The Difference Between Customer Service & Customer Success

Customer Experience is a hot topic as we approach 2015. The organizations that are delighting customers have moved past “Customer Service” and redefined it as “Customer Success?” Shouldn’t that be the objective: success?

Serving customers doesn’t mean that there is a person answering phones in a call center, or an email address provided for customers to send messages. When a customer reaches out to ask a question, give a comment or complaint, they are giving that organization a chance to resolve an issue and make that interaction a success. When customers can communicate by their preferred method, get a timely response, and reach a resolution, that is a customer success.

When thinking about companies that are setting themselves apart, these are four things that they’re probably doing:

  1. Customer alignment starts high and runs deep. The behaviors of executives support customer focus in high performance organizations, and the practice is drilled down to include the behaviors of middle managers, too.
  2. Customer satisfaction is good, but customer advocacy is better. Satisfaction is the global standard for measuring customer focus, but high-performers recognize that active, engaged customers are the gold standard.
  3. Customer focus is data driven. In the age of big data and evidence-based business activity, high performance organizations use customer insights to shape products, services, and strategy.
  4. Technologies enable customer connections. From CRM software to social media, high-performers leverage high tech to achieve high touch with customers worldwide.

Building customer-focus to create a competitive advantage depends on four factors:

  • Ensuring customer-focused behaviors at all levels throughout the organization.
  • Measuring customer satisfaction is good, but customer engagement is better.
  • Using customer insights to shape products, services and strategy.
  • Leveraging technologies—from CRM to social media—can help achieve high-touch.

Serving customers means much more today than it did ten years ago and the organizations that are turning service into success, are the ones winning.


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