Home Blog Customer Success vs Customer Support: what are the differences and how to use them for business
Technical Support Outsourcing
February 8, 2022

Customer Success vs Customer Support: what are the differences and how to use them for business

In this article, we propose to understand the differences to understand the skills employees need to have in order to achieve your business goals. This will help you build an effective team that focuses on customers, their needs and wants.

Customers are the backbone of the business. And if they do not exist, there will be no business either. It’s obvious, right? Customers need to be interacted with in order for the business to move forward. It’s easy too, right? But exactly how to deal with customers, depending on the goals that you want to achieve – just about the difference between Customer Success and Customer Support. Because these concepts are about different things, although they are often identified.

In this article, we propose to understand the differences to understand the skills employees need to have in order to achieve your business goals. This will help you build an effective team that focuses on customers, their needs and wants. After all, now customers do not need a product as such, but solutions to their problems.

What is Customer Support

Let’s say you bought an ornamental mandarin tree, brought it home and are admiring it. After a while, half of the fruits fell off. You go to the salesperson and talk about the problem. The interlocutor answers questions, suggests a reason, finds out the correct care of the tree, gives recommendations on where to put the plant and how many times to water. You follow the recommendations, the tangerines no longer crumble, and the tree continues to grow. This is customer support. That is, it is a solution to problems and questions that have already arisen.

What is Customer Success

Another situation. You are buying an ornamental mandarin tree. You are immediately told what to do with it, where to put it, what should be the temperature and humidity of the air, what to fertilize, when and how to transplant, which post to transplant, how many times to water … They give instructions, sources where you can clarify information, etc. Only after that they give the tree in hand and periodically contact you and ask if everything is ok with the plant. This is Success, a department that cares about “customer success”. That is, it is a solution to problems long before they arise, it is:

▪️ establishing, developing and building relationships with clients;

▪️ understanding customers;

▪️ helping clients achieve and goals; successful implementation of services or products.

The main goal of Customer Success is to make the customer happy. And for this you need to understand the client: to know what he is facing, how he reacts, how it determines success and what leads to it, what means. This helps to understand what is missing in the product to achieve success and what would help the client to solve his problem.

Customer Success is most often found in complex product niches: IT and SaaS. When a client does not pay a million immediately, but a little every month. In such a situation, it becomes very important that next month he does not go anywhere and pay for a new period. This changes focus and processes. After all, if the user does not fully understand the possibilities, he will not get the expected result – and the business risks losing the client and profit, respectively.

Let’s dive deeper into the difference between Customer Success and Customer Support.

Customer Success vs Customer Support

Customer Success is often confused with Sales, and it is assumed that the former makes customers spend more. On the one hand, he provides answers and solutions to problems, on the other, he offers to buy additional products or services. In the tangerine tree example, when you arrive with some fallen fruit, Sales will simply offer to buy fertilizer, optimal soil, and a new pot. And that’s all.

Customer Support and Sales are here and now solutions. Customer Success is a long-term game.

Characteristic Customer Success  Customer Support
Support Proactive. Preventing problems and questions Reactive. Solving problems and questions
The nature of the interaction Has no “end point”. This is a constant, evolving and consistent work on the development of existing relations between the client and the company. Transactional. Begins when a client applies and ends with a resolution of his request
Metrics -User churn rate;


– repeat purchases;

– customer loyalty to the product (can be measured using surveys)

-Speed of resolving issues;

– the quality of the solution of questions (can be measured using surveys). Usually, events before or after interaction with customer support are not counted

Return on investment Can be measured by:

-use of the product and implementation in the daily business activities of customers;

-speed and volume of referrals;

-monitoring the reputation and brand mentions;

-natural growth of income, not associated with specific marketing efforts;

-increased retention rates, updates and cross-selling

The costs associated with poor customer support are easily measurable and understandable:

-Customer satisfaction ratings;

-LTV clients;

– retention rates;


Why is it important to separate Customer Success and Customer Support

To put it briefly, Customer Support, and the sales department, will not be able to ensure the fulfillment of the main function of Customer Success – to make the customer satisfied and happy.

More broadly, attracting new customers is becoming more and more expensive. As long as a business is obsessed with acquiring new visitors and is careless about existing customers, it does not make full profit. A Harvard Business Review study shows that loyal customer growth of just 5% increases profits by 25-95%. Not bad, isn’t it?

This is why it is important for businesses to shift their focus to existing customer satisfaction and retention. Business growth and development is determined by whether you know how to stop customer churn and ensure the success of regular users. HubSpot says in its research that young companies are 21% more likely to care about “customer success.” And this allows them to save up to 33% of the budget.

According to surveys, 86% of consumers are already willing to spend more money for a great service. In 2020, customer experience has surpassed price and product and has become a top priority in consumer choice.


Customer Success and Customer Support are not mutually exclusive and must interact to grow the business. It is better if these are 2 different departments in order to clearly define the roles, mission and goals of each. But keep departments on the same page to better leverage customer data to make better decisions.

For example, tech support constantly faces the same problem or complaint from subscribers → transfers information to the customer service team → Customer Success processes this issue with new customers. And then he can refer the issue to the UI / UX departments to make changes necessary to completely fix the problem.

These critical business processes will help you develop, maintain, and improve customer relationships. And all this will lead to increased income and the success of your company. If you are looking for a partner who can help you organise a dedicated Customer Success and Customer Support team, write to us.

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February 8, 2022

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