Customer service may be provided by a person, such as sales and service representative, or through automated means. In the United States, the range of communications channels used in the provision of customer services include self-service support portals, telephones, emails, text messages, search engines, or live chat. Other effective channel for customer service also include through social media and online communities. While calling on the phone is by far the most common channel used by customers in contacting customers support, emails and online chat are seen as easier means for communication through which one can contact a company’s customer service.
In a 2017 survey, 41 percent of the respondents stated that they prefer to interact with customer service through voice channels. Another example of customer service by artificial means is through automated online assistants on websites driven by chatbots. In a March 2017 survey on customer service agents’ opinion on the use of chatbots, 44 percent agents said that it allowed them to handle less mundane questions, while 33 percent asserted that it provided them a certain degree of autonomy and flexibility. The use of automated customer service tools avails for enterprises to reduce both operating and training cost and another advantage is an increased ability to provide service 24-hours a day.
Customer service in general plays a significant role in an organization's ability to generate income and revenue. Customer service experiences typically help to sway a customer’s perception about an organization. For example, poor customer service may lead a customer to stop engaging in business with a particular company or vice-versa. In another 2017 survey, 62 percent of American consumers believed customer service is getting better in the United States.