customer support and customer success

What is the difference between Customer Support and Customer Success?

Customer Success is a new phenomenon and so, several companies club it with customer support. They feel that customer success is an extension to customer support.

That is NOT true.

All the functions post sales have gained importance in the subscription economy as now the power is in the hands of the customers. Anytime the customers feel that the product is not delivering the value that was promised or the customer experience is not good, they can easily move to a competing product.

Customer experience depends on how good the customer support and the customer success departments are. 

Both functions are essential these days if you want to grow your company. They are like the wheels of a bicycle – both the wheels have different functions but the end goal is to provide balance and make sure that the bicycle can be used for transportation.

In the same way, both customer support and customer success help the customers use the product better so that they don’t face any problems and are able to achieve their goals.

Drive Customer Success throughout the Customer Journey!

 Key differences between customer support and customer success

1. Financial

Customer support is a cost center while customer success brings in revenue.

As we know every company has a customer support department which consists of people solving customers’ immediate problems related to the product via calls, emails, etc.

Since the customer just pays for the product while the company has to hire customer support executives, it adds to the cost of the company.

On the other hand, customer success department is responsible for reducing churn (which in turn increases the LTV of the customers) and also upsells and cross-sells (which brings in additional revenue). The customer success department can improve your financials dramatically as the major revenue for a SaaS company comes from the existing customers.

2. Action

Customer support is reactive in nature while customer success is proactive in nature.

Customer Support department takes up the issue only when the customer contacts them and shares their problem. So if the customer is stuck while using your product s/he will call the customer support and then they will try to solve the issue ASAP.

But, customer success department is proactive in nature. They try to make sure that you do not face roadblocks by informing you the process you need to follow. That way you save a lot of time and are not frustrated because you know how to use the product to the best of its capabilities.

Customer support is reactive in nature while customer success is proactive in nature.

3. Metrics

Customer support is efficiency oriented while customer success is (obviously) success oriented.

Both the departments are measured on totally different metrics.

Since customer support is a cost center, the major focus is on efficiency, ie. the maximum number of calls (issues) that can be solved in minimum time. They are measured on metrics like Average Ticket Resolution Time, First Response Time, Average Ticket Count (daily/weekly/monthly) etc.

Customer success department is success oriented. Time does not matter if the customer is unsuccessful and is not able to achieve their goals by using your product. They are usually measured on metrics like Average Revenue Per Account (ARPA), LTV/CAC ratio, Churn rate etc.

4. Model

Customer support is people intensive while customer success is analytics focused.

As a company grows, the support issues also increase tremendously. To handle so many issues, more people need to be hired in the customer support department. To improve your customer support, say decrease first response time, customer support team needs to be increased.

However, to improve customer success, the focus should be on analytics. Since each Customer Success Manager (CSM) will be handling several accounts, it is not possible to guess which customer has stopped using the product or is facing some problem. Also, it is not efficient to call each customer every week or month as that leads to time wastage and some customers might even get irritated.

Here, a customer success platform comes to the rescue. The major advantage of using a customer success platform is that it helps to figure out which customer to focus on and at what time. Basically, it helps the CSM work efficiently and effectively.

By going through millions of data points, a customer success platform shows the complete health score in terms of product health, financial, service and relationship health of each of the customers. CSMs can even drill down to individual accounts to know exactly which type of issues they are facing.

Drill down customer's health

You know exactly where the customer is having problems and can then can contact the customer (call/mail etc) to solve them to make sure that they are able to derive maximum benefit from the product.

Once a customer understands the true value of the product, it becomes much easier to not only renew but also upsell. This leads to revenue growth for the company.

Evalauting Customer Success Software Templatearagraph –>

Arnab is a content marketer at CustomerSuccessBox. In his free time he loves watching videos on YouTube and reading about entrepreneurship and startups.