In today's customer centric economy, companies have to push forward a lot in providing great experience to its users both at the time of purchase as well in terms of providing after sales support. Most of the significant players in the market do realize this. Companies like Microsoft, Dell, Apple, Novell, HP etc. are investing heavily in developing new solutions for providing optimal support for customers so that they use their products happily translating into repeat sales.

Online customer support is one important facet of this whole support forefront of a company. With increase in Internet penetration, the first level of support that customers seek is online support. A manufacturer's website is the first place where customers look for solution to their minor as well as major problems. So optimizing the customer’s experience is a key thing for any company seriously interested in increasing its business footprint.

Most of the companies today provide some basic support options on their websites. This starts with a knowledge base section containing articles and solutions featuring the solutions that have been previously found as well as tutorials, walkthroughs, videos etc. This knowledge base is good but only if it’s been properly categorized and written in easy to understand language as at least 50% of the users that come online lack proper technical knowledge of the product, and this is true for things like developer tools also, rather than being limited to consumer devices. Apart from that, providing a balance between written text, pictures, animations and videos is also a key aspect to make the information actually useful. Topics should be linked to other similar topics as sometimes this eventually leads many confused users to a proper solution. The FAQ section of the site also should provide a balanced and useful briefing for questions rather than one line answers to prove their worth.

Live Chat and Ticketing systems are also used traditionally for support purpose, but the promptness in the availability is an issue which should be tackled for sure by the company otherwise it defies the whole purpose of it and frustrates the user more than anything else.

A support application which could run on the user’s system to collect basic information about it and send it to the support staff instead of asking user and annoying him is also a great option. This is being exercised by many companies now like Dell and Apple. One step forward in this direction could be automatically correcting minor problems and fine tuning the system from time to time as well as alerting user of updates available on website and critical problems.

In today’s world every company has a customer support unit to provide help and support regarding their services and troubleshooting .Most of them provide online customer support apart from the dial up facility to help its customers. This service provides an interface between company and its customers and helps increase customer satisfaction and builds confidence in the company.

Online customer support can be provided in many different ways. You can send an email, chat with your id, or do live chat with the customer support representative for answering the queries. You can also avail the internet telephony option to contact the customer support. Since most of the time there is delay in replying to mails, live chat is gaining a lot of popularity as this way our queries can be addressed promptly. Many companies provide live chat software which provides the feedback facility, increase efficiency as operator can interact with more than one consumer at a time, help gather information about website traffic, check number of chats handled by each operator and maintain history of the visitor.

Many companies also have an online self help database which has information, FAQs, manuals, documents with search facility for a quick look-up to find the relevant information. There is also remote desktop option where the support personal can access your desktop remotely for troubleshooting. This option is mostly used if the support is related to computers. The consumer does not have to carry the computer to shop or wait for someone to come to fix the problem. This process helps to save lots of time and money.

There are many official or unofficial blogging sites and forums where user interact with each other and discuss their issues and provide solutions with their own experiences. Companies use their official sites to update user with the most general issues that have come up with their products and how to troubleshoot them.

There are many companies who outsource the customer support work .This may be due to the cost factor as the outsourced company may be cheaper or may be the customer support work needs special skills which the outsourced company may possess .Outsourcing also helps some of these companies to concentrate more on their core work and increase productivity. Since online customer support may also encounter high volumes outsourcing the work to a company which specializes in the field of online support helps in building better bond with the customers.