Customer service and customer support: what's the difference?

Both customer service and support are central to delivering an exceptional customer experience.

When appropriately executed, they foster customer loyalty, word-of-mouth referrals, and more recurring revenue.

Use customer support software which contains an efficient knowledge base, ticketing system and Live chat. Minimal cost to enhance customer experience.BClinked 

Rapid deployment, simple enough but effective customer support system

Customer service and customer support are often used interchangeably, and both can have a huge impact on your customer retention rates. But despite some crossover, the two terms refer to different things.

It's essential to understand this difference. Once you separate them, you'll be able to define job responsibilities, make better hiring decisions, and minimize customer frustration by providing them with the needed services.

What is customer service?

Customer service is an umbrella term that encompasses all interactions between your business and its customers.

Almost every business has customer service. It refers to everything you do to serve and meet your customer's expectations and improve the overall customer experience. The ultimate goal of customer service is to help customers get the most value possible from your product or service - a potential minefield of stumbling blocks for businesses with unorganized customer service teams and maladaptive phone systems.

Customer service is long-term. It starts the moment a customer shows interest in what your business has to offer and can last for years after they buy from you.

What responsibilities are involved in customer service?

A customer service agent guides and pleases customers at every stage of their lifecycle.

This may involve passively helping customers with common problems or proactively advising them on how to avoid some unforeseen issues.

The following are some everyday customer service activities.

Onboarding new clients

Answering questions and responding to comments on social media

Helping customers with billing and delivery issues

Resolving non-technical account issues

Recommending better tools or technology

Gather customer comments and feedback

Up-sell (when appropriate)

Customer service agents often have a broad understanding of the business, products and customer contact channels. Although they don't have the expertise, they can answer common questions and know where to provide more expert help to customers. (This is why team knowledge is so essential.)

Having well-honed soft skills is an essential part of providing excellent customer service. The best customer service agents are clear, patient, understanding, and supportive and pay close attention to their customers' unique situations.

What is customer support?

Customer support is a subset of customer service. Its purpose is to help customers resolve any technical issues that may arise while using your product or service.

Customer support interactions are often reactive and short-term. In most cases, the customer presents the problem they want to solve, and the support agent simply finds the solution. The support agent will implement the solution themselves or guide the customer through the steps involved.

Customer support is most commonly found in SaaS, IT and eCommerce businesses.

Not every business needs customer support. Restaurants - while significant in terms of customer service - usually do not need technical support for their customers.

What responsibilities are involved in customer support?

Customer support agents provide users with quick and accurate solutions to their problems as they arise.

With ongoing exposure to customer issues, support agents can also provide valuable customer feedback to product development teams.

The following are some everyday customer support activities.

Live troubleshooting with customers via support email and live chat

Helping customers install, maintain, upgrade and dispose of products or services

Creating product documentation and support resources

Conducting usability studies

Providing input into product development

Speed, technical proficiency and product expertise are key attributes of an effective customer support agent.

However, to provide the best possible customer experience, a customer support agent should also have the same empathy and interpersonal skills as any other customer service agent.

Customer Service and Customer Support

Customer service and support are closely related but distinctly different.

Customer service deals with the entire customer experience. It involves more customer collaboration - aimed at satisfying customers throughout the customer lifecycle - while customer support focuses on helping customers solve technical problems.

Use customer support software which contains an efficient knowledge base, ticketing system and Live chat. Minimal cost to enhance customer experience.BClinked 

Rapid deployment, simple enough but effective customer support system