Often used interchangeably, customer support and customer success are actually two separate business functions. And because they are different, they require different skill sets and strategies. Here we will look at the difference between these two customer-centric services.
Customer Support vs Customer Success
It is no secret that both customer support and customer success are essential to the successful running of a business. These services are aimed towards providing support and care to customers so that your product can help them achieve their target or goals. However, how do you decide which one is more important for the purposes of your brand and product?
Customer support is when your support team assists a customer in solving a problem they face while interacting with your product or service. For example, they are having trouble logging into their control panel or a piece is missing or they cannot renew their service, and so on. The transaction is begun and ended by the customer and is meant to solve immediate problems.
Speed and expertise are important factors in providing good customer support. Customers, usually panicking about their issue, want it resolved quickly and by someone who knows what they are doing. The main goal should be solving the problem during the first call itself.
It is, therefore, a reactive service. In other words, the customer has a question or issue with your product and the rep reacts to it with the attempt to resolve it. This means that customer support reps have to be on it as soon as a problem arises and follow-through until it is resolved. Because of this, this service by itself can get you and your customers only so far.
Customer support teams use toll free business numbers to handle large incoming call volumes making use of features like call forwarding and call recording. These features help with call tracking efforts by providing necessary information about call activity. Customer support metrics measure the speed and quality of the service received. Call recording, on the other hand, also offers a chance to review past calls and interactions.
Customer success, on the other hand, is initiated not by the customer but by the business. It attempts to provide the customer with the necessary tools and information that they may not even know they need. Some tactics include upselling and cross-selling, suggesting other products and services, upgrades, etc. The point of offering these tools is to bring the customer closer to their goal and to make the journey easier.
Customer success, therefore, takes a more proactive approach. It involves helping customers during the process; not after the fact. Offering strong customer success includes:
- Developing and building strong relationships with customers
- Understanding customers’ needs and their goals
- Taking important metrics into account
- Assisting customers in achieving their goals
- Enabling the implementation of your products
One way to think about it is that with customer success the business and the customers are working together as partners trying to achieve long-term goals.
Customer success teams also can make use of toll free numbers or local business numbers to stay in contact with customers in different states and countries. Subscribing to a virtual phone service offering such numbers can also provide teams with metrics used to measure customer success through such aspects as customer retention rates and through call tracking strategies.
Which is Right for You?
Depending on what services you offer, you can choose to have either a customer support team or a customer success team. However, the recommendation is to have both. With both customer success and support, you can provide all of your customers with the assistance they need. Customer success can often build on customer support to ensure the problems and issues don’t occur again.