Oracle is currently in the midst of celebrating Customer Service Week. As a member of the Oracle Service Cloud Technical Support Team that for years was referred to as Customer Care, it brings some interesting questions to mind. What is the difference between Customer Service, Technical Support and Customer Care? If we used to be Customer Care and are now Technical Support, has our focus changed? I think Customer Service Week is the perfect time to discuss how our team approaches these question.
For me, the real root of these questions lies within the concept of customer experience. Customer experience as defined in Forbes in 2014 is “the cumulative impact of multiple [interactions] over time, which result in a real relationship feeling, or lack of it.” In a very basic sense, Customer Experience is the perception of your organization a customer develops over the entire course of the relationship. By understanding this, it’s easy to see that customer interactions with any kind of support team make up a small, but critical piece of the overall customer experience. How critical? In 2014, Parature found that 65% of 1,000 consumers surveyed said they’ve cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience. It’s readily apparent that customer service and technical support, no matter how they’re defined, fall under the all-encompassing umbrella of customer experience.
Terms like technical support, customer service and even customer care are largely subjective and most every organization attaches subtly nuanced definitions to each of these. For technically oriented organizations such as ours, often times the understanding comes down to this: A technical support team is comprised of people well-versed in a product, giving them the ability to provide in-depth troubleshooting and guidance while a customer service team is the customer-facing representation of a company embodying the soft-skills necessary to disarm conflict and address non-technical problems. Often times the implication is that these are not only mutually exclusive, but actually diametrically opposed skill sets. When it comes to the Oracle Service Cloud philosophy of providing technical support we couldn’t disagree more with these labels and their segregation. We believe that the ultimate customer experience with a support organization is found at the intersection of technical support and customer service: when a support engineer is technically proficient enough to effectively troubleshoot an issue and does it in a polite, engaging and empathetic manner.
Technical Support and Customer Service are competences that we believe work hand in hand to form exceptional customer experiences. Although it can be challenging at times, we seek out and hire individuals who possess the unique skills necessary to allow them to seamlessly blend exceptional technical aptitude with personable customer interactions. As Customer Service Week comes to an end, I believe that it’s appropriate for Oracle, our customers and our partners to take a moment to recognize these exceptionally talented individuals who strive every day to do the difficult job of delivering on the Oracle customer experience promise by combining great technical support with excellent customer service.
We may no longer refer to ourselves as Customer Care, but we sure do still put caring for our customers at the forefront.
Please let me know below how you or your organization view the concept of technical support vs customer service by commenting below.
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