Understanding customer support and customer success

Customer support, while largely seen as a component of customer success, is a complete function on it’s own that focuses on resolving customer issues related to your product. The assistance offered to the customer in this manner can be delivered either by a support agent or in the form of self-service. It is generally reactive in nature, i.e., the support is offered when the customer raises a support ticket through a portal or initiate a conversation using a chat tool.

Customer success, is a proactive approach to building relationships with existing customers. A typical customer success manager might be spending time with the customers on a regular basis to help them achieve their goals using your product and be their champion throughout their journey. Also reducing customer churn is one of the key responsibilities of a customer success manager, and they play a key role in the revenue predictability of your organization.

align customer support customer success

Measuring success for customer support and customer success


Measuring customer support

Typically the success of customer support is measured by quality, speed, and experience delivered to the customer. For example, a customer support agent is measured by a) first response time - the time taken for the initial response for a request created b) resolution time - the time taken to resolve an issue. Whereas to measure quality and experience, support agents are often evaluated on the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS), which indicate the satisfaction of the customer and their probability to refer your brand to their contacts respectively.

Measuring customer success

Customer success is measured very differently compared to customer support, because customer success measures value over time, be it value expanded or value delivered. For instance, the SaaS industry and the businesses that have a recurring revenue component, measure customer success based on customer retention as they reflect net revenue.

Aligning customer support and customer success

The starting point for getting the customer support team and customer success team to work together is to determine who is responsible for what. An easier way to look at it would be - anything that is reactive such as responding to customer requests can be owned by customer support and aspects that are proactive in nature such as product training, upselling and cross-selling can be owned by customer success.

Once you define the ownership, the next step is to define responsibilities at the task level. This will help your organization to come across as one single unit in terms of customer experience. For instance, if a customer has an issue with your product and is still pending resolution from your support team, you don’t want your customer success manager to reach out and start a conversation on renewal or upgrade at that juncture. The point here is that both the teams have to work in unison, keeping customer experience at its core.

Here are some examples of areas where you need to set up a process:

Ensure both your support and customer success team are always in sync and aren’t losing sight of the customer as they get caught up in their daily deliverables. The ultimate goal of your team regardless of their key responsibilities, is to ensure a successful customer journey.


Next topic - Setting up customer support tiers


What next?

Single point experience for customers

While you build your omnichannel customer support team to address customers across channels and offer a unified experience, the last thing you want is your customers not knowing whom to contact.

single point of contact