The Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Support


Customer Service and Customer Support. Everyone knows these terms, but what is the difference between them? In everyday life, you probably don’t notice any difference. Both, at first glance, seem similar. Customer Service and Customer Support, both involve helping customers, using similar tools, like chat or tickets. They are critical to the customer experience delivered by businesses. However, there is a difference between them. Let’s take a closer look.

What is Customer Service?

It’s a term for all interactions that enhance customer experience and help improve their relationship with the company. Customer Service is the advice that a business gives to its customers during or after a purchase. Customer Service also happens, even though that person is not even a customer yet. It focuses on efficient, helpful customer transactions.

What is Customer Support?

Customer Support is a specific type of Customer Service. It includes providing product feedback, technical problem solving, troubleshooting, finding answers, and perhaps even new creative solutions. The Customer Support team are people who provide help when customers have trouble with a company’s products or services.

Do all businesses provide Customer Service and Customer Support?

Almost any business provides Customer Service, but not all need to offer Customer Support.  What is the best example? It’s a restaurant. The basic difference is that: Customer Service teams provide service to a customer, while Customer Support teams support a product.

What does it look like in practice?

Consider a customer who walks into a retail store looking for a small size shirt. A Customer Service team member will:

  • Help you locate the shirt.
  • Lead you to the checkout.
  • Pack the shirt for you.

Customer Service is more proactive than Customer Support. They might try to upsell by suggesting a sweater that goes nicely with the shirt. The customer has everything he wants, but there’s no other feedback or information that goes into the experience. 

By comparison, consider a customer who emails Dropbox about an issue they have sharing a file with colleagues. The Customer Support agent will:

  • Guide the customer to the documentation they wrote and walk them through the appropriate steps.
  • Categorize the conversation with the client to give proper feedback to the product team about the share feature.
  • Start an internal company conversation about improving the sharing feature.
  • Follow up with the customer about their experience.

The Customer Support agent’s role is more about improving the customer experience. It’s about being there for customers, whenever they need it, whatever they need help with. Speed is key, and customers are expecting support to resolve their issues right away. The interaction is initiated and ended by the client.

Customer Support professionals use Customer Service skills, but that’s only one part of their job. Customer Support also includes writing knowledge base documentation, providing product feedback, and conducting usability studies.

A Customer Support team can fix a technical issue in the short term. In theory there’s nothing wrong with that. However, by doing it while practicing amazing Customer Service skills, helps build relationships and establish true partnerships in the long term.

And that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve every single day, here at PeepSo. What was your best / worst Customer Service / support experience? Perhaps you have some comments or feedback regarding ours? Please do let me know in the comments below. As always, I’m here to help.

Brought to you by PeepSo Team Chris Jaworski
My very first contact with computers and programming was in the 1980s, while getting my Masters of Engineering degree. Despite the fact that most of my past professional experience was more “analog engineering”, I find the skills obtained there (analytical thinking, problem solving, general understanding of technology) very useful in the digital era.

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