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3 Main Differences Between Customer Service & Customer Support

By: Louise Harris

 

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Customer support and customer service both play key roles for businesses to provide a great customer experience. They foster more recurring revenue, word-of-mouth referrals, and customer loyalty when executed properly.

Customer support and customer service are also often used interchangeably. The customer retention rate in businesses can be hugely impacted by both of them. However, they actually refer to different things despite some crossover.

Common activities involved in customer service include the following:

  • Upselling (when appropriate)
  • Collecting feedback and reviews from customers
  • Recommending better techniques or tools
  • Resolving non-technical account issues
  • Helping clients with delivery and billing issues
  • Replying to comments and answering questions on social media
  • Onboarding new customers

On the other hand, customer support involves the following activities:

  • Giving input into product development
  • Conducting usability studies
  • Creating supporting resources and product documentation
  • Helping clients install, maintain, upgrade, and even dispose of a product or service
  • Real-time troubleshooting with clients via live chat and support emails

Read on below for some of the main differences between customer service and customer support.

Scope

Customer service is actually an umbrella term. It involves all interactions that your business will have during and after the purchasing process. Customer service is a broad umbrella word that covers every interaction between the company and its prospective clients. It encompasses, in particular, the following interactions: answering questions, providing technical support, arranging for repairs or maintenance of the company’s products or services, and answering queries and concerns about a particular service or product. These are not always exclusive, but it would be prudent to consider them all when you’re in need of a customer service representative for your business.

Customer support, on the other hand, refers to the processes that your company goes through in order to provide your customers with accurate answers and helpful tools to help them improve their skills in using your products. Customer support representatives or CSRs should know what they should do in order to get the answers to customers’ questions and make sure that they’re getting the information they need. CSRs should also be able to explain the benefits of your products and how these can benefit customers and clients. It’s important to understand how to answer customer questions about your products, especially if your company is an IT technologies provider.

Nature Of Customer Interaction

Customer service refers to activities that are designed to help you satisfy your clients. It includes answering customer questions through 800 service numbers, making sure that they’re getting the information that they need, providing training and guidance, and providing other services that are beneficial for the clients.

Customer service encompasses all aspects of dealing with customers in order to answer their questions, provide a solution to their problems, and build relationships with them. If you’re not providing good customer service to clients, they’ll never feel valued. Customer service, therefore, usually involves one-time interactions with clients because it only deals with simple issues that can be quickly resolved.

However, customer support isn’t always an easy task. It involves technical skills. Customer support involves continuous help to your clients, both online and offline. For instance, if you’re a company that sells Internet networking equipment or tools, you’ll find it very useful to provide your clients with live chat support through phone, email, and your website to train users of your product in installing software or tweaking product settings.

Skills Required

Customer service representatives aren’t required to possess a deep understanding of a product or service’s technical side. In other words, people who work in customer service departments should develop soft skills more than hard skills. They need to be good at listening, patient, and empathetic to make the clients feel heard and appreciated.

Meanwhile, customer support providers should be aware of each detail of a service or product for them to be prepared to respond to specific technical issues that customers experience. The support service provider should also have an understanding of the kind of support needed by each individual to come up with a solution as quickly as possible, even for the trickiest of problems. For instance, there are some customers who require support for setting up a new server or software, whereas there are others who would require support for troubleshooting problems with the hardware used in their computers.

What Makes For Good Customer Support And Customer Service?

There are several important factors you must consider in order to deliver excellent customer service and support to your customers and be successful at it.

The first of these is how you answer any questions that your customers may have. If you can’t provide valuable answers to what they want, then, they’ll look elsewhere to get answers to their questions. In addition, keep your answers short and easy to understand, as well as point your customers to the direction of your products and services. Ask any question and give the quickest and most accurate answer possible. 

The next factor to consider when providing customer service is that you must be willing to be patient. Customers will often tell you their concerns through phone calls or through emails, but if you take them up on their offer, your customer service will reflect that. If you’re a business owner, be sure to find ways to provide great customer service and support, whether it’s via email telephone, or in person.

Conclusion

Customer support and service are two distinct aspects of providing seamless customer experience despite commonly thought by many to be the same thing. Both of them, however, aim to build positive customer relationships.

Knowing the difference between customer service and customer support is important. As a business owner, you’ll be able to more clearly define job responsibilities once you’ve teased customer service and support apart. As a result, you can make better hiring decisions, enabling you to minimize customer frustration by providing them the correct service they need.

Published: October 14, 2020
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Louise Harris

Louise Harris is a co-founder of Christian Marketing Experts and a marketing specialist working with various brands online such as PSD to WordPress, Gospeletters, and many more. She is devoted to helping small businesses bridge success gaps by providing in-depth, actionable advice on digital marketing, SEO, and small business growth. Visit her book list here.

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