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Differentiating Customer Success and Support

Proactive vs. Reactive: Differentiating Customer Success and Support


Have you ever wondered about the difference between customer success and customer support?

While both are important for ensuring customer satisfaction and retention, they have different objectives and approaches. This article will explore the differences between customer success and customer support and how they work together to help businesses succeed.

Customer Support

Customer support is focused on assisting customers with a problem or issue with a product or service. Customer support aims to resolve customer issues as quickly and efficiently as possible, ensuring that the customer is satisfied with the outcome.

The role of customer support is typically reactive in nature, meaning that it responds to customer inquiries or issues as they arise. Customer support agents are trained to identify and diagnose customer problems and then provide solutions or workarounds to resolve them. Customer support success is typically measured by the response time, first-call resolution rate, and customer satisfaction scores.

Customer Success

On the other hand, customer success is a proactive approach to ensuring customer satisfaction and retention. Customer Success aims to help customers achieve their desired outcomes and reach their goals using the product or service. In addition, customer success is focused on building long-term relationships with customers and helping them achieve ongoing success.

Unlike customer support, which is reactive, customer success is proactive. Customer success managers work with customers to identify and help them achieve their goals. This can involve training and education on effectively using the product or service, suggesting best practices, and providing guidance on optimizing the customer’s experience.

The success of customer success is typically measured by metrics such as customer retention rate, upsell/cross-sell revenue, and customer satisfaction scores. Learn more about the role of customer success in your organization in this webinar. 

How Customer Success and Customer Support Work Together

To ensure the success of your organization, your customer service and customer success functions must work together effectively. For example, when a customer service professional comes across a recurring issue, they should collaborate with the product team to fix the problem and then inform the customer success team of the changes made. 

Similarly, when a customer success manager proactively assists a customer daily, they become the customer’s advocate for change. They should be empowered to identify recurring issues or problems with the user interface or customer experience, regardless of where they occur within the organization, and take steps to improve the process.

Whether you are a customer success manager or a customer service representative, your role in serving and ensuring customer success is invaluable to your organization. Therefore, it’s essential to define these functions within your internal teams, with your customers, investors, advisors, and anyone else who interacts with your company to ensure that the roles are clear and the goals are measurable.


Check out our resources below for more customer success best practices and insights for how your organization can build strong customer relationships:


5 Ways to Surprise & Delight Your Customers

Customer Success as a Culture: Customer Success Leaders Edition

Blog Posts:

The Golden Rule of Customer Success: 8 Guiding Principles

6 Listening Techniques of Great Customer Success Leaders

Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong Customer Success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.

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