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Customer Service vs. Customer Support: How Are They Different

Help Desk Manager, ScienceSoft

3 min read

Editor’s note: Veranika explains the difference between commonly confused customer service and customer support. If you are interested in handing over the burden of your user and solution support, you are welcome to consider outsourcing IT help desk to ScienceSoft.

The terms of customer service and customer support are often used interchangeably as they have a lot in common. Customer service and customer support both cover interactions between customers and a company aimed at providing necessary customer assistance. Both directly influence customers’ satisfaction with your brand, thus allowing you to grow your base of loyal customers. Still, these notions differ. Read on to learn the differences between the two for you to be able to provide outstanding customer help.

Differences between customer service and customer support

Criteria to distinguish between customer support and customer service


Customer service is an umbrella term involving all interactions with customers during the purchasing process and after. We at ScienceSoft specify the notion and consider customer service an entry point for customers having questions or problems with a company’s product or service. Customer service aims to answer clients’ general questions on service/product use and help solve quite simple issues, for example, login problems with a software product.

Customer support covers the assistance with all kinds of issues – from simple information requests to addressing in-depth technical problems, like, installing, maintaining, upgrading software or training users.

The nature of interaction with customers

Customer service usually presupposes one-time interactions with customers, because, as a rule, customer service deals with simple issues that can be resolved quite quickly. This, however, doesn’t mean the quality of your customer service has nothing to do with building long and trusted relations with your clients. Even one negative experience with customer service can make a client leave and never return.

Customer support, for its part, involves continuous help. Tackling some issues customer support deals with, say, training users or installing software, takes time and requires a closer interaction with customers.

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Team’s skills

The above-mentioned differences between customer service and customer support in many ways define key requirements to the respective employees.

Customer service agents are not required to have a deep understanding of the technical side of a product or a service, so soft skills are more important for them than hard skills. Customer service agents need to be empathetic, patient, and good at listening to make the customers feel heard and appreciated.

Customer support teams should be aware of every detail of a product or a service to be ready to respond to customers’ specific technical issues and quickly come up with a solution to even the trickiest problems. Nonetheless, customer support agents should also possess solid soft skills, as even profound technical expertise of your agents won’t retain your clients if they feel disrespected or neglected during communication.

Clear understanding for better customer experience

A deeper understanding of customer service and customer support core differences and their roles in your business may help you invest in both of them more effectively and, therefore, boost customers’ satisfaction with your brand. And if you need assistance in establishing a structured help desk for efficiently solving your clients’ issues of various complexity, let us know.

With 16 years in application support, we offer multi-tiered IT support for your enterprise applications or your software products and their users with minimum involvement from your side.