What is Digital Customer Service & Why It's Important

Download Now: 50 Free Customer Service Email Templates
Anna Rubkiewicz
Anna Rubkiewicz


You probably can recall at least a handful of times when you’ve waited on the line to speak to customer service while calling a bank or your internet provider. The longest I’ve waited was 40 minutes — after which my call was automatically dropped. How did that make me feel? Upset, to say the least.

woman delivering digital customer service


Luckily, nowadays calling isn’t your only option to get in touch with brands. Most businesses offer a digital customer experience and offer multiple communication channels to choose from (thank you, technology!).

Without a doubt, online customer service will only continue to grow in importance — and AI will pave the way.

Benefits of Digital Customer Service

1. Boosting Service Quality by Analyzing Feedback

Interacting with clients through a digital channel has one major advantage over face-to-face contact, i.e., you automatically retain a record of your communication.

Now, consider a period like last year. Think of all the chatbot interactions that took place during this time, all the emails you’ve exchanged, or the customer satisfaction surveys you’ve run. This data is a goldmine, which can help paint an accurate picture of your clients.

The great thing is that AI can help you analyze all these vast records for you. It can derive information on the most common customer concerns, or what they say they particularly love — or dislike — about your business. Better yet, you could also set up automatic surveys in the future to continue gathering information.

42% of respondents in HubSpot’s State of Service 2024 report say that they already do this to learn how they can improve their customers’ experiences.

50 Free Customer Service Email Templates

Templates to communicate price increases, apologies, thanks, and notifications to your customers with sincere, on-brand messaging.

  • Price Increase Letter Templates
  • Customer Apology Email Templates
  • Referral Email Templates
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    2. Improving Response Time

    I can still remember how many hours I’ve spent listening to music while waiting on hold after calling a business. It’s hard to believe that it was the only way to get in touch with many local businesses just a decade ago.

    Luckily, this is now a tale of the past — in big part, thanks to AI. To manage customer queries at scale without sacrificing quality, you can set up a chatbot and train it on your FAQs and knowledge base. This lets you automate answers to the most common questions. You’ll only need to engage a customer service member if the topic truly requires human expertise.

    If you’re wondering if it pays off to invest in such tools, the short answer is — yes. In our report, 92 percent of specialists say that introducing AI and automation speeds up response times. And half of those respondents described the acceleration as “significant.”

    3. Reducing Customer Effort

    In my opinion, this benefit deserves special recognition. Let me tell you a story.

    Before becoming a marketer, I co-ran an online bookstore that offered a premium service — finding collector’s editions at small stores across the globe and shipping them to the customer.

    There was one client who dreamed of a Japanese photo album but knew it was nearly impossible to find it as an individual. He reached out via email and we exchanged a few messages, back and forth, over the course of a few weeks.

    He said that he appreciated the opportunity to contact the store online, as he was currently in a completely different timezone and wouldn’t be able to make a phone call. The ability to speak to me asynchronously was the reason why he decided to shop through the bookstore.

    This example shows that not all digital customer service interactions must be around instantaneous communication. While a massive advantage in most cases, some clients will appreciate the flexibility that comes with messaging a business and replying at their own pace.

    4. Meeting Customer Expectations and Improving Satisfaction

    Back in the day, calling customer service was the only option people had. But times have changed drastically, and clients now have plenty of other channels to choose from. They can go with email, live chat, or messaging apps like Facebook.

    If brands want to keep their customers satisfied, they must offer multiple communication channels and be available 24/7 — and that’s where self-service comes in.

    This is something that a lot of businesses are already aware of. In fact, 64% of companies surveyed by HubSpot say they will increase their investment in self-service options.

    5. Establishing Global Reach

    Digitizing customer service has another major benefit, and that is offering global reach. Companies can now provide customer support without having a physical office or employing hundreds of people in every market they serve.

    Thanks to the use of technology they can effectively answer queries irrespective of where their customers are. What’s more, they can retain the same standard of customer service, which positively reflects on their brand image.

    According to HubSpot's State of Service report, 88% of businesses were able to scale their customer service operations thanks to the use of AI.

    Digital Customer Service Examples

    Live Chat

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    Our report found that 42% of respondents currently use live chat, i.e., an online chat with a human representative on the other side. And out of them, 90% agree that they’re effective in serving customers at the right standard.

    What I like: Personally, I don’t like speaking on the phone, so my favorite thing about live chat is that I can get an answer to my query fast, without calling customer service. And my conversation isn’t available to a third party, unlike when I use social media. It’s the perfect option for those who don’t fancy phone interactions but also don’t want to wait long for an email reply.


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    In terms of popularity among customer-facing teams, AI chatbots are right up there next to live chat. Our study found that they’re currently used by 37% of global service specialists.

    And this number is set to grow. 71% of respondents told us that they plan to grow their investment in this communication channel.

    What I like: They’re available round the clock, so customers can try to find answers to their questions without waiting for your support team to come to work the following day. Chatbots have saved me several times. Not that long ago, I had an issue with my website and it turned out I could fix it myself quickly with the help of a helpful AI assistant. Genius!

    Knowledge Base

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    Having a knowledge base is another important self-service feature, right next to chatbots. It’s a collection of the most important information, such as FAQs, an introduction to your specific services or features, and quick step-by-step instructions. Customers can easily navigate the categories — or chapters — to find the topic they’re interested in.

    Perhaps you’re wondering if customers really want to fix issues themselves. Our State of Service report found an answer to this question.

    According to the companies we surveyed, 55% of customers say that they actually prefer to self-serve than wait for a real-life agent.

    What I like: Investing time in setting up a knowledge base pays off for both sides. Clients can find answers to their questions, while the brand minimizes the number of incoming communication.

    Social Media Management

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    Currently, over 5 billion people use social media — half of the world’s population. So, it’s hardly surprising that many customers prefer to communicate with brands via Facebook or X, and expect to get their answers quickly. According to our report, 34% of customer service pros use AI to monitor social media for customer service-related issues.

    What I like: Social media allows for more personalized communication. Brands can even use a bit of humor at times, which reduces distance and helps to build better relationships with customers. Also, companies can use insights shared by customers to improve the brand experience.

    Digital Customer Service Tools

    1. HubSpot Service Hub

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    Service Hub brings together all your customer service data and channels into one CRM platform, making it easy to support and grow your client base.

    You can connect your live chat, emails, chatbot, and customer feedback tools, among others, and bring all customer messages and tickets into a single place. This is also where you and your team manage all ongoing communication. That’s right — no more back-and-forth between channels.

    By clicking on a customer’s ticket, you can assign a specific customer service representative to the query. You can also access all the messages, phone calls, and other interactions that have taken place between the customer and your service team so far.

    50 Free Customer Service Email Templates

    Templates to communicate price increases, apologies, thanks, and notifications to your customers with sincere, on-brand messaging.

    • Price Increase Letter Templates
    • Customer Apology Email Templates
    • Referral Email Templates
    • And More!
    Learn more

      Download Free

      All fields are required.

      You're all set!

      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      Unsurprisingly, Service Hub also hits the top marks when it comes to AI and automation features. You can create automation rules, such as which types of topics should be assigned to a specific agent or scaled to the customer service team lead.

      However, my absolute favorite feature is HubSpot AI, which is a great assistant for customer service teams. One of the things it can help you with is rephrasing your reply.

      You can turn a terse turn of phrase into a more conversational, heartfelt, or professional tone of voice. This can be a blessing, particularly if you’re handling a difficult issue or are simply having a bad day but want to ensure you’re empathetic and professional.

      What I like: Service Hub covers all the use cases I could possibly think of, drawing on my experience as a customer service team member. I particularly love all the handy sidebars and options, like inserting knowledge base articles, answers to FAQs, or rewriting messages with AI for better impact.

      All this happens within the chat text field. Bonus points for allowing customer service to enhance knowledge base articles live, based on their interactions with clients.

      2. Ada

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      Ada is an AI-powered customer service automation platform, which features a generative AI agent that is able to answer client queries accurately and in real-time.

      It’s fast and can come up with relevant responses every single time, thanks to the use of Ada’s Reasoning Engine. It offers personalized responses, learns from previous customer interactions, and can be deployed across multiple digital channels without worrying about losing communication consistency.

      What I like: Ada’s ability to understand specific needs and provide answers, which aren’t generic but personalized, is impressive. It makes customers feel valued. It’s always available and ready to assist, so you don’t have to wait in a queue, listening to one tune for 10 minutes (or longer). And the fact that you can deploy it across various channels without compromising response consistency or accuracy is just great.

      3. Intercom

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      It’s hard to find a customer service pro who hasn’t heard of Intercom. It’s an AI-first customer service solution, which among others features a live chat, chatbots, and targeted messaging capabilities. Their Fin AI Agent provides 24/7 support and is able to resolve 50% of support volume instantly.

      What I like: What’s truly amazing about Intercom is that it’s a complete service platform that caters to clients, agents, and leaders alike. Their AI agents answer queries quickly and only pull answers from your support content — so you don’t have to worry about accuracy.

      The AI Copilot makes pulling answers really easy, and you can even change the tone of voice to make it sound more like you. And it’s got access to all the questions and answers that have been generated in the past so you can get a more accurate response. When you want to raise a ticket, their AI automatically describes the issue, which is a real-time saver.

      4. Help Scout

      digital customer service; Help Scout is an example of a digital customer service platform

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      Help Scout lets you bring all your client communication into one platform and keep a handy record of previous conversations. Among others, you can add tags and internal notes to client messages to make it easier to handle communication now and in the future.

      This communication platform also lets you set automation rules that will accelerate the time to resolution. For example, if a customer asks a question about international shipping, you’re able to automatically draw relevant information from your FAQs.

      I also appreciate the fact that the platform is keeping up with the times and uses AI to help the support team. Among others, you can ask AI to read a long email, or even an entire thread, and condense it into a high-level summary.

      It can also adjust your tone of voice or message length.

      What I like: One feature that caught my eye is ‘real-time collision detection.’ It shows you if someone else is also replying to a request or viewing it, preventing you from sending two responses. This could happen if you handle tens or hundreds of messages every day.

      Digital Customer Service — Multichannel is The Way to Go

      Each customer has their own preference — I, personally, really dislike calling brands. Whenever possible, I go for email or chat, but I can’t say the same of my parents. They’ll always choose to speak to a brand over the phone. It’s how they’ve been getting answers to questions for decades.

      Less-tech-savvy clients will tend to choose face-to-face and calls, but Millenials and Gen-Z will prefer getting things done on screen.

      What I recommend is choosing an omnichannel communication approach, so that you can resolve issues for everyone, faster and more efficiently.

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