The Pros and Cons of 7 Types of Customer Service

February 10, 2021

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An office of customer support agents

Customer service is what makes or breaks a business. Many companies are inefficient when it comes to operating their customer support -- some examples where inefficiency occurs are:

●      How long is your customer waiting for an answer to their problem?

●      Do you provide resources for them to find a solution on their own?

●      Are your customers kept up-to-date on your products and services?

●      Do they have a way to reach you outside of business hours?

There are many different types of customer service solutions to provide the best experience for your customers. Let’s look at the seven types of customer service and the pros and cons of each one.

How do you handle your customer service? Maybe there’s a better way...

1.   Phone Customer Service

Over the phone customer support is the most popular choice for service companies around the globe. Various private and public industries benefit from phone customer service, including healthcare, government, banking, eCommerce, SaaS, and IT.


●      Solve complex problems quickly

●      Almost everyone has access to a telephone

●      More easily assess a customers’ emotions

●      Easier and faster to present a difficult problem

●      Some customers like direct interaction


●      Trends change over time -- the younger generation typically prefers texting over a phone conversation

●      Hold times are long when there isn’t sufficient service staff

●      Call quality can suffer due to poor network reception

Related: Customer Experience Guidance and Lessons

2.   Email Customer Service

Email customer support is a close second to phone support services -- most companies have online contact forms so that you can easily ask questions or leave feedback. Email support is a great choice for companies with both local and foreign customers; emails can get sent at any time of the day with automation.


●      Customers can send questions and queries when it’s convenient for them -- even if it’s after business hours

●      Email designs and professional company signatures can get customized

●      Both the customer and business can archive conversations for future reference

●      You can automate answers to common questions with chatbots


●      Reading and writing emails is more time consuming than a phone conversation

●      Complex problems will take multiple emails to solve, adding to the time spend on a single customer

●      It’s more difficult to gauge a customers’ emotions over text

3.   On-Site Customer Service

On-site customer support is a service that you deliver to a customer’s workplace or home and includes support like appliance repair, consulting, teaching, and therapeutic services. The industries that benefit most from on-site services are health and beauty and repair and maintenance.


●      On-site service is convenient for customers -- they don’t have to go out of their way to solve a problem.

●      Face-to-face conversations allow the support staff to learn more about the customer and their needs.

●      By showing your customers your expertise in the field, their perception of your brand and quality rises.


●      It is a more expensive customer service option

●      It can be unrealistic to provide the same services to global clients that you do for local ones.

4.   Live Chat Customer Service

Customer support agents providing live chat services

Live chat is a must-have for many online businesses. Live chat can get integrated with chatbots to save time and money for your support services. Most companies can benefit from live chat customer service, but it is essential for SaaS and IT businesses.


●      Customer support staff can engage in multiple conversations at once, which leads to quicker response times

●      You can automate responses to common questions with integrated chatbots

●      Like email support, both parties have a copy of the conversation to reference in the future


●      Live chat customer service is faster than using email but still not as quick as a phone conversation

●      It’s an indirect form of communication, so it’s more challenging to assess the customers’ emotions

Related: Defining Customer Experience

5.   Social Media Customer Service

Social media customer support allows you to provide assistance through platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Social media platforms let you engage with your customers in various ways, like group discussions, post comments, and private chats. Many industries benefit from this form of communication, but SaaS, IT, and eCommerce businesses benefit the most.


●      Customers can get in touch with you through live chat without ever having to leave their favorite social media platform.

●      Public responses to customer questions are open for everyone to see and can decrease the number of people who ask similar questions.

●      Customers can answer questions for other customers, lightening the workload of your support staff.

●      Social media users can share information and experiences with your products and services.


●      Social media is available to anyone -- users can easily share negative feedback about your company and hurt your reputation. Honesty and diplomacy are essential for social media customer service.

6.   FAQ Customer Service

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) customer support is one of the easiest, hassle-free ways to provide customer service to your clients. FAQs provide answers to common questions about your company and its products or services. FAQs are typically inexpensive and quick to set up -- any company can benefit from creating one.


●      FAQs are accessible to your customers 24/7

●      They reduce the number of repetitive emails and phone calls.

●      Set up and maintenance costs are lower than phone and email customer service.


●      There is no individual approach -- only foreseeable questions and answers are included in a FAQ.

●      They require continuous maintenance and updates to ensure accurate information.

●      FAQs need to be well written to answer questions simply and convert the customer.

7.   Customer Self-Service

Customers finding their own answers with self-service resources

Many customers like to try and solve their own problems before contacting a company’s customer support staff. Self-service customer support allows users to learn about the company and its products and services through materials like instructional videos, tutorials, demos, and online tools. These can all get used to form an extensive knowledgebase for your customers.


●      The information is accessible at any time

●      Receive fewer questions through phone calls and emails

●      You can include various sources of information for customers who prefer to learn in different ways

●      You can create knowledgebase materials in different languages for foreign customers


●      Your articles need to stay up-to-date with the latest information

●      They are more challenging to create than FAQs

●      They require skilled writers to provide clear explanations and instructions

Why not try a new way to take care of your customers’ needs? With FAQs and secure customer portals from StartingPoint, it doesn’t have to be difficult!

Related: Improving Customer Support