fbpx

247 Call Center

Customer Service vs. Technical Support

Customer Service vs. Technical Support: What’s The Difference?

Customer service and technical support seem similar enough, but just how similar are they really? The answer isn’t entirely straightforward. Although they are both vital parts of a company’s support structure, they are very different in their senses and equally important. Let’s first explain what exactly we’re dealing with, how they synergize, key differences,  and why they’re so important to begin with.  

Defining Customer Service

Customer service is, first and foremost, a general help system that businesses implement for their customers. Customer service is a way for customers to seek help, receive complaints, and/or advice about everything related to a business or a product, including site navigation, error handling, calls, payment issues, and more. Consider customer service as the first line of defense, addressing a broad range of customer inquiries and concerns. Customer service as a branch consists of in-house or outsourced customer service representatives who are trained to provide a positive customer experience and offer advice or assistance regarding products and services that a customer may require help with but do not have the more focused and technical knowledge that technical support may have. Tasks that usually require a customer support agent are as follows.  

Information regarding products and services

Customer service departments can usually provide only basic information regarding products and services, and explain products or services plainly. For more context, if you’re looking to purchase a phone and want information regarding the best phone for you, the colors available, and storage options, a customer service representative can help.  However, if you’ve already bought the phone and are having trouble with, for example, a specific camera issue with your phone, then that is technical support territory, and a customer service representative must escalate that issue to a technical support representative instead.  

Payment handling and ordering processes

A customer service department may be able to help customers with basic payment issues that require minimal intervention, such as orders, refunds, returns, etc. Customer service departments usually have extra training regarding payment handling and can delegate trickier payment issues or potential fraud payments to the payment department when necessary.  

Feedback gathering and addressing complaints

Customer service teams address feedback on behalf of the company they represent. They are key in identifying customer pain points and relaying this information to other departments for improvement. Usually, after a customer has forwarded a complaint, it undergoes the internal CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. It is assessed based on its severity and impact on the business or company, then addressed properly by a team.  

De-escalating experts

Emotional intelligence and calmness are typical customer service representative traits. Representatives are expected to know how to deal with problematic customers and how to de-intensify a conversation to avoid tension.  They are also trained to always apologize, regardless of their fault. A heated customer may damage the company’s reputation by telling their friends  and family about their experiences with the company, even if a customer is right.  

Defining Technical Support

Customer service technical support is a more focused help system for businesses that provides more specific technical help to their customers’ problems.  Technical support teams are usually more detailed in their explanations and entirely more focused on fixes than general customer service teams. This branch consists of technical support representatives who are trained to provide a solution for bugs or issues that a consumer might encounter while using their services or products. A technical support specialist must have in-depth knowledge of a company’s products or services and exceptional analytical and problem solving skills. Here are some of the tasks and attributes that a technical support department may need to have:  

Technical knowledge to solve complex technical problems

Technical customer service deals with complicated issues that require more attention. This, in turn, requires more extensive training and knowledge of the more complex programs and systems within the company. For example, If a client cannot access your website and it isn’t a simple browser cache issue but rather a geolocation IP block issue, then technical support steps in for the customer support representative and starts a different technical process to resolve the issue.  

Communication is important for technical support

Both customer service and technical support need excellent communication skills. Technical support must be able to translate complex technical jargon into understandable sentences so that the average user can understand what they need to provide to solve their issue correctly.  

Analytical and problem-solving skills

Technical support members have strong analytical and problem-solving skills to tackle hard issues properly through logical deduction and in-depth analysis of issues that arise within a company. Unlike customer support teams, they may also be able to fix issues at their core and ensure they do not happen again.  

Troubleshooting and teaching

Undergoing a troubleshooting process with a client is a skill in itself. Customers may not be tech-savvy, so a technical support representative needs to be able to explain the solution on more than just the company’s platform to solve an issue. A technical support representative can also teach a customer to solve something independently. An educational approach is always a good approach for customers, as it plants a seed of trust and loyalty in them and makes them self-sufficient.  

How the Two Synergize

Now that we know the difference between customer service vs technical support, you understand that both are distinct roles within a company; they synergize in tandem to achieve the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction and retention. Here are a few examples.  

They work together for a shared purpose

Both departments’ purpose is ultimately customer satisfaction. A customer support team can redirect issues as needed to their technical support team by determining whether or not a customer’s problem is technical, ensuring synergy between departments that helps them and the company reach their respective goals.   

A United Effort for Results

When both departments are successful and united, their impact goes beyond the customer. A sense of collaboration grows into a successful and efficient work environment for all employees in a company.  

Internal communication is improved

When support teams can delegate issues and communicate properly, it opens the path for clear and consistent communication. As a result, the workflow is distributed accordingly among employees, and departments feel like they’re working together on the same page.  

Summary

In essence, customer support and technical support teams are complementary forces that work together to improve customer experience and foster a collaborative culture within the company.  Both departments have similar skill sets but differ in key areas that make them unique to each other, as mentioned above, and both have an immense impact on the day-to-day environment of companies.