issues. Virtual customer service enables these customers to receive high-quality service as those with the time and ability to travel to physical locations. 

Further, with virtual customer service, customers who can’t ask for help within regular working hours can send a chat message or email anytime and expect a response within working hours later.

These factors result in higher customer satisfaction, which is the critical metric to prioritize. Consumers like to receive support on their terms, over their favorite communication channel, and as quickly as possible. You can’t meet all these demands over an in-person customer service model. On the other side, your customer satisfaction and retention rates will increase when you respond to customer questions with a fast, proactive, and effective virtual customer service model. Thus, virtual customer service is a better and more cost-effective option for any business looking to create higher customer lifetime value and improved word-of-mouth marketing. Let’s now take an in-depth look at the five pros of virtual customer service

1. Chatbots

Chatbots are tireless 24/7 virtual assistants. They can respond to customers’ concerns and questions, collect customer feedback, help with shopping, or book appointments. 

The key benefit of chatbots is that they can deliver customer support 24/7. In addition, millennials are accustomed to getting instant gratification, so they’ll find this kind of virtual customer service more appealing.

Chatbots offer the fastest type of customer support interactions. They can access stored customer data and analyze it within seconds to deliver customized customer experiences. In addition, they can analyze thousands of customer queries that are simple to respond to at the same time. For instance, an IBM report shows that chatbots can handle 79% of routine customer queries. This allows your customer service representatives to focus on more complex customer queries.

According to the BI Intelligence study, nearly 40% of customers care more about if a chatbot can solve their problems rather than its personality. But you should still consider a personality so it aligns with your brand voice

2. Immediate Help

The top reason customers prefer virtual customer service is that it lets them get their questions and concerns answered immediately. With virtual customer service, businesses can give their customers a way to contact them when they have problems or questions they need to be answered. This is much better than walking to a physical location to get in-person service or sending emails to the customer support team because it’s hard to know when you’ll get a response to emails.

The immediacy of getting help with virtual customer service platforms, such as Live chat and chatbots, is why customer satisfaction ratings are higher for virtual customer support than other types of customer service. 

3. Social Media

Social media customer service allows customers to get help through social media networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Also, companies can offer customer support on YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more social media channels. The primary benefit of this type of customer service is that it reaches out to your customers where they’re.

However, think again if you feel social media is for angry customers ready to vent their frustrations about your brand, products, or services. Often, consumers use social media customer service to praise their favorite brands instead of complaining about them. 

However, whatever the interaction with your customers is, ensure you respond sooner rather than later because 37% of American consumers expect a response on social media within two hours, and 46% of them can wait for a response up to 24 hours. Otherwise, your business risks lowering customer advocacy by 50%

Integrate your Facebook Messenger with a live chat if you can’t afford to hire a dedicated customer service staff to handle social media queries. This way, your team will receive direct messages sent through social media channels straight on your live chat inbox.

Pros of social media customer service include:

  • Minimal efforts from your customers.
  • Easy and quick integrations with live chat applications.
  • Improved customer loyalty and advocacy.
  • Offer customized customer experiences.
  • Encourage consumer-to-consumer help.

Cons of social media customer service include:

  • Higher exposure to negative reviews and negative comments.
  • Increased customer expectations.

4. Live Chat

Of the many virtual customer service channels, live chat is arguably the best option your company has in its arsenal to curb the increasing customer churn rates. That’s because it’s a perfect mixture of what’s best about in-person customer service. Your customer service team can solve your customers’ problems in real-time and from the comfort of their own homes. 

Live chat allows for proactive customer support, which means you can offer help and answer customers’ questions before they ask. When communicating with your customers, taking this proactive initiative reduces their perception of the effort needed to solve their problems, increasing customer engagement. 

Because of its unique benefits over in-person customer service, live chat results in massive customer satisfaction rates of up to 87%, according to the Live Chat Benchmark Report of 2020

Convenience, speed, and many other live chat benefits can increase customer satisfaction and conversion rates by 20%. And this will even go higher if you optimize live chat for mobile devices. 

More pros of live chat:

  • Improved productivity at a reduced cost.
  • It makes it easier for customer service agents to handle many customers at a time.
  • Uses canned responses to automate repetitive questions.
  • Proactive customer support.
  • Easy and quick integration with several third-party apps.

5. Video

Offering virtual customer service via video allows you to prove your dedication to building trust and empathy with your audience. Instead of leaving your customers to solve problems by themselves, video customer service offers them the focus and time of a real person.

Although websites can prove integrity via SSL certificates and other security measures, ultimately, nothing creates customer trust, like the ability to interact face to face with customer-facing staff. After all, if customers can’t ask for support when experiencing issues with your products, they’re more likely to leave your site, lowering your conversion rates.

Video customer service solves this problem by providing the much-needed human element to the virtual customer experience. In addition, by bringing the in-office experience virtually, video customer support agents can prove their credibility by solving customer problems in real-time. 

Also, video customer service agents can help your customers through their issues and build a lasting connection with them, too. Unlike other customer service channels, video allows customer support agents to create a sense of empathy with customers. Enabling customers to see the people working with your brand diffuses customer tension, resulting in delighted customers and customer service agents. 

Improve Customer Response Times with Zight (formerly CloudApp)

Zight (formerly CloudApp) is a revolutionary customer support tool that can help your virtual customer support team deliver personalized customer experiences. This tool is perfect for visual communication because it offers a native experience with a GIF maker, webcam recorder, and screen recorder. Using these features, you can change how you respond to customer queries and provide them with responses quickly, improving productivity. 

Also, your virtual customer support can respond quickly to customer questions and concerns. Direct confused customers to a FAQ section with screenshots and screen recordings that complement written descriptions, or embed how-to GIFs in emails, or create customized webcam recordings that offer in-depth explanations. Click this link to learn more about Zight (formerly CloudApp) and how it can help your team deliver personalized customer experiences.

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