Customer success and customer support are two key services that businesses strive to provide. Although each has similar goals and employees use similar skills when helping customers, each typically requires a different approach.
The purpose of a customer support team is to educate customers about how to use a product and troubleshoot any issues they encounter with it. Customer success teams work closely with existing customers to understand the current goals of their business and assist them in achieving that success by using one of the employer’s products. This helps to increase the customer’s lifetime value to the company as well.
Each of these customer teams aims to deliver outstanding service and help the people they work with achieve optimal success. Understanding the definitions and differences between them allows team members to have better collaboration with one another as well as provide the best possible service to the customer.
The Internet and other forms of communication technology have made it possible for customers to perform in-depth research before ever approaching a company about a potential purchase. This has given customers the advantage and allowed them to continually demand better products and service. A skilled customer support professional responds with empathy to the customer’s concerns while keeping in mind that his or her needs are the most important aspect of the transaction.
Employees focused on customer success aim to develop trust and intimacy with those they serve. This means doing a lot of active listening to learn what is most important to the customer and then provide them with the resources they need to meet their goals. They learn not only what products customers need but how they use those products. Customer success representatives look for issues before a customer even has the chance to voice them. This type of proactive response is endearing to customers and helps to foster brand loyalty.
A Closer Look at the Differences
The differences in approach between the two teams should be obvious by now. While customer success agents work proactively to suggest and strategize, those in customer support receive and respond to their inquiries. Some other differences between the two include:
Impact on business: Customer success functions to increase expansion and revenue while customer support answers immediate questions. One is a value-added proposition and the other is an essential business function.
Measurement: Customer success is concerned with metrics such as expansion, lifetime value of a customer, and retention of customers. Customer support looks at quality of service offered, time elapsed until resolution, and overall satisfaction ratings.
Purpose: The overall objective of a customer success team is to help companies achieve better business outcomes. Customer support teams primarily focus on the resolution of immediate problems.
Skills used: While both teams possess similar skills, customer success representatives act as more of a consultant and draw on a wide range of industry experiences. The primary skills used by customer support include marketing, operations management, and engineering functions.
Despite these differences, the teams are complementary and businesses need both to ensure ongoing success.