When two hands come together in applause, there’s no mistaking the sound. Loud. Joyful. Appreciative. When you take one of those hands away? Silence. Confusion. Awkwardness.
The same is true in customer service. To provide truly exceptional service in a B2B tech business, you need two hands: customer success and customer support.
Together, these two teams have the power to deliver streamlined service—from pre-purchase to active use to after care. Apart, they can alienate customers by confusing them, requiring them to repeat themselves, and making it hard to complete a transaction or solve a problem. (And don’t get us started on team member frustrations.)
We’ll show you how the 3 Cs can connect customer success and support to provide a thorough, fast, and responsive customer experience.
Clarity: What’s the difference between success and support?
The scope of the work they do may differ across technology companies, but, in general, both success teams and support teams fall under the customer service umbrella.
Customer success is a proactive team that anticipates and identifies customer needs and works to fulfill them. This might mean recommending new product features to developers, educating customers on how they can best use the technology to reach their potential, analyzing the customer lifecycle and pointing out common challenges, and building relationships with customers to understand their needs and propose strategies to help them meet their goals.
In contrast, customer support is all about helping customers resolve problems they have with your product. They are the trouble-shooters, fixers, and sympathetic ears that have solutions. This often involves advising customers on how to overcome a technology glitch, going into a customer’s account and making any necessary adjustments, providing self-service guides so customers can manage any issues on their own, and documenting common problems so developers can improve the product.
It's important to clarify what each team is responsible for so that it’s easy to route individual situations to the right place – and also to ensure that individual team members understand the unique responsibilities associated with their portfolio.
Communication: Make sure everyone is on the same page
When it comes to delivering customer service, the last thing you want is a failure to communicate. And while customer communication is key, it starts with developing a culture of communication on the inside.
Many companies find it helpful to develop a playbook that articulates your company’s customer service ecosystem. This would include the responsibilities of the customer success and customer support teams and the individual roles of the team members within them. When everyone is crystal clear on the overall aims of customer service and how each team and position contribute to it, each person can take clear ownership of the work they do.
Clear communication also helps improve colleague relationships and productivity and increases the potential for innovation. And since the success and support teams are so closely intertwined in their mission (to make customers happy!), it’s useful to have regular communication channels to update each other on what’s happening. These can take the form of:
A dedicated Slack channel
Email blasts to share wins and challenges
Regular “think tanks” to share learnings and brainstorm
A monthly newsletter
Creating a clear line of communication between success and support will reinforce the truth: that these two teams work better together.
Collaboration: Establish workflows that keep employees and customers happy
The final C is all about making sure you’ve got a clear and efficient way for your success and support teams to collaborate. That means everyone is focused on the same outcome and are open to sharing information to help meet those goals.
For example, if a customer success team member is working with a client who has special needs that will probably require the help of a support colleague in the future, there should be a mechanism to channel that insight through to the support team. On the flip side, that channel should empower support to send intel back the other way. For example, if the support team is seeing a rash of the same type of issues, the success team should know about it so they can better manage customer expectations from the outset.
This is where the right collaboration tools and workflows can make all the difference. A collaborative tiered customer support model not only allows the support team to address their customer’s concerns, it also lends itself to keeping the success team in the loop and vice versa. It’s what we use here at Front to make sure everyone is on the same page. That includes:
Connected communication channels like email, SMS, social media, and chat
Shared inboxes (no fwds and CCs around here!)
Automatically routed incoming messages
Actionable analytics so we all know what’s working and what’s not
When the customer success and support teams have a clear line of sight to the successes and challenges that each is managing every day, they can find synergies and efficiencies that make life better for team members and customers alike.
Working together, they can share insights about their customers, the product, and the customer lifecycle. The success team can use support’s knowledge to:
Understand typical challenges down the road and provide the right information to customers at the right time to help avoid them
Fine-tune customer education in the form of guides, nurture emails, help center articles, and onboarding training
Create customer journeys that help them adopt features at ideal cadences
The support team can use success’s knowledge to:
Understand the pain points of the customers before they adopt the technology
Be aware of the customer’s journey before they come to support with an issue
Build on the relationship that the success team has formed and nurtured
Just like two hands that come together to create amazing things, your success and support teams have the potential to be your customer service tour de force. With clarity, communication, and collaboration, they will find their way.
Written by Logan Davis