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How to Balance Customer Support vs Customer Service

Striking the right balance between customer support vs customer service is key. Elevate your service game with our tips for success.

From small businesses to large enterprises, a company's success largely relies on customer experience, customer care, and customer satisfaction. 

Customer experience refers to all customer interactions with your brand, from the start of the buying journey with marketing and sales to customer service interactions and help.

In this guide, we will go over the difference between customer support and customer service, the importance of customer service, and how to handle customer complaints.

It’s simple: customers who feel cared for often return to the same business. Regardless of the size of your company, a business's success relies on its customers, and therefore, companies must ensure expectations are met and their customers leave with a positive experience that makes them want to support your business. 

The difference between customer support and customer service

The difference between a customer support team and a customer service representative is that customer support teams support a product, while customer service teams provide a service to a customer.

Customer experiences can make or break a customer's decision to continue working with or purchasing from a company. Satisfied customers often recommend the organization to friends or family, or they may leave a positive review and provide free client testimonials and marketing.

It is essential to go above and beyond regarding positive customer satisfaction and excellent customer service. 

The role of customer support

While customer support falls under the customer service category, it prioritizes existing customers who require assistance or have trouble with a product or service they purchased.

A customer support agent's primary goal is to have customers leave their customer support interactions with questions answered and solutions provided and have an overall positive customer experience.

Customer support agents directly connect with existing customers and gain firsthand insight into how an organization's product or service is being received. They focus on the significance of customer interactions by addressing issues, solving customer problems, and improving the interaction between the product and customer satisfaction.

As part of a more extensive customer service department, customer support teams often help answer product-related questions and troubleshoot problems to create a superior product or service for a better overall customer experience. 

The challenges of inadequate customer support, particularly SaaS companies that provide web services or desktop applications, often stem from technical problems that require problem-solving, troubleshooting, and finding new solutions and answers to ensure a positive customer experience. 

The essence of customer service

Customer service is the support organizations offer customers before and after purchasing a product or service. Focusing on the value of potential and existing customers equally, customer service agents are the primary contact line between an organization and its customers. Their top priority is a positive customer experience. 

Customer service encompasses all your business interactions with your customers and is usually overseen by a department or branch. A customer service agent goes beyond issue resolution to improve high-quality service and help customers gain as much value from your product or service as possible for as long as possible. 

A company's success depends on building long-term relationships with clients through the customer experience. Customer service doesn’t end after the initial purchase or interaction. Customer service is a long-term commitment encompassing the entire customer journey and interaction with your product.

From upselling to resolving account-related issues, maybe even some non-technical issues, to engaging with users reaching out with issues on social media platforms. When it comes down to it, a good customer service department is essential to a successful business. 

Strike the right balance

There are challenges in achieving an equilibrium between customer service and customer support. Customer support agents must prioritize swift issue resolution, while customer service agents aim to bring on new customers and provide consistent customer satisfaction throughout the customer's journey.

Maintaining a distinction between customer service vs customer support functions while creating a customer service philosophy can provide a balance in your organization and an exceptional customer experience. 

A customer service philosophy can help communicate your company's values and set expectations about your customer service standards and the business you provide. They often detail how you want your employees to interact with customers or potential clients to build customer loyalty and improve repeat customers.

Some practical tips for creating an effective balance between customer service and support agents are sticking to differences and defining clear job roles within departments on how best to interact with customers and ensure customer satisfaction. 

Importance of customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction directly correlates with a business’s success, as delivering excellent customer service can make or break a customer’s decision to continue working with an organization.

Handling customer complaints and ensuring expectations are met can be all that stands in the way of a lifelong customer who provides word-of-mouth referrals about the company to friends and family versus an angry and upset customer who ensures you’ll never receive their business again and leaves a negative review on google or yelp. 

More often than not, when a person is looking into a company they want to work with, they search the company online and check their reviews. How do other customers perceive the company? Have they had positive customer experiences or negative customer experiences that turned them and other potential customers off from the business?

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Train and empower your team

While some companies have dedicated customer service teams or entire departments to ensure customer satisfaction and meet customer expectations, other companies integrate it into their everyday roles.

To ensure customer care and a positive customer experience, a company must train and empower its customer service team by giving them a broad understanding of the product or service and the tools they need to succeed in great customer service. 

Create situations where employees are knowledgeable and empowered to provide solutions and help customers. Many customer service departments train employees on how they want them to interact with clients.

This can be done by providing employees with enough product or service education to understand any issues or questions a customer might have. Training scripts are helpful initially, but enhancing employee knowledge and building trust allows autonomy in customer service decisions. 

Empowering employees and customer service training ideas can revamp your customer service and support through strategic investments that yield significant returns. By prioritizing customer satisfaction, businesses can differentiate themselves, build strong customer relationships, foster customer loyalty, and achieve long-term success.

Metrics for success

There are a few ways to measure business success. A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) provides goals for teams to hit, milestones to measure progress, and insights that help people across the company make better decisions. KPIs can help determine a company’s strategic, financial, and operational achievements, especially when comparing them to other businesses within the same sector.

Continuous improvement, on the other hand, is a powerful tool that helps organizations and individuals identify inefficiencies and enhance their performance to achieve better results in their company's customer service process.

Continuous improvement is essential because companies can analyze and continuously look for ways to improve customer touchpoints, technology systems, and internal workflows.

Companies can streamline their processes, minimize response times, and resolve customer issues promptly while enhancing employees' skills and knowledge. Thus leading to a better customer experience and overall customer satisfaction.

Leverage technology

A bad review or negative customer service wasn’t a big deal before technology. Now that customers can communicate so much easier and to a much larger audience, positive customer support and interactions with a company's customer service teams can make or break the success of a business.

In many cases, good service will keep someone coming back to your product, service, or brand for no other reason than the fact you offer good customer service and support. 

While technological advancement has allowed for more negative reviews to be shared, it has also allowed companies to enhance and improve customer support to help increase customer loyalty, your brand’s reputation, and your business’s revenue.

Consider the types of service or customer support you want from your business. How do they wish to communicate about issues or get updates on product releases, marketing communications, or company-sponsored events?

This may include quick response times for issue-related calls, simplified automated voice services, product documentation, or curated email marketing strategies for awareness of promotions, products, or events.

Finding the right tools to implement, refine, monitor, and gauge the effectiveness of your customer service efforts will be critical to your company's success. Mailchimp offers several tools, such as a marketing CRM and access to the correct information to elevate customer satisfaction and care. Check out how Mailchimp can help you today.

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