up one level

The Huge Difference Between Software Customer Support vs. Professional Services Software Customer Support

Doing more support on "WordPress.org/support" public forums.

It's really starting to hit me. Again.

The *huge* difference between "Software Customer Support" and "Professional Services Software Customer Support".

The former is when the support agent advises, or consults with, the customer on how the customer should use or administer the customer's software solution. This is a consultative role. The support agent should not do any work or perform any service for the customer, but should guide, advise, and serve as consultant, while the client (/customer) does the work of using, adminstering, and configuring the software solution.

The latter is when the support agent (or technician/engineer) performs service work for the client (/customer). This is a service role. The support technician does the work of using, administering, or configuring the software solution for the customer. Usually there is some kind of written agreement, like a project plan, describing the scope of work before the work starts.

What can confuse these two? In a small company like a startup, to save costs, the same person may do both roles. Heck, the same person may do all roles if it is a one-person startup. But even in a multi-person startup, if it's a small company, all of the following roles may still fall on one person: CTO, Developer, Professional Services Support Engineer, Software Customer Support Agent, and more.

However, no matter whether one person is doing both roles or whether one person does one role, it's an important distinction to make. Why? Because, in my experience, the moment the task goes from consultative to service is the moment when it goes from not being work to being work. In other words, that switch-over coincides with a *huge* shift -- it makes a huge difference in terms of effort, time, and cost.

In conclusion, there is a *huge* difference between "Software Customer Support" and "Professional Services Software Customer Support".

Note: this blog post is dedicated to week 4 of the supportdriven.slack.com 2016 6-week writing challenge. (more details here: "Stretch your Typing Fingers – Support Driven 6 Week Writing Challenge" ( https://supportdriven.com/...6-week-writing-challenge )) Join our community, here: https://supportdriven.com/support-driven-chat/

Tags: #challenge, #working

Note: This post was pre-published on November 18, 2016.

[2019 edit: Moved to: https://investorworker.com/2016/... .html.]