Customer Success vs Customer Support: What’s the Difference?


Consumers expect businesses to deliver top-notch experiences, so it’s important for businesses to know the difference between customer support and customer success.

There are many strategies and departments that contribute to the customer experience, and it’s easy to confuse their roles. Customer support is a specific type of customer service that typically addresses customer issues with products and provides technical assistance, while customer success focuses more on long-term customer service and support to ensure positive relationships and continues.

Here are the differences between customer support and customer success:

Customer service

Customer support is usually a team that belongs to customer service. Customer Support provides technical assistance with the products, as well as troubleshooting. The Customer Support team provides advice to customers who are having issues with electronic equipment, software, and clothing, depending on the industry. Some of the key tools that help a customer support team operate effectively include contact center software, call management systems, customer self-service tools, and on-site and dispatch service systems.

Chatbots are a commonly used tool within customer support departments to help customers outside of regular business hours. Chatbots can vary in complexity, but companies frequently train their chatbots to answer more questions.

Customer success teams make sure the product is working properly and that customers know how to use it.

Customer success

Customer Success is a strategy that helps businesses maintain positive and ongoing relationships with their customers. Companies use this strategy to ensure that their products meet the needs of the customer. Customer Success Teams make sure the product is working properly and that customers know how to use it. Customer success also provides after-sales support.

Three steps are essential to the success of the client:

  1. Installation. A professional services team sets up the software and makes sure the product works properly.
  2. Coaching. The Customer Success Team trains the users of the software in the use of the product.
  3. Account management. Customer success teams focus on maintaining an after-sales customer relationship. Account management is important because customer success teams can ensure products are performing well, gather feedback and make product improvements, and generate contract extensions and additional services.

Differences between customer support and customer success

Although they seem similar, customer support and customer success are different entities that in their own way contribute to the overall customer experience.

  1. Reactive vs proactive. Customer support is responsive, which means customer support teams provide service when the customer asks for help. On the other hand, Customer Success Teams manage proactive support, which means Customer Success Teams provide customers with the resources to resolve and prevent issues, to avoid reactive support altogether.
  2. Metric. Customer support metrics measure the speed and quality of interactions with customers. Companies can measure this performance through Net Promoter Scores, which measure customer loyalty; customer effort scores, which measure the customer experience in terms of the overall effort required to use the product or service; and customer satisfaction scores, which measure the likelihood that the customer will refer a peer to the company. Customer Success Metrics measure the positive downstream effects of the business on a customer. This includes retention rates, repeat purchases, and upsell rates.
  3. Skills and good practices. Customer support as a domain has been around for many years, so roles, skills, and best practices are well established. Customer success hasn’t been around that long, so it can be difficult to determine the “right” way to customer success for each business. Customer success skills are quite broad and include customer service, subject matter expertise, and sales knowledge.
  4. Transactional vs relational. Interactions with customer support are transactional. The customer asks the company for help, and the customer support team resolves the issue. Customer success is also a response to a customer problem, but the interaction is not the last that the business has with the customer. Customer Success is all about providing an ongoing relationship with customers to ensure an ongoing positive experience.

How customer support and customer success work together

It’s important that the Customer Support and Customer Success teams work together to deliver the best customer experience. Businesses need to ensure that the two departments stay in close contact with each other so that they can use customer data to make better, more informed decisions. For example, if customers frequently face the same problem and share it with the customer support team, it is important that the customer success team is also aware of this problem so that they can work with them. ‘other services to solve the problem.


Learn more about customer experience management (CX)




Joseph P. Harris