Customer Success is NOT Customer Support!
It’s easy to assume that customer success and customer support are the same thing. After all, both teams exist to further a company’s brand and help the customer.
But what they do on a daily basis, how they interact with customers, and their timeframes couldn’t be any more different. Both serve the customer, but there’s one key difference:
Customer success teams are proactive.
To build a stellar customer success strategy, you need to know how these two teams function differently and why their differences matter to your company’s success.
What Customer Support Teams Do
Customer Support teams:
- Solve customer problems and challenges
- Respond to a customer when they make contact
- Meet a customer’s immediate need, then moves on
- Measure success by the quality of support
- Do not generate new business, functions as a cost center
Customer support is absolutely necessary and is an important part of any business. But there are two attributes of customer service teams that you’ll notice from the list above:
Customer support is reactionary and costs a company money.
There are necessary expenses in any business and spending money to answer technical questions for customers can certainly be a good way to keep them happy. But your company needs far more than a customer support team in order to grow.
It needs a dedicated customer success team.
What Customer Success Teams Do
Customer success teams…
- Help customers achieve goals through products and solutions
- Actively engage with customers to overcome challenges
- Have a long-term perspective on customer retention
- Measure success by achieving business goals
- Generate revenue for the company
Think of customer success teams like a Sherpa helping people through the mountains. They are the guides that help a customer leave the base of the mountain (in need of solutions), traverse from camp to camp (using potential products/services), to eventually reach the peak (their desired outcome).
A good customer success manager is an advisor.
They’re the ones that see the bigger picture and help customers map out a plan to get to their destination. They’re not there to fix all of the small problems along that way — that’s for customer support — but instead focus their time and energy on helping the customer stay on the right path.
What you miss by not focusing on customer success
It’s easy to say that customer success teams are important, but why should companies focus their attention on building out unique customer success teams?
I’ll give you a hint: It has to do with revenue.
Customer success teams have the opportunity to generate new sales for their businesses. Companies that focus on building the right customer experience for their clients and have a strong relationship with them will always come out ahead financially.
Research shows that 90% of happy customers are more likely to purchase again. But it’s not only about helping a customer find a new product or service.
Reducing Customer Churn
We have said it here before – Reducing customer churn is very important.
Customer success managers play a unique role at a company because they can often be the best way to keep unhappy customers from leaving. This isn’t just important because you need paying customers to keep a business running but also because studies have shown that it is 5X more expensive to find a new customer than to keep an existing one.
Finding new customers is a timely and costly endeavor. Unfortunately, many customer success managers fail to make their case for how critical their role is. An estimated 54% of European customer experience teams are unable to prove their return on investment.
To differentiate your customer success team from customer service, you need to be able to prove that you’re bringing in new sales and that your strong relationships with customers are keeping retention rates high.
And this brings us all the way back to my initial main point: Be proactive.
You should be consistently engaging with customers, listening to their needs, and determining if there are any new services that would benefit them. At the same time, you should also keep a log of how your interactions, upsells, and overall customer engagement is adding ROI for your company.
Have you seen What is the ROI of Customer Success Teams?
If you’re not being proactive and you’re not adding new revenue (or keeping customer retention levels high), then you’re not differentiating yourself from the customer service team. Your success — and the success of your customer — will be measured on how well you meet the customer’s needs and your company objectives.
Focus on both, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for winning in the customer success game.