Customer Success vs. Customer Support. What’s the difference?

Customer Success vs. Customer Support

Do you know the difference between customer success and customer support? If not, you’re not alone. Many business owners don’t understand the distinction between these two important roles.

In this blog post, we will discuss the key differences between customer success and customer support. We’ll also provide tips on how to decide which role is more essential for your business.

What is customer success?

Customer success is all about ensuring that your customers are successful in using your product or service. This involves providing training, onboarding, and support to help them get the most out of your offering.

These teams tend to also have a dedicated customer success manager who is responsible for the overall customer success strategy of the company.

What is customer support?

Customer support is focused on resolving issues that customers have with your product or service. This can involve troubleshooting technical problems, providing refunds or credits, and addressing customer concerns.

Remember, that both are important and it’s important to keep track of how your customers feel by relying on customer feedback. Measuring your net promoter score is a great way to track your overall support metrics.

So, what are the key differences between these two important functions? Let’s take a look:

Table of contents
Short-term vs long-term
Active vs reactive
Cross-functional vs isolated silos
Retention vs resolution
Customer journey vs technical journey

customer feedback, customer relationship, customer interactions

1. Short-term vs long-term

Customer success focuses on long-term relationships. Customer support focuses on solving immediate problems.

In any business, it’s important to focus on the long-term success of your customers. After all, if they’re not happy, they’re not going to be around for very long.

Customer support is responsible for solving immediate problems and keeping customers happy in the short-term, while customer success focuses on developing long-term relationships and ensuring that customers are getting the most value out of your product or service.

There’s a lot of overlap between customer support and customer success, but the two roles are definitely different. Which we’ll continue to look at further below.

Customer relationships are an essential part of any business, but it’s not enough to just keep customers happy in the short-term.

customer data, solve customer issues, customer goals

2. Active vs reactive

Customer success involves proactive outreach and education. Customer support is reactive.

In the customer success world, proactive outreach and education are key. This means reaching out to customers before they have a problem, helping them understand how your product works, and arming them with the knowledge they need to be successful.

In customer support, on the other hand, problems are addressed as they come up. This reactive approach can often lead to a lot of unhappy customers and a lot of wasted time.

Customer support is an important part of any business, but it’s crucial to remember that customer success should always be our top priority. By focusing on proactive outreach and education, we can create happy, successful customers who will stick around for years to come.

Getting this right can ensure high levels of customer satisfaction across the entire customer journey, so you can more lifetime value and business success.

same goal, work proactively, marketing team

3. Cross-functional vs isolated silos

Customer success teams are typically strategic and cross-functional. Customer support teams are often isolated and siloed.

In many companies, the customer success managers are separate from, and oversees, the customer support team. The customer success team is often seen as more strategic and cross-functional, while the support team is often seen as isolated and siloed.

It’s not uncommon for this to lead to tension between the teams and a lack of cooperation, so it’s vital a business manage these internal relationships to ensure the clients never have a negative experience

Additionally, the success team should work with the support team to ensure that they are providing the best possible experience to customers. The support team can provide feedback on what is working well and what needs improvement, while the customer success managers can work on strategies to improve retention and grow revenue.

The two teams should work hand in hand on training and education, to ensure there’s real value add between the support customers receive across the different departments.

customer satisfaction, customer experience, customer needs

4. Retention vs resolution

Customer success has a larger focus on retention and upsells. Customer support is more concerned with first time resolution rates.

Customer success is often seen as more important than customer support, but they both play critical roles.

While customer support is focused on first time resolution rates, the success team is more concerned with retention and upsells. This can be seen as a shift in focus for businesses, as they move away from the idea of one-and-done customers to retaining and growing their customer base.

There are a few reasons for this shift:

  • The first is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to acquire new customers.
  • The second reason is that it’s cheaper and more efficient to retain current customers than to acquire new ones.
  • Finally, businesses are realizing that it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to find a new one.

All of this means that customer satisfaction should be a top priority for businesses.

lifetime value, long term value, success metrics

5. Customer journey vs technical journey

The customer success team owns the customer journey. The customer support team owns the technical journey.

There is a lot of overlap between the success and support teams, but they have different responsibilities.

The success team owns the customer journey and is responsible for customer retention and growth. They work with existing customers to ensure they are getting value from the product and are successful in using it.

Which means, that the success team should be responsible for understanding the customer’s needs and ensuring that they are getting what they need from the product. They should also be responsible for helping customers achieve their goals.

The customer support team is responsible for the technical journey and resolving issues that customers experience. They proactively work to diagnose and fix problems as quickly as possible.

Company support teams should be responsible for resolving any technical issues that existing customers may experience. They should also be responsible for gathering feedback from customers and feeding it back to the product team.

By working together, these teams can ensure that the customer experience is positive from start to finish.


In conclusion, the key differences between customer success vs customer support are:

  • The focus of customer success is on proactive measures to prevent issues, while the focus of customer support is on reactive measures to address issues.
  • Customer success teams work to ensure that the company is successful with a product or service, while customer support teams work to resolve issues.
  • Customer success teams focus on the entire customer lifecycle, while customer support team generally focus on the post-purchase stage.
  • Customer success teams are proactive and preventative, while support teams are reactive and responsive.
  • The goal of customer success is to reduce customer churn, while the goal of customer support is to address customer issues.

We hope this article has helped you understand the differences between support and customer success ! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. We’re always happy to help!

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What does customer success mean?

Customer success is a term used in business to describe a customer’s continued use and satisfaction with a product or service. It is often seen as the opposite of customer support, which is the process of addressing and resolving customer complaints.

A successful customer is one who is satisfied with their purchase and continues to use the product or service. This can be measured by things like customer retention rates, upsells, and referrals.

It’s important to remember that customer success is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and adjustment. You should continually monitor it using a net promoter system.

What does client success look like?

Client success is all about achieving business goals through the successful use of a product or service. While customer support is important for keeping clients happy and helping customers use a product successfully, it’s only one part of the larger client success equation.

The key to a successful client relationship is understanding what each client wants to achieve and then providing the necessary support and guidance. This can vary from company to company, and even from client to client within a company.

It’s important for the client success team to be flexible and adaptable in order to best meet each client’s needs.

Is customer success the same as professional services?

Customer success is often mistaken for professional services. Many people believe that the two are one and the same, but this could not be further from the truth. While customer success does include aspects of professional services, it is much more than that.

Professional services are all about solving a customer’s problem. This may involve implementing a new system, providing training, or troubleshooting an issue. Customer success, on the other hand, is about ensuring that the customer is satisfied with the product or service and continues to use it. It’s about building a relationship with the customer and helping them achieve their goals.

There are several key differences between customer success and professional services. For starters, customer success is proactive while professional services are reactive. Professional services are also focused on the individual client, while customer success is focused on the overall success of the account.

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