Customer Service on the Web

| Comments

Is it possible for a website to have good customer service? How can that be defined? I recently attended a lecture that attempted to define what good customer service is. It wasn’t intended for the web but more of a face to face experience like in a restaurant. Upon listening to the lecture I started connecting it to how it relates to the web.

The lecture explained that there are 5 dimensions to customer service. I will go over each of them and what that means for for a face to face interaction like in a restaurant and what I think it means on a webpage.

Imagine if you go to a restaurant, how many of these 5 things can be bad before you have a bad experience? Just one. I think the same is true for the online experience. Just one of these things can be bad and the whole user experience becomes bad.


The ability to provide what was promised dependably and accurately.

In A Restaurant

  • If you order a salad without cheese that better be what you received.
  • If the menu says there are vegan options, the server better know what the word vegan means.
  • If the hours are specified on the door the place better be open during those times or having a sign explaining a special circumstance.


  • The website should be up and available 24/7/365.
  • The website should respond to any combination of www, non-www, http, https. It can redirect the user to the correct one but should respond to all of them.
  • Things that look like links or buttons on the webpage should actually be links and buttons that work and do something.


The knowledge and courtesy of employees, and their ability to convey trust and confidence.

In A Restaurant

  • If you ask about what ingredients are in a meal the server shouldn’t just shrug and say they don’t know.
  • The staff should be courteous and kind to the customers.


  • The site better be secure and any information I give should not be given to people I don’t want to give it to.
  • Are there typos on the site?
  • Does the copy (words on the page) look great? Things should be explained simply and quickly but accurately.


The degree of caring and individual attention provided to customers.

In A Restaurant

  • The server should check on you frequently to make sure there isn’t anything you need.
  • The chef should care about the quality of ingredients and how the meal tastes.
  • The chef should take time to make the presentation of the dish great. I don’t want to eat out of a horse trough. I like my food to be presented in a way that looks delicious.


  • Is the website user friendly and give the user a simple path to the goal they have?
  • Can I figure out what the website does quickly and know what it can do to help me?
  • Does the website have a simple and intuitive user interface or require extensive help or a manual to figure out how to use it?

In my opinion, a website that has poor usability is equivalent to having a server that was rude to you in a restaurant. The website didn’t try to put your needs first which is ease of use and getting your tasks done quickly.


The willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.

In A Restaurant

  • If you ask for a refill on your drink it should arrive quickly and not 30 minutes later or worse, never.


  • Does the site allow a user to navigate it easily?
  • If I get lost on the site is it easy to go back to a familiar page?
  • Does the website offer help on hard to understand sections?
  • Is there confusing terminology that only an expert would understand?


The physical facilities and equipment, and the appearance of personnel.

In A Restaurant

  • Was the bathroom clean?
  • Was your fork clean?
  • Did the staff appear to have good hygiene?


  • Does the color scheme look good?
  • Are the fonts readable?
  • Does the overall style and appearance of the site look good?
  • Do the pictures match the content or help me in any way?

coding, ux