How to optimise your online customer service in 5 steps

Linsey • 5 minute read • 11/08/2020
Online customer service
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The days of webcare being purely a form of customer service are long gone. Social media is an indispensable part of our current era and opportunities for marketing, sales and service are up for grabs. The webcare department is the eyes and ears of your organisation. So how do you make the most of these eyes and ears? Take your service to the next level with these 5 easy steps!

1. Opt for optimal accessibility

Online customer service starts with the dialogue between your organisation and the customer. Due to the proliferation of customer contact channels, such as social media, messaging channels and live chat, we, as an organisation, sometimes don’t know exactly which channels to use. The answer is simple: ensure a good channel strategy. This doesn’t mean that you have to be present on each and every channel, but that you make the most of the unique properties of each channel.

It‘s important to keep an eye on new trends and understand which communication channels customers prefer to use. For example, in recent years we have witnessed a shift from public channels to private contact via messaging channels. Be aware that each new channel increases the average number of contact moments that customers make. This makes it important to think about how to handle the extra volume and how the different channels can be integrated for optimal service for your customers.

In addition, not only choosing the right channel is a challenge. Organisations are also increasingly striving for 24/7 accessibility. So, with your strategy, also take into account whether or not to expand your accessibility.

2. Proactive online customer service: make best use of the possibilities

But there’s more. Online customer service goes beyond just being available to customers. Make use of proactive customer support possibilities as well. Make sure that you’re not only aware of posts regarding your organisation by monitoring mentions or your organisation’s name on social media and online channels, such as blogs and review sites. Opportunities extend much further than that. In addition to your own brand name and products, also make sure to monitor relevant topics as well, so that you’re able to proactively identify requests for help, or sales opportunities.


The example above illustrates how Schiphol Airport monitors more than just the messages directed to them alone, with the help of a mention. By responding to the question of this worried father, whose daughter had been stranded, the airport attempts to come to his rescue. Despite Schiphol not being able to offer any direct help, the father can certainly appreciate this helpful reaction.

3. Using data analysis for improvement

In order to get a clear picture of KPIs in the field of online customer service, it’s important to report accurately. In addition, customer service reports ensure that you can measure the effectiveness and efficiency of communication and that you are able to structurally collect customer feedback via webcare.

Good analyses give you insights into, for example, the number of answered questions or complaints, response times within webcare, positive and negative feedback, volume per channel, activity within and outside of the service level and the sentiment around your brand or product.

4. Chatbots; determine the added value of technology

There’s no disputing the fact that chatbots are popular. They’re here to stay and the most creative solutions for deploying them are currently being developed and tested in practice. Apart from the question-answer chatbot, which we’ve all known for years, there are also many other chatbot possibilities. Consider, for example, a chatbot that takes care of first-line customer contact, a chatbot that can act as a planner for the webcare agent or a more process-oriented chatbot that can outsource routine activities in the background.

Think carefully in advance about the purpose of your chatbot. Have your chatbot perform one specific task properly, rather than multiple tasks. And use available data to test, in advance, whether a chatbot can be used cost-efficiently for a certain task.

5. Determine the best webcare strategy that can take you further

In order for all the above steps to be successful, it’s necessary to think carefully about a webcare strategy and policy. This is where you formulate guidelines for unambiguous communication. What do you do in case of a crisis? Which tone of voice do you use with the customer? How do you deal with complaints, compliments, factual inaccuracies or regular questions? Above all, try to give employees the freedom to decide for themselves.

“Develop the tone of voice in collaboration with the employees at customer service. That’s how you create personal responsibility and internal support” – Marcel Vergonet, Client Consultant at Spotler Engage

Get started with optimising online customer service!

Service is now the distinguishing factor for your organisation. The above steps for optimising your webcare will ultimately also contribute to your social media marketing. Social media offers not only opportunities for service, but also for sales and marketing. So, think carefully in advance about how you can optimally make use of your social media channels.

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Linsey Jepma
As Content & PR Coordinator, I am involved in the wonderful world of webcare, chatbots, reputation management and data insights on a daily basis. Writing really is my thing and I have an inexplicable passion for neuromarketing and behaviour. Do you want to exchange thoughts? Connect with me at LinkedIn.

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