There’s much talk these days about how commercially vital it is to offer your customers the best possible experience in all their dealings with you.
Improving customer interaction can provide a substantial competitive edge. Organisations who invest in the right systems and skills can even handle complaints and problems with greater success than their rivals.
As so much hinges on providing positive sales experiences, knowing the difference between customer service and customer support can help you to create effective strategies.
The two terms are often used in an interchangeable way. Even a Google search on one will result in a muddle of information that shows how unclear the deferential sometimes is.
What is customer service?
The best starting point is looking at customer service. As you would expect, this is a complex and multifaceted business function, entirely specific to your organisation and its target market.
It’s the term that covers all marketing and sales interaction with customers. It includes everything from processing online orders to answering emails and phone calls, and supporting Live Chat on your website.
To some degree, the more mundane aspects can be handed over to chatbots – AI technology that provides a conversational response. This can gather simple instructions and information from customers, such as straightforward orders.
This part of customer service is where the human touch is vital.
Customer support can sit alongside your general customer service system, such as call centre services. However, it needs to be specifically organised and resourced, to ensure that your customers have a positive experience with your products or services.
For example, it could be a technical or advice helpline, to add value to the products you sell. Or, customer support could provide an opportunity for consumers to discuss their requirement, to make a better informed decision about which of your products to buy.
Customer support is also a clear point of contact for complaints and queries about problems.
This is one of the reasons differentiating customer support from your general customer service is so important. You need a system in place to funnel complaints or issues through to the right person seamlessly.
This filtering and control ensures customer problems can be rectified swiftly. The customer then feels they have received a professional and effective response, and the problem doesn’t escalate.
And you don’t have a disenfranchised customer on your hands!
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