Customer Service vs Customer Support: What’s The Difference?

Customer service and customer support are often interchanged. For this reason, differentiating the two can become a challenge. The biggest mistake is not making a distinction between the two. They do have similarities in that they focus on helping customers. Aside from that they use similar tools such as email, chat, and phone for communication. More importantly, both are critical to customer experience. In this article, we shall cover the following topics:

  1. What is Customer Service?
  2. What is Customer Support?
  3. Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Support
  4. How Customer Service and Customer Support Can Work Hand in Hand
  5. Tips On How To Improve Customer Service and Customer Support

What is Customer Service?

The ultimate goal of customer service is to help customers get the most out of your product or service as possible. Poor customer service can be potential stumbling blocks for the success of businesses. 84% of Americans said that customer service was one of the key factors that influence their purchase decisions.

The role of customer service

Customer service is a long-term process. It begins the moment customers show interest in what your business has to offer and can continue for years after they have made a purchase. The role of customer service is to make customers happy at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

With customer service, you need to have a broad understanding of your business, its products, and customer contact channels. It doesn’t require any specialist knowledge as long as you can answer common questions and know where to direct customers for more assistance.

Customer service is about providing for the larger and non-technical concerns of a customer. It could involve issues about billing, shipping, or a lost and found check. This is important in ensuring the happiness of your customers and encouraging them to take full advantage of your offerings. Examples of customer service activities include:

  • Onboarding new customers
  • Answering questions and replying to comments on social media
  • Helping customers with billing and delivery issues
  • Resolving non-technical account issues
  • Recommending better tools or techniques
  • Collecting customer reviews and feedbacks
  • Upselling

What is Customer Support?

The job of the support agent is to find a solution. They will either execute the solution themselves or guide the customer through the relevant steps. Troubleshooting is usually a big part of the job of a customer support agent. They can also help customers with installation, training, maintenance, upgrading services, or ending services.

Customer support arose from the internal technical support that most companies used to have. Software as a Service (SaaS) paved the way for remote installation and operation of software more easily. As a result, tech support teams can now focus on fostering partnerships and building customer relationships.

Customer support agents are experts in the product you are offering. They should be able to provide diverse and proactive technical support while staying patient in resolving customer’s problem. The customer support process starts when a customer reaches out on their preferred channel with a problem. The process doesn’t end until the problem is resolved.

The role of customer support

Customer support requires an in-depth knowledge of your products and services. Customer support roles may also include creation of knowledge-based documentation, user cases, and providing product feedback. They often collaborate with product development teams to ensure improvement and optimization of end-to-end customer experience.

Customer support also requires some soft skills and people skills in order to communicate effectively with customers. Speed, technical proficiency, and product expertise are key attributes to delivering effective customer support.

Customer support interactions are not the perfect time to push products and services. Customer support provides quick and accurate solutions to user problems as and when they arise. They provide a valuable role in providing customer feedback to product development teams.

Customer Service vs Customer Support

In customer service, the rep can help locate the t-shirt, call the customer, and pack the shirt for the customer. They can take the opportunity to upsell by recommending a sweater that goes well with the shirt. Customer support comes in when the store provides a means for providing feedback or information that goes with the experience.

As for their roles, customer support is for improvement of the customer experience while customer service is for interacting transactionally with the customer. All businesses provide customer service but not everyone is required to offer customer support.

Customer service focuses on providing efficient, helpful customer transactions. With customer support, the focus is on improving the intersection between customer experience and the product. Customer service connects to existing answers and solutions. Customer support answers technical problems, performs some troubleshooting, and finds new solutions and answers.

How Customer Service and Customer Support Can Work Hand in hand

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Customer service and customer support are crucial for maintaining ongoing customer relationships which could result in improved loyalty, retention, and recurring revenue. If you can offer both customer service and customer support through reactive response and proactive engagement, you can gain an advantage over competitors.

Slow service and customer support can kill your company’s retention rate. More than 80% of customers said that poor service can be a determining factor in driving them away from a company. On the other hand, good service and support drives free word of mouth advertising. You can expect bad reviews from customers if they have a negative experience with your company.

Here are some of the ways you can make customer service and customer support work hand in hand for the success of your business.

Go from troubleshooter to strategic partner

A skillful support agent should be able to help the customer resolve a problem when a support ticket has been opened. They take the time to set up the customers for success. They take the time to trace the root of the problem and explain important actions that need to be done.

Reward soft skills in “technical” customer support

Bring empathy and “extreme rapport” to every support interaction

Support agents should also practice “extreme rapport” to foster a sense of collaboration towards a common goal. You may have technical know how and intimate knowledge of a product, but if you don’t balance it with rapport, you won’t be able to help a customer in their time of need.

Evolve customer support outcomes and KPIs

Support your customer support teams

Answer the why, not just the how

Tips For Increasing Customer Service and Support

1. Define your philosophy and process

First, define your principles and philosophy of customer service. It will contain a set of values ​​that you want to drive every interaction with your company’s customers, such as speed, availability, and initiative.

You can also create a customer service guide that outlines general processes and best practices for your team. This will include process instructions such as reporting bugs and errors, how and when to create supporting content, and an agreement to record customer feedback.

2. Provide your agent with the necessary tools

High-quality support tools make life easier for customers and agents. They also give the impression of smooth and professional operation.

For example, providing customers with an omnichannel service means that they can connect with you through the channel that suits them best, be it chat, social media, in-app messaging, phone calls, or email.

A customer profile creates a rich image based on the interactions between each customer and your company through different channels. This way, any agent who contacts the client can immediately get an overview of the client’s history and needs.

The agent can then resolve customer issues faster while eliminating the need to repeat for different agents.

3. Clear communication

To minimize miscommunication, remove technical terms and industry language from your publication, use plain words where simple words can be used and don’t overwhelm clients with too much information at once.

Another important part of clear communication is transparency. If a customer asks a question but you don’t know what the answer is, let them know that you’re not sure and you can reach them as soon as you find the answer.

4. Use positive language

An active language should be solution oriented, not problem oriented.

For example, suppose a customer is facing an issue where they cannot access online training videos due to a technical problem.

A negative response to this complaint can be:

“Sorry! Unfortunately, we don’t know what the problem is at this time.”

A positive answer:

“Sorry! Thanks for your attention. We will investigate it immediately and let you know that it was corrected in a second.”

5. Close the dialog box as necessary

Therefore, your customer service and support teams must find clear solutions for all customer interactions. If you are not sure if your customers are satisfied with this interaction, you will not know if they had a good experience.

When communication with customers seems slow, you should always ask if there are other questions that can assist with. This gives the customer a signal that you are paying attention to the root cause of the problem and that you are willing to spend as much time as possible solving the customer’s problem.

Once the customer has said everything and there are no more questions, you can calmly end the conversation, knowing that the customer is happy with the interaction.

6. Give priority to first contact problem resolution

This means that you must first deliver the first contact solution (or the first call solution).

7. Use response templates to save time

8. Practice empathy and build rapport.

It is especially important that customer service personnel take this into account. Customers who call support are often stressed and frustrated, even when their issues are easily resolved. Support agents don’t need to waste time solving technical problems, they need time to identify with a customer’s unique situation (even if it’s the eighth time they have solved the same problem today!).

Similarly, building rapport with customers — talking to customers in person, asking questions about their business, showing your admiration for the plan — goes a long way toward creating a people-centered customer experience.

9. Involve other teams in customer service.

This may mean that members of different teams have to listen to customer calls regularly, or it may mean having regular discussions between teams to reflect customer feedback.

The key is that everyone should know why customers complain so that they can help to improve customer experience throughout the whole interaction.

airisX provides business services: from onshore, nearshore, and offshore services to contract manufacturing to warehousing and fulfillment.

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