The difference between Customer Support and Customer Success is crucial. Customer Support aims to help a company that has acquired a production tool, software or service to overcome operating or usage problems. It is reactive and measurable (number of cases, average resolution time). It is a cost centre that requires functional and technical mastery of the product sold.


Customer Success has by nature a different mission, namely to ensure that the use of the product or service by the customer corresponds to the initial expectations expressed during the sales cycle, demonstrates a quantifiable and measurable value. It is proactive and aims to build customer loyalty with the objective of increasing sales (upsell and cross-sell) over time rather than suffering an erosion that could be accelerated by a competitor.

Customer Success is usually the concerted action of several departments (sales, support, service, product). With this in mind, some companies have set up teams dedicated to helping the customer maximise the value of what they have already purchased . If the Customer Success function is an investment, it is also an opportunity to reinforce an expert positioning and to become a de facto partner when new developments are envisaged. From a purely commercial point of view, it is sometimes a means of avoiding formal calls for tenders or influencing them by taking advantage of unequalled knowledge of the customer’s business, operating methods and technical environment.

Finally, the function of Customer Success is to be the ambassador, often at the executive level, of the salesperson or service provider.


The objective is therefore to solidify a position where the customer’s attachment to his supplier gives the latter a truly strategic position in the execution of a key function. Being strategic means the sustainability of the action in progress, sharing longer-term objectives and the possibility of being part of them.

This notion of partnership can also become a commercial tool of unparalleled value by enabling sales representatives to use the customer as a positive reference or even implicitly transform him into a salesperson through direct or indirect actions (e.g. case studies). This brings us back to the notion of Net Promoter, the ability of a customer to take an active part in an exogenous commercial process.


However, the notion of Customer Success remains different from that of Account Manager and must be identified as such by the customer. The role of the Account Manager is to take part in a purely commercial approach during a renewal or an extension of the scope of consolidation, for example. Customer Success is focused on the customer, on his needs. Making them part of a commercial process in the strict sense of the word would risk undermining their credibility. However, it is the knowledge of the customer, his needs and ambitions that will be decisive assets in helping the account manager to achieve the sales objectives set. The information collected by the Customer Success can play a key role and enable the Account Manager to make a proposal that is perfectly aligned with the expectations expressed or even to suggest a solution that takes into account those that would not be.


The Customer Success function is more and more present within companies whose remuneration method is based on subscription (e.g. Saas) and/or in the context of selling solutions that help customers to fulfil critical missions.

That said, while 70% of growing companies consider this function to be very important, a recent Gartner study shows that Customer Success is a priority for only 15% of the CEOs surveyed. There is a clear margin for this function, which, while not very resource-intensive, can make a clear difference at a time when distance creates a need for proximity between customers and suppliers.


This article can be found on LinkedIn: