Customer Success vs. Customer Service. What is the Difference?

Customer Success vs. Customer Service. What is the Difference?

How well does the differences between Customer Success vs. Customer Service flair? Do they have their own share of dissimilarities or are they all the same?


Often, people see confusion when it comes to customer success vs. customer service. This has also become a subject of discussion at times in the CS niche. While both are similar in some ways, they differ drastically in many other. Although both are critically vital to the success of a business and help deliver a world-class experience to the customers. Here, in this blog, we will look at their differences with a magnifying lens. Let us begin.

Table of Contents

  1. War of Definitions
  2. Orientation in Transactions
  3. Recruitment Aspect
  4. Longevity
  5. ROI
  6. Objectives – Value vs Satisfaction
  7. Mutual Collaborations

Before we delve into the differences textually, let us sneak a peek into the differences in form of an infographic. This will wrap the dissimilarities in a nutshell, which will be easier for you to remember.

Customer Success vs. Customer Service

War of Definitions

Customer Success: It is the subtle art of foreseeing the pain points and challenges of a customer and helping them out with requisite answers and solutions. It zeroes into customer loyalty and customer retention. It strives to help customers meet and surpass their given goals and facilitate the necessary implementation of products and services.

It is basically about the trust that your customers get to achieve their expected results through the interactions with your platform. This includes a broader scape including onboarding, training, and maximizing facets that provide the highest Return on Investment (ROI). This is how you help your customers reach their targets in the given timeframe.

Customer Service: It is rather a broader segment focusing on customer support and strives to overcome an issue, which the customer was facing previously. 

Also, it includes finding better ways to deal with the trouble. With a firm belief that customer is superior and is always right, the facet tends to do everything which is in favour of the customers.

Orientations in Transaction

While customer success is more seamless and does not really have an endpoint. It is rather non-conventional, evolving, and continually works on smoothening the existing relationships to gel up with the customers. 

On the other hand, customer service is rather transactional in nature. They begin when a customer seeks assistance regarding anything particular and ends with a solution given to them. Basically, they have a starting and an endpoint which was not the case in customer success.

Recruitment Aspect

When it comes to the zone of recruitment, the industry of customer success is relatively new, being a decade old. Given its new entry to the business world, the niche is still exploring to find out the exact depth and dimensions to hire and implement the best objectives in this field.

Whereas, customer service as a field has a massive experience of over two decades or so. Therefore, the best practices with respect to hiring and recruitment are well-established and have aged well with the course of time.


Customer success looks at the entire lifecycle of a customer and stays connected with them at each stage. They curb out the common bottlenecks and help them reach their desired targets. As they stay around with the customer throughout their journey, their longevity is way longer as compared to customer service.

However, the customer service organizations stick to their view on instant usage, technical or personal issues, resolve the customer’s concerns as soon as possible and prevent follow-ups.

Return on Investment or ROI

Customer service is deemed as a standard cost which is much needed for normal business operations. When the customer service team does not function properly, it will see a stiff decline in some of the areas such as retention rate, referrals and customer ratings, etc. On that note, the costs linked with these issues are easily measurable and are understood by the other departments in the company.

Whereas, customer success is a relatively lesser understood initiative. The other departments push hard to those involved to provide them with defined returns on efforts and investments. Instead, it is calculated by the velocity and volume of referrals, reputation, increase in upsells, cross-sells, and retention rates.

Objectives – Value vs. Satisfaction

The Customer Success team aims to maximize value to the company by helping the customer achieve their respective target. Their performance is mainly based out of the customer outcomes.

On the other hand, customer service strives towards satisfaction, which is their sole baseline. Satisfying a customer is their prime motive to achieve.

Mutual Collaboration

One can say that customer success needs to have a cross-team collaboration which is again fully integrated so that it looks at the customer from a holistic point.

On contradiction, customer service can provide information on how to lessen the grievances seen by a customer. Further, it rarely involves any contact with the other departments in any given company or organization

Final Take

In spite of the aforementioned differences, both these terms are critically important to run a valuable business. When they work together, they help a business grow, improve and retain customer relations in a company. In turn, this translates into an enhanced success and revenue generation of the company.

Having said that, both the separate departments have their respective mission and goals, and both of them should have the independence to work separately yet together in harmony. Irony, isn’t it?

By keeping both the teams on the same page and in the loop of each other’s prerogatives, you can actually get better leverage and outcomes from it. This gives rise to a greater impact on your subscriber base as well.

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