How does Client Success differ from Customer Service? At first glance, the two seem immensely similar – both in visual naming structure and general definition. 

Client Success and Customer Service are important for different reasons. The two roles actually have different functions within an organization and are essential for revenue retention (and sometimes attainment too). 

Service is NOT Success

The main difference between Client Success and Customer Service has to do with what stage a customer is at in their journey to purchase a product or service. Customer Service refers to helping a patron move along the sales funnel, while Client Success is responsible for nurturing a lifelong relationship with a patron of your business. Customer Service arises mostly in the middle of the sales cycle, while Client Success is only revealed at the end of it.

An example of Customer Service is the person that helps you determine the best fit software or program for managing a new business you’ve started, while Client Success would be the person that helps you get it set up and running to your specifications after you’ve purchased it. Customer Service is the first line of defense and is more often seen in B2C environments like retail, and Client Success in B2B environments like outsourcing agencies, but that is not always the case. 

Read More: The 5 Pillars of Great Client Success

Service IS Success

Client Success and Customer Service, or CS, are rooted in a solution to the same issue. Having an individual responsible for bridging the gap between a business and an organization creates a neutral line of communication and understanding, and the goal of CS is to facilitate mutually beneficial partnerships between an organization and its clientele.

Good CS representatives are curious. They are required to know every facet of the product or service they are helping prospects with in order to be successful at their jobs. They also often act as Project Management and Delivery, making them extremely valuable within a sales organization. 

In-store customer service.

Good Client Success Means More Sales

Between the sale and the product or service delivery, a sort of limbo exists where a customer can fall, never to be seen again. (In my opinion & experience, the size of this gap is positively correlated with the size of the business.) The need for a customer-facing role alleviates dropoff in the sales process by guiding them through and after the sale. CS will be the people that notice and get ahead of any client issues before they become serious, costly problems.

Client Success Team Meeting

Client-facing roles are also not only essential for the initial sales process but also immensely important for nurturing relationships to yield repeat customers or elongated client lifecycles. Revenue protection (and sometimes attainment through upsells) makes CS an extremely important part of an organization’s sales team. 

The signs of a great CS team member are less churn, longer client lifecycles, and more revenue, and both Customer Service and Client Success are well worth the investment.

Read More: The 5 Pillars of Great Client Success

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