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

Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What's the Difference?

Last Updated: July 2024

Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What’s the Difference? When it comes to providing exceptional experiences for your customers, it’s crucial to understand that these two terms, though often used interchangeably, represent distinct aspects of your customer-centric strategy.

According to a recent survey by AIMultiple, half of all customers (50%) express a significant need for businesses to enhance their customer service and support.

So, let’s embark on a journey to unravel the nuances, decode the distinctions, and empower your customer-centric strategy.

What is Customer Support?

Customer support is more than just answering questions or solving problems; it’s about ensuring a smooth and satisfying experience for every customer. This involves active listening, prompt responses, and reliable solutions to meet their needs efficiently, making them feel valued and supported every step of the way.

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What is Customer Service?

Customer service is helping customers at every step of their journey, from answering questions to resolving problems and going above & beyond at times to provide proactive help. Exceptional customer service builds trust and customer loyalty, setting your business apart.

Though these two are different, there are a few common factors worth noticing.

Also, read How to Hire a Customer Service Representative?

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Common Ground Between Customer Support and Customer Service

  • Enhancing Customer Experience: Both aim to ensure customers have a positive interaction with a business.
  • Valued Skill Set: They seek employees with client-facing skills, including empathy, communication, and patience.
  • Influence on Satisfaction: Both have a direct impact on overall customer satisfaction.
  • Customer Retention: They share the goal of enhancing customer retention rates.
  • Tool Utilization: They make use of similar tools, like in-person help desks and online chat services.

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Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What’s the Difference?

A. Responding vs. Anticipating

    • Responding: Customer Support: Customer support often reacts when you have a problem or question. They’re there to help when you reach out, resolving your issues or providing answers.
    • Anticipating: Customer Service: Customer service usually takes the lead. They try to predict your needs before you even ask. It’s like having someone who knows what you want and is there to make your experience better without you having to say a word.

B. From Beginning to End vs. Stepping In

    • From Beginning to End: Customer services are with you from the start of your buying journey until the very end. They guide you through the entire process, making sure everything goes smoothly.
    • Stepping In: Whereas, consumer support steps in when you hit a bump in the road, like a problem with your order, or during the checkout process. It’s more about fixing things when something goes wrong in your interaction with the company.

C. A Few vs. Every Company

    • A Few: You’ll find customer support in certain companies like tech, manufacturing, or retail. They’re there to assist with specific issues, but not all businesses offer this service.
    • Every Company: Almost all companies, regardless of size, industry, or type, have customer service. They believe in guiding customers through a great experience, and it’s a universal need across the business world.

D. Wide vs. Specialized Knowledge

    • Wide Knowledge: Customer support agents possess in-depth knowledge about a company’s products and services. Turn to these experts for answers to your product and technical questions.
    • Specialized Knowledge: But, customer service representatives have a comprehensive understanding of a company’s products, services, policies, values, and how the business operates.

E. Transactional vs. Building Connections

    • Transactional: When you deal with customer support, the interaction is mostly transactional. It’s about resolving specific issues or answering questions, focusing on the task at hand.
    • Building Connections: Customer service representatives aim to build a lasting, positive relationship between you and the company. They act as facilitators, ensuring that you have an enjoyable and connected experience.

F. Answering Questions vs. Resolving Issues

    • Answering Questions: Customer service agents can assist you with questions or issues that typically have a standard answer or solution.
    • Resolving Issues: Customer support representatives usually have a stronger focus on technical skills, like troubleshooting computer problems. Expertise in solving specific issues, especially those requiring a hands-on approach, is their forte.

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Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What’s the Difference? – Quick Glance Table

Aspect

Customer Support

Customer Service

Focus

Reactive: Aims to solve problems and answer inquiries.

Proactive: Focuses on overall customer experience.

Involvement

Usually steps in when there’s an issue or question.

Involved from the beginning to ensure a smooth journey.

Industry Application

Found in specific industries, such as tech and retail.

Universal; almost every business has some form of customer service.

Knowledge

Typically specialized in detailed product information.

Holistic understanding of company products, policies, and values.

Relationship Building

More transactional; focuses on tasks at hand.

Aims to build lasting connections between the customer and the company.

Skill Set

May require technical skills for issue resolution.

Emphasizes soft skills like empathy and communication.

Now that you understand the key differences between customer support and customer service, let’s explore some tips and examples for a better understanding.

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9 Tips for Exceptional Customer Service and Support

1. Establish Your Approach and Workflow

    • Craft Your Guiding Principles: Define your guidelines and process like speed, accessibility, and proactivity to set the foundation for your customer service interactions.
    • Build a Handbook: Consider creating a customer service handbook that covers essential instructions, such as reporting bugs, creating support content, and documenting customer feedback, to maintain consistent service.

2. Equip Your Team with Essential Tools

Make sure your team has the vital tools they need, like an omnichannel or analytics tool. These tools can help them deliver efficient and informed support, enhancing the quality of your customer service and support.

3. Ensure Clear Communication

Remove technical jargon and industry slang from your messages for easy and clear communication. Keep things straightforward by using simple words and avoid overwhelming your customers with too much information all at once.

4. Choose Positive Phrasing

When you choose positive phrasing, your communication becomes more uplifting and customer-friendly.

For instance, instead of saying “We can’t do that,” you could say, “Here’s what we can do.” It makes a big difference in how customers perceive your service.

5. Conclude Conversations Effectively

Closing conversations effectively is crucial; studies show that 81% of customers say that good customer service makes them more likely to buy from a company again.

A simple “Is there anything else I can help you with?” or “Thank you for choosing us” can leave a lasting positive impression on your customers, making them more likely to return.

6. Make First-Contact Resolution a Priority

Making first-contact resolution a priority is essential; research reveals that addressing customer issues during the initial interaction can prevent a significant 67% of customer churn. It ensures that you not only retain customers but also build a reputation for efficient service.

7. Efficient Time-Saving with Response Templates

Using response templates is a clever way to make your work easier. These templates have pre-written answers to common customer questions. You can reply quickly without losing quality or making your customers wait too long.

8. Show Empathy and Establish Connections

It’s vital to show empathy when dealing with customers. By doing so, you create meaningful connections and let customers know you genuinely care about their concerns and needs. This can lead to more positive interactions and long-term loyalty.

9. Collaborate with Other Departments for Customer Service

Collaborate with other departments to provide better support, tapping into their expertise to address complex issues more effectively. Such teamwork ensures a more well-rounded and comprehensive service for your customers.

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Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What’s the Difference? – Examples

For Customer Service

1. Citibank’s Proactive Customer Service

Citibank can automatically detect when you’ve arranged to travel and alert you of any suspicious account activity while you’re away.

Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What's the Difference?
Source: ringcentral.com

2. Customized Video Bills by AT&T

In 2012, AT&T sent personalized videos to subscribers that explained their bill and answered common questions. 85% of customers found these videos helpful and watched them all the way through.

3. Real-Time Updates from Anglian Water

Anglian Water offers a web page with an interactive map where you can check for and receive updates about water supply interruptions in your local area.

anglian - Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What's the Difference?
Source: ringcentral.com

For Customer Support

1. Asana – Knowledge base

Asana’s customer support comprises a wealth of resources, from beginner’s guides to advanced tips and tricks. They’ve got demo videos and interactive courses, and they even do live training sessions.

Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What's the Difference?
Source: ringcentral.com

2. Agile CRM – Feedback for Product Development

Customer support agents provide valuable insights to the product development team by sharing customer feedback.

agile - Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What's the Difference?
Source: ringcentral.com

3. Canyon’s Chat Support in Multiple Languages

Canyon’s proactive customer service ensures you receive support in your preferred language by automatically connecting you to the most suitable customer support agent.

Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What's the Difference?
Source: ringcentral.com

If all this information feels overwhelming, remember that outsourcing is a viable solution. Helplama is a customer service outsourcing company, and in the next section, we’ll explore more about it.

Also, read In-House vs. Outsourced Customer Service: Pros and Cons

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Helplama for Customer Service Outsourcing

helplama

Meet Helplama, your trusted partner for outsourced customer service. With their wealth of knowledge and unwavering commitment to excellence, they’re here to take your customer support to the next level.

Key Features

    • Expert Human Touch: Skilled agents provide personalized assistance.
    • 24/7 Availability: Accessible support whenever you and your customers require.
    • Omnichannel Support: Reach customers across various channels.
    • Cutting-Edge Technology: Optimize operations with advanced tools.
    • Satisfaction Guarantee: 100% money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with their services.

Concluding Customer Support vs. Customer Service: What’s the Difference?

In the world of customer experience, you’ve discovered the valuable distinctions between customer support and customer service.

As you navigate the intricate landscape of satisfying your clientele, remember this: 89% of customers are more likely to make another purchase when they receive exceptional service.

If the journey ever feels overwhelming, consider outsourcing to Helplama, your partner for elevating customer support. Their 100% money-back guarantee ensures your satisfaction as they bring their expertise and commitment to your service success.

To find out more about how Helplama can transform your customer support, visit Helplama.