Usually, people perceive these two as same, or almost same positions, approaches, jobs, let’s say it like that. I will show how Customer Support and Customer Success are different from my own perspective and my own experience.
I was lucky.
Let’s start with that statement. I was lucky to work with an amazing team, I was lucky to learn from them, and — not to work in a real call center. Particularly, at my first job, I was in a position called “Retailer support for Spain”. The company had a lot of departments, and one of them was the so-called “B2C department” or what we all know as a call center. The phone was ringing from 7 AM to 10 PM every-single-minute. A new email would appear every-single-minute. And you, a call center agent must endure all that pressure, to answer all those calls, to read and answer all those emails…
I was in that office while having my training — first 10 weeks. Fortunately, those training sessions weren’t in that office, but it was intense. And importantly, we learned a lot and the trainer was great, which I found very important. The most important part is to get to know the product/company that you are working for. And that is one of the most important milestones when Customer Support and Customer Success have something in common. You have to be a good learner. To learn all the days and all the hours.
After 10 weeks of the great training sessions, I was finally ready to seat in the chair and start to answer all those calls and emails. I remember I had two notebooks full of notes and lessons from the training. However, the lucky fairy came and said that I won’t be working in the call center office and that I will be part of the B2B team, or retailer support team. I changed the office in a few minutes. For a bigger one, and quieter one. And with more smiles. People were more relaxed for sure. The job was pretty much the same — same platform, same products, only different kind of clients. And accordingly, different kind of pressure (or no pressure in my case). And then, another part of the training started, this time with the real customers and the real emails. I felt nervous. Of course, but the most important is that I was stable and supported by the team in the office. And more importantly, I was confident with my languages skills (working in three languages sometimes is not easy; in my case Spanish, English, Serbian and software in German) and my knowledge about the product from the training. Then you feel confident and comfortable.
And, the phone rang for the first time.
Numerous phone calls answered and hundreds of emails read and answered. And for me the most important — a huge number of satisfied customers.
Working in a call center or in B2B customer support you don’t have much personal touch with the customer. Besides, it’s forbidden. (*by personal touch I don’t mean meeting in private or exchanging profiles on a social media)
At my first company, I had scenarios I had to follow and everything was pretty much automated. Even emails were already prepared for most of the situations that might occur. Such as the training and getting to know the product is important the same way is important to get to know your clients/customers/shoppers. Their needs are important and should be the most important in deciding the way the company will take since they are the one who should decide because a the end of ballad they are going to buy your product or to use your service.
By the scenario, this is the last question before the farewell. I find it very important since that is the only space where the customer can say what really she/he thinks, feels, want. Usually, the client can rate the service, rate the product or both at the same time on the page of the webshop or through the email. Unfortunately, those methods are very generic and without so much human touch. I found the client’s opinion as very important. Working in the B2B call center you have the opportunity to hear from the same client once or twice in the same month, more often twice in 6 months. There are so many clients, they don’t call so often and there are many customer services agents. Which is totally opposite to the Customer Success/Customer Experience position.
We live in an era of online shopping and online services. Airplane tickets, booking the hotel, buying a book, T-shirt or a caret, and lately food — all these services need someone who will give a piece of advice, offer help, solve a problem. And the robot, AI, or an algorithm cannot always solve the problem. We will always need a real human behind the screen. Of course, with years fewer humans, but again it won’t be possible to offer support completely without a human touch. With 1,000 customer support agents, or wit only 1 customer support master agent who will organize all those robots and AI in the future 🤖 we will always need to listen to the customer and her/his needs and problems. Email, call, video, live chat, doesn’t matter.
The attitude is the most important and the question — whether you are willing to help the customer or not. Whether you are willing to help your company to grow or not. Because you are the bridge between the customer and the company.