Why it’s a mistake to separate Customer Support from Customer Success

This is a good post from Vitally. While I don’t agree with everything they say here (Support and Success are certainly different functions), this part struck home for me:

Customer Success should handle support during your hyper-growth phase because the more interactions your growing CS team has with customers, the more they’ll learn. Why not keep them plugged into a valuable source of customer insight, i.e. Support requests.

Your Head of Customer Success is writing the book on how Success is done at your evolving business. New products and new customers mean new use cases and playbooks. Customer Support requests provide a peek behind the curtain of the organizations using your product. Those insights will guide your Head of CS as they create the processes their team will follow for years to come.

Support requests are also an irreplaceable source of training for your CSMs. Every time a CSM answers a support query, they learn something about the barriers customers face in getting value from your product. They can then take those learnings and proactively knock down those same barriers for other customers. Example: If a customer calls in because they can’t figure out how to set up an integration, your Customer Success Manager will know to proactively educate future customers on that step before it’s a problem.

Customer Support Agents are paid for speed, not for recognizing trends and empowering customers to get the most value out of your product over the long haul. Leave your Customer Success team in charge of Support so the insights that come from those interactions don’t get lost at the end of the call.

Jamie Davidson, CEO @ Vitally

I’m a firm believer that any employee, at any company, can benefit from spending time in a Support role. The wide exposure to customers and their common problems is really important.

On our own Customer Success team, two of us transitioned from a Support background. That experience has been invaluable to our success so far. All of our new Customer Success Specialists also spend a few weeks going through Linode’s excellent Support training program before being onboarded.

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