The business world is rife with buzzwords and phrases that often leave us scratching our heads. Among them, “Customer Support” and “Customer Success” are commonly misused and misunderstood. Let’s break down these terms to understand how they can make or break your business growth strategy.
What is Customer Support?
Customer Support is the backbone of any business. Whenever you face issues with a product or service, you first reach out for help. Customer support involves handling queries, troubleshooting problems, and providing immediate solutions. Think of it as firefighting. It’s reactive in nature; the team jumps into action when a problem arises.
What is Customer Success?
On the other hand, Customer Success is a proactive approach to ensure customers get what they need and realize the full value of a product or service. Instead of waiting for a problem to occur, Customer Success Managers (CSMs) work alongside customers, guiding them to achieve specific goals and milestones. The end game? Make the customer so successful that they advocate for your product or service.
What is Customer Service?
You might also have heard the term “Customer Service.” This is a broader umbrella that includes both Customer Support and Customer Success. While support solves problems, and success aims for long-term customer achievement, service is the general practice of keeping customers happy through various methods, including support and success strategies.
Customer Success vs Customer Satisfaction
Don’t mistake “customer satisfaction” with “customer success.” A satisfied customer may not necessarily be a successful one. Satisfaction usually revolves around fulfilling immediate needs. On the other hand, success is an ongoing process that focuses on long-term value and growth. While a satisfied customer might renew a subscription, a successful customer will likely upgrade and even refer new business your way.
Customer Success vs. Customer Support: What’s the Difference?
Understanding the differences between Customer Support and Customer Success is like knowing the difference between a Band-Aid and a fitness routine. A Band-Aid (Customer Support) helps you when you’re already hurt. A fitness routine (Customer Success) keeps you healthy so you don’t get hurt in the first place.
5 Differences Between Customer Support and Customer Success
- Reactive vs. Proactive Approach
- Customer Support: Think of this as the emergency room in a hospital. You go when you have an urgent issue—say your software crashed or you can’t navigate through a new update. The Customer Support team’s role is to fix that specific issue.
- Customer Success: This is more like a yearly medical check-up. The doctor checks various health metrics and suggests ways to remain healthy. Similarly, Customer Success Managers (CSMs) keep an eye on how you use a service or product and offer tips for getting the most out of it.
Imagine you’re using a photo editing software. Customer Support helps when the app crashes, while Customer Success would be a tutorial or scheduled check-in to teach you advanced editing techniques.
- Customer Support: Tracks short-term metrics like how quickly a problem was solved or how satisfied the customer was with the solution.
- Customer Success: Focuses on long-term metrics, such as how long customers continue to use a product (Customer Lifetime Value) or how likely they are to recommend the product (Net Promoter Score).
If you own a coffee shop, Customer Support metrics might be the time it takes to serve a latte, while Customer Success metrics could be how many customers signed up for your loyalty program.
- Customer Support: This is an older, well-established field. Businesses have had “help desks” or “customer service lines” for decades.
- Customer Success: A newer field that’s still evolving, especially with the rise of software as a service (SaaS) models where long-term customer engagement is crucial.
Think of Customer Support like an old, trusted friend who helps you when you’re stuck. Businesses have had help desks for a really long time. On the other hand, Customer Success is like the new kid on the block. It’s new and keeps changing, especially for online services that you keep using over time.
- Customer Support: Team members need excellent problem-solving skills and a good handle on technical aspects to provide immediate solutions.
- Customer Success: Requires a broader skill set that includes problem-solving, consulting, and relationship-building skills.
A Customer Support agent might excel in resolving billing issues swiftly. A Customer Success Manager might need to understand a client’s business goals to suggest the right mix of services.
- Narrow vs. Broad Focus
- Customer Support: Concentrates on solving the issue at hand.
- Customer Success: Looks at the customer’s journey as a whole and aims to make them as successful as possible, often through education and regular check-ins.
Think of Customer Support as a mechanic who fixes your car. Customer Success is like a driving instructor who teaches you how to avoid accidents and extend the life of your car.
Additional Points to Consider
- Transactional vs Relationship Oriented: Support is a one-time interaction; like buying a sandwich. Success is more like having a personal chef who understands your dietary needs and preferences.
- KPIs and Metrics: Customer Support might look at the ‘number of tickets resolved,’ whereas Customer Success considers ‘customer health scores’ that indicate long-term engagement.
- Hiring and Recruiting: Prior experience in customer service could be enough for support roles. A background in business analysis or consultative sales might be preferred for success roles.
- Measurable ROI: For Customer Support, it’s easier to measure immediate costs and benefits—like the cost of hiring support agents vs. revenue saved from satisfied customers. For Customer Success, ROI is more long-term, such as how many customers upgrade to a premium plan.
How Customer Support and Customer Success Work Together
Having separate teams for customer support and customer success doesn’t mean they operate in silos. Effective businesses ensure that these two departments collaborate closely. While support teams can provide valuable feedback on common customer issues, success teams can offer insights into long-term strategies to solve these problems permanently. Together, they form a robust customer service strategy that not only puts out fires but also builds a fire-resistant infrastructure.
In the ever-evolving financial industry, both customer support and customer success are paramount, yet they serve different roles. Customer support is reactive, focusing on solving problems as they arise. It’s about being there for your customers when they need you, offering immediate and efficient solutions. On the other hand, customer success is proactive, aiming to anticipate customer needs and offering guidance that can help them achieve their goals.
While customer support ensures satisfaction in the moment, customer success aims for long-term loyalty by continually adding value to the customer experience. Both are critical, but achieving excellence in each requires specialized tools and strategies. That balance can be hard to strike, especially when the stakes are as high as they are in the financial sector.
That’s where FinChat offers a unique advantage. Tailor-made for financial businesses, FinChat provides you with the tools to not only resolve customer issues effectively but also to anticipate their future needs and preferences. From real-time customer activity monitoring to a customizable knowledge base, FinChat acts as an extension of your brand’s commitment to both immediate support and long-term success.
As you strategize to enhance both customer support and customer success, consider a solution that seamlessly integrates both. Ready to transform your customer interactions into a blend of support and success?
Take your next step with FinChat.
Make an Appointment now and elevate your customer communication to a whole new level.