Customer Success vs. Customer Service.


Are you tired of dealing with upset customers? Do you need more time to focus on essential tasks? Are you ready to increase your bottom line? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to understand the differences between customer service and success.

So, what is customer service? It’s a reactive tactic that focuses on fixing problems and keeping your customers satisfied. But, how is that different compared to customer success? Customer success is a proactive strategy for understanding and supporting your customers’ outcomes and ensuring your business’s success.  

Forrester data reports, “72% of businesses say improving customer experience is their top priority, only 63% of marketers prioritize implementing technology investments that will help them reach this goal.”

In summation, customer success is more than solving your client’s needs. It ensures that while you’re keeping your clients satisfied, you are also placing energy into building success stories for your business. In other words, you and your business must focus on long-term customer success and short-term customer service!

6 variables that make customer success and customer service different:

Proactive Support vs. Reactive Support.

Proactive support is when you can predict the need, volume, and type of requests your customers, clients, and employees will have over some time. 

Reactive support is when you respond to the need, volume, and type of requests from your customers as it happens. 

And, it is essential to have preemptive and proactive customer support. To do this, you must identify and address problems before they happen. How do you do this? 

  1. Create real-time visibility into core issues, surge times, and customer/employee needs.
  2. Coordinate resources to help overcome challenges, ensure immediate support and prepare for disasters. 

Fred Reichheld of Bain and Company says, “For every complaining customer, there are 26 who remain silent when they have a problem with a product or service. While your business might be able to resolve the vocal customer’s issue, you have no idea of the numerous other dissatisfied customers. This silent group simply cancels without you having an opportunity to fix the situation.”

We are here to help, contact centers are the best partner to ensure proactive support, service, and success. Call Experts technology, agent training, and 24-7-365 service ensure that your team is ready for the scenarios you can’t expect, and your customers and employees are never left waiting. To read about our in-depth agent training programs, click here.

Goal Achievement vs. Issue Resolution.

Customer service teams work to resolve unique, customer-specific issues as quickly as possible. And, while customer service relies on resolving particular matters, it doesn’t focus on ensuring the problems don’t occur again. Customer success teams work to eliminate systemic process bottlenecks that jeopardize overall customer goal achievement.  

Imagine yourself in these scenarios…

Your customers are calling to report a leak at their condo. Your customer service agent responds:

Customer Service: “Thank you so much for reporting your leak to our company. Our technicians have received a notification of your leak and will work with you quickly to resolve the problems.”

While your customer success agent responds: 

Customer Success: “Thank you so much for reporting your leak. I have checked with a technician and submitted a request. He will be at your location within 1 hr.”

In the second example, the team learned from previous experiences and created a process to set emergency appointments with the plumbing company. The approach offered helpful details, set an appointment with on-call technicians, and ensured the caller’s success. 

Customer Value vs. Satisfaction.

Customer success organizations aim to maximize value by helping customers achieve their goals. Your goal must be to provide value to your customer, not just satisfaction. When you are providing optimal value in each experience, you will have a customer for life.  

Keeping people happy is essential, and the customer is always right, but satisfaction is only the beginning of customer support. A  success team’s performance is ultimately compared to customer outcomes and lifetime value, not just customer happiness. So, do you want to learn more about how to use technology to create scale in your customer success plan? Read more here.

Long-term vs. Short-term Customer Perspective.

Success plans look at the entire customer support process and lifecycle to address adoption issues and other common bottlenecks that prevent customers from achieving their goals. On the other hand, customer service plans confine their views to immediate technical or usage issues to quickly find a customer resolution.

Revenue Generating vs. Cost.

Customer success focuses on growth, not just retaining the customers a business has. In addition to preventing churn, customer success also drives expansion via up-selling, cross-selling, and new business via referrals. Customer service focuses strictly on driving customer satisfaction to avoid churn.

Company-Wide Initiative vs. Functional Initiative.

Customer service rarely, if ever, involves collaboration with other parts of the organization. And, it focuses singularly on time to answer, hold times, and SLA scoring. While customer service resolves immediate needs and has been considered in customer success, it is rare for a customer service plan to offer guidance on organizational efficiencies and the bottom line.

Customer success initiatives require fully integrated, cross-team collaborations that look at client needs holistically. Success plans can provide insights into reducing an organization’s support costs, customer concerns, customer journey bottlenecks, and more. 

Learn more about optimizing your customer journey to get started with a customer success plan.

And, customer success organizations preemptively and proactively identify and address problems so customers can realize their goals. Success organizations aim to maximize value and increase lifetime value. Satisfaction, the purpose of customer service teams, is only the baseline for customer success teams. Customer success organizations focus on growth, not just retaining the customers they have.


Whether you’re looking for service, support, or customer success, Call Experts has nearly 40 years of experience helping organizations. Call Experts technology, agent training, and 24-7-365 service ensure that your team is ready for the unexpected and your customers and employees are never left waiting. To see how we can support your business, contact us today. 

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