Customer support has been around the business scene for decades. But it wasn’t until recently companies recognized the importance of promoting ‘customer success.’ Research shows 86% of buyers would pay more for a great (customer) experience. Hence, it’s not surprising many organizations are now shifting their attention from customer support to ensuring the overall success of their customers.

So, what’s the difference?

Well, to start with, both are there to help the customer. Both are the frontline when it comes to getting in touch with your business. Hence, understanding the critical differences requires digging a little deeper into what they are both trying to achieve.

What is Customer Support?

Customer support, also known as customer service, is a familiar term in the market. It exists to help customers with questions and feedback that they may have about the product they purchased or are planning to purchase.

Almost every company has a customer support department. This department consists of knowledgeable and caring reps handling support tickets raised by customers. These agents need to empathize with the customers, understand what they may be going through, and offer a prompt solution.

Also read: Customer Service Automation: Does it Make Customer Support Inhuman?

These traits contribute to the company’s ability to provide superior customer service, increasing customer satisfaction, resulting in tremendous organizational success.

What is Customer Success?

A successful customer experience is both about the perception of the company and the experience that a customer has with them. To have high success rates, companies invest in teams to analyze customer behaviors and every stage of the customer journey, including past interactions, product use cases, etc.

Customer success folks are there to get to know the audience one-on-one and ultimately serve as an invaluable connection that guides the end-user to get the best out of the product/service they have signed up for.

Customer Success vs. Customer Support: 4 Key Differences

Now that you have an idea about how customer success and support work, it’s time to spot the fundamental differences, shall we? 

#1. Reactive vs. Proactive Approach

Customer support is reactive. Its purpose is to promptly assist customers when they experience product or service-related problems to boost customer satisfaction. 

Customer success, in contrast, is proactive. Its purpose is to maneuver customers to success by teaching them how to use the products in the most efficient and effective ways and prevent the need for raising tickets as much as possible. 

Customer success focuses on the art of listening rather than talking. It’s more than customer support and just fulfilling someone’s needs — it’s about setting someone up for long-term success through the help you provide along the way.

Also read: The Crucial Role of Support Automation in Customer Decision Journey

#2. Short-Term vs. Long-Term Commitment

While customer support has a clear start and end, the same cannot be said of customer success. For example, it may seem a purchase or sales interaction is done with payment — but in reality, it’s usually only a part of a larger journey.

Customer support cycles are generally short-lived. They are done and dusted right after the issue has been resolved. 

On the other hand, customer success is a long-term commitment. It starts prior to the purchase, from product discovery and customer education, and continues long after the purchase has been made and ensures that customers are satisfied post-purchase.

#3. Momentary vs. Long-Range Metrics

Customer support metrics often focus on short-term KPIs such as speed and effectiveness of service delivery. Here, companies measure how quickly the team has responded to customer inquiries or how high a customer’s satisfaction is with the way their issue was handled.

Some essential customer support metrics are:

  • How long does it take your support reps to answer your customers? – Average Resolution Time 
  • What is the quality of service you are providing? Are customers satisfied? – CSAT & NPS.

On the other hand, customer success metrics center around long-term goals that promote sustainability and growth, which typically require retention efforts, ongoing brand loyalty programs, or getting customers to sign up for other services offered by the company. 

Some essential customer success metrics are:

  • What is the percentage of customers you are retaining over time? – Retention Rate
  • What is the lifetime value of your loyal customers? – Average Lifetime Value

#4. Basic vs. Advanced Skill Sets

Customer service reps need specific basic skills to perform their jobs well. Some of these skills included patience, empathy, perseverance, and product knowledge. 

However, to be great customer success professionals, they must have the necessary industry insights and data to work alongside customers and provide solutions that guarantee long-term success. 

Customer Satisfaction is the End Goal For Both

Customer support vs. customer success may be a long-stretched debate. But one thing is clear — though they have several differences, what they share is ensuring customer satisfaction and retention via conducting problem-solving techniques. Both are quintessential functions that are crucial for any business to be successful.

Also read: How To Evaluate Conversational AI Technology for Your eCommerce Store?

Insync is helping some great brands deliver outstanding customer support and ensure long-term customer success through intelligent AI solutions. So, if you see yourself among the 50% of brands choosing dedicated customer success platforms, we’re just a tap away. Reach out to us for a free trial today.