I ran across a great customer service article by Help Scout. If you’re a professional in a larger company, they’re good concepts to organize your customer service resources around.
If you’re a smaller business, where the owner and employees wear multiple customer-facing hats, it’s important to understand the customer service/customer support difference and that employees can respond to each appropriately. Doing so can help build your online reputation and create positive word of mouth.
Here’s an excerpt from the article.
Customer Service and Customer Support
Understanding the difference between customer service and customer support can be a challenge.
At first glance, customer service and customer support seem similar. Both fields involve helping customers. They use similar tools like email, chat and phone to communicate. They employ similar skills like active listening and empathy to increase customer satisfaction. Both customer service and customer support teams are critical to the customer experience delivered by businesses.
While both focus on helping customers, the difference between customer service and customer support is that customer support is a specific type of customer service involving other skills such as documentation, product feedback, and technical problem solving.
The terms aren’t interchangeable, due to the specific differences between customer support and customer service roles. They overlap, but they approach helping customers solve problems from different perspectives.
Ultimately, customer support professionals employ customer service skills alongside other tools and skills to provide added value to a product or service. Customer service is the umbrella, while customer support describes a more specific practice underneath it.
But Customer Service Skills are Equally Important
I am 100% in agreement with this Help Scout article.
But be careful. Focusing too much on the internal role and department distinctions is not at all useful to customers.
Similarly, the quest for getting and displaying online 5-star reviews often overshadows the importance of improving the underlying fundamentals of customer service (yes, we who build reputation management systems for clients just said that!).
The truth is that there has to be an underlying foundation of customer service skills in every business that wants to be around for the long term. It’s just as important as understanding the difference between customer service and customer support. And it will make 5-star reviews much easier to obtain. Hiring people and training them in customer service skills is the first step.
Our experience is that these customer service skills are the most important:
- Dedication and willingness to creating the best in customer, client, or patient experience
- Valuing the customer as the lifeblood of the business
- Empathy and respect for the customer, client, or patient issues
- Detailed knowledge of products and services
- Understanding of the competitive environment
- A professional, yet warm and positive attitude
- Good written and verbal communication skills
Remember, people buy from people they like and trust. So, it’s not all about the x’s and o’s of the organization and its policies. It’s about making every customer feel special.
Hire people who understand the importance of customer service skills, and who show a willingness to further develop them, and watch your online star review ratings rise.
Photo By Office of Governor Baker