In today's competitive world, businesses need to provide their customers with an amazing experience — or risk losing them to a competitor. One essential aspect of this customer experience is customer support. From live chat and cobrowsing calls to online forms and emails, customer support can help businesses deliver better products and services while ensuring that their customers' needs are being met.
These days, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience, making customer support an absolutely essential component of any successful business in the digital age. In this article, we'll discuss everything you need to know about customer support and how it can help your business grow.
What is customer support?
Customer support is a service offered by businesses to provide assistance to their customers.
This includes things like:
- Answering questions
- Resolving technical issues or complaints
- Providing guidance on product usage
- Fixing bugs or other technical issues
- Updating customer information and preferences
Customer support can also be used to help customers understand more about the product, its features, and how to use it.
Customer service vs. customer support
Customer service and customer support are often used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different. Customer service is an umbrella term referring to the practice of providing assistance and assistance-related services to customers before, during, or after a purchase.
On the other hand, customer support is a specific type of customer service tailored toward resolving technical issues related to the product or service being purchased. It usually involves agents with specialized knowledge who can help customers troubleshoot any problems they encounter while using the product or interacting with an organization's digital platform. Learn more about the difference between customer service and customer support here.
Customer success vs. customer support
Customer success team members are proactively building long-term relationships with their clients by helping them understand how their products work and optimizing the services to better suit the customer's needs.
On the other hand, customer support team members are focused on providing instant assistance when an issue or problem arises with a customer's product or service. They provide direct support, as well as develop or modify processes to improve the customer experience. Learn more about the difference between customer success and customer support here.
The four different levels of customer support
When it comes to customer support, businesses can offer four different levels of service.
What is level 0 customer support?
Level 0 customer support is defined as support that is offered before human intervention, which includes chatbots, online knowledge platforms, and help centers.
What is level 1 customer support?
Level 1 customer support refers to lower-level support technicians who offer solutions using the standard operating procedures of the company. This includes things like offering basic product information, setting passwords, and conducting questionnaires.
What is level 2 customer support?
Level two support includes more backend analysis to fix the issue and is often escalated from level one customer support. This includes things like questions relating to billing and refunds, as well as advanced installations and product questions.
What is level 3 customer support?
Level 3 customer support requires expert knowledge to fix the issue. This level usually consists of architects, technical support specialists, and engineers.
You can find more details about all the different levels of customer support in this article.
What are the different customer support roles?
While there are different levels of customer support, there are also different roles within a customer support team. Let's cover the most popular roles below.
What is a customer support representative?
A customer support representative is the first point of contact for customers when they have an inquiry or issue. These representatives respond to customer emails, phone calls, and live chats and provide assistance to help customers with their inquiries.
What is a technical support specialist?
A technical support specialist is a skilled individual who can address difficult customer inquiries. They are knowledgeable about various software and hardware configurations, as well as the company's products and services.
What is a customer support manager?
A customer support manager is responsible for overseeing the customer service team and providing guidance and direction to ensure that customers receive excellent assistance. They also resolve escalated customer issues and develop strategies to improve the customer experience.
What is a chief customer officer?
A chief customer officer (CCO) is responsible for managing all aspects of the customer experience. They are typically part of the executive team and have a deep understanding of the customer base and how to create an exceptional customer experience.
Find more information about all the different types of customer support roles in this article.
Why is customer support important?
The customer support team plays a vital role in the success of any business:
- It helps you retain customers
- It works as an engine for growth
- It reinforces your company value and brand
- It generates referrals
- It decreases customer churn
- It increases the customer's lifetime value
- It encourages you to be proactive
- It gives you a competitive advantage
- It gets everyone on the same page
- It's good for your bottom line and increases NRR
Want to learn more? Read our deep dive into why customer support is so important.
What are some examples of good customer support?
Wonderful customer support teams are all around us. Here are some examples of companies that provide excellent customer service:
- Fullview: Fullview offers exceptional customer service by using video-like recordings of user sessions in their app to quickly identify bugs, errors and user frustration. Once something is noticed by a customer support representative, they proactively get in touch with the customer experiencing issues and offer to resolve them. Fullview also uses cobrowsing sessions for quick problem resolution and an integrated workflow to speed up resolution time, improving feature adoption/onboarding and decrease user churn.
- LicenceOne: LicenceOne uses Fullview Live to cobrowse with their users to improve engagement rates, onboarding and feature adoption. Pre-co-browsing, LicenceOne experienced inefficiencies in their customer support workflow, including directing users with live chat/screenshots and a one-sided screen share process with Google Meet, which created points of friction (leaving the web app) and inefficiency (audible description of where a user should click).
- ChurchDesk: ChurchDesk uses Fullview Live as an integral part of its customer support workflow. The platform helps churches connect and communicate with people, build a website, manage events, and process payments/donations in one go. In the tech-shy church vertical, they use Fullview Live cobrowsing alongside phone calls to show customers new ways of doing things while avoiding overwhelming them with unfamiliar processes.
- Basecamp: Basecamp's customer support takes a proactive approach, dedicating two hours away from the support queue daily for research and creative problem-solving.
- Hive: Hive tackles customer frustration by having a support link on all website pages. This icon not only provides visibility and accessibility but also offers various options for assistance, such as live chat, demo requests, or query searches, making the entire support process easier for customers.
- Slack: Slack encourages customers to navigate their support needs independently through a self-service platform. This includes an intuitive system with an FAQ section, search queries, and auto-suggestion to help customers find their answers quickly and efficiently.
- Wista: Wistia uses video to enhance customer service by providing instructional content and personalization. This includes visual aids for instructions, as well as customized follow-ups, thank-you emails, and instructional videos for each customer.
How to provide good customer support?
Wondering how to provide the best customer service? Here are 12 ways to ensure your customer support team provides the best customer service possible:
- Hire the best people and invest in training
- Make your support team accessible and visible
- Build the best tech stack
- Structure efficiently and build as you scale
- Map every support touchpoint
- Be responsible and available
- Improve communication between product and support teams
- Make use of omnichannel support
- Proactively support users and diagnose issues
- Perfect your self-service portal
- Automate carefully and effectively
- Collect user feedback and measure performance
Want to learn more? Read on for detailed information on how to provide good customer service.
What are some fundamental customer support metrics?
Understanding customer service metrics is essential to successfully manage customer support. Here are some fundamental customer service metrics:
What is CSAT?
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is a metric used to measure customers' overall satisfaction with the service they received from your support team.
What is NPS?
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that measures customer loyalty by asking customers to rate their likelihood of recommending your product or service to other people they know.
What is CES?
CES, or Customer Effort Score, is a metric used to measure the amount of effort customers have to exert in order to solve an issue or complete a task.
What is time-to-resolution?
Time-to-resolution (TTR) is a customer service metric that measures the amount of time it takes for your support team to resolve an issue.
Click to find more information about different CX and support metrics.
What are the most common kinds of customer support software?
If you want to invest in customer support software to help manage customer service more effectively, here are some of the most common types of customer support software:
- Help Desk Software
- Phone Support Software
- Social Monitoring Software
- Shared Inbox Software
- CRM Software
- Knowledge Base Software
- Messaging Tools
- Live Chat Support Software
- Service Desk Software
- Technical Support Software like Fullview
For more information on the most common kinds of customer support software, click here.
Wrapping things up
Customer service is the key to success for any business. To provide customers with the best support experience, companies should leverage the right customer support software and metrics, and invest in their support team by hiring the best people and offering necessary training.