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What Is the Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Support?

Difference - Customer Service and Customer Support

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Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Often, people interchangeably use customer service and customer support. But, do they mean the same, or are they different?

Let us try and understand how customer service and customer support are different.

Customer service deals with the entire customer experience addressing the customer needs throughout the lifecycle. Customer service teams provide service to a customer to get the most out of your product or service and to resolve their problems.

In contrast, customer support is far narrower and is focused on helping customers solve technical problems. Customer support includes answering customer questions, assisting with onboarding, troubleshooting, and upgrading customers to a new product or service.

Following what we have defined, customer support can be considered a part of customer service. However, the reverse is not valid.

Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Support

Customer service and customer support have similar goals, and that’s where the confusion sets in. Customer support is reactive, while customer service is proactive. 

This means you would require different skills to be in these functions.

Customer service agents will require different soft skills and essential software to complete their roles. Customer support agents will need problem-solving skills combined with knowledge of more technical software solutions.

Difference between customer support and customer service

DifferentiatorsCustomer ServiceCustomer Support
SpecificsHelpful, friendly serviceTechnical, in-depth knowledge of product/service
MetricsCustomer satisfaction, response times, first contact resolution, salesSales, customer churn, first call resolution, and operational business metrics
VerticalsAll the verticalsSaaS, eCommerce, IT, and technology products
SkillsSoft skills, friendly nature, good customer-facing skillsSoft skills, problem-solving, ability to learn technical information and find solutions, product expertise
Software knowledgeCustomer support software, emailCRM, customer support, and technical software
ChannelsKnowledge of multiple channels and the ability to make sense of the available informationOne specific channel is sufficient as long as technology and problem-solving skills are there

How Do You Measure Customer Service and Customer Support?

Customer service is measured by CSAT and NPS scores, where customers are surveyed on business services and products.

For instance, questions like:

  • How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the recently purchased product or service?
  • How likely are you to recommend our product or service?
  • How helpful was the customer service rep?

Customers are given a scale to record their answers.

When we talk about customer support, we are talking about handling customers’ technical problems. You’d measure metrics like first response time, first call resolution, and average handling time to understand the success of customer support.

Here, the survey questions can be:

  • Did you manage to get your issues addressed when you contacted the customer support team?
  • Are you happy with the resolution provided by the customer support agent?
  • How knowledgeable was the customer support agent?


While there are differences between customer service and customer support, the end goal is to improve the overall customer experience and deliver exceptional customer outcomes.

It should ideally make your customers loyal and become evangelists of your product or service.

It is essential that organizations adopt a customer-first strategy, no matter how big or small they are.

In essence, work towards helping your customers and growing your business.

Should I be debating customer service vs customer support, or should I be talking about customer success and customer experience?

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About the Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Uthaman believes in the power of creation - it gives him a high to grow something from scratch and make it sustainable. Uthaman is the Executive Vice President and helps set the strategic direction and roadmap for ClearTouch, a pioneering provider of a cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and financial services companies in India.