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Customer Care vs. Customer Success: What’s the Difference?

Celebrating Success

By: Greg Eash, COO, equivant Corrections

Customer care and customer success are two distinct but interconnected concepts that play critical roles in managing and enhancing the customer experience. While both are centered around customer satisfaction, they focus on different aspects of the customer’s lifecycle.


Customer care is a broader term that encompasses all interactions and touchpoints between a business and its customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle. It is primarily reactive and involves addressing customer inquiries, concerns, and issues as they arise. The primary goal of customer care is to ensure that customers receive timely and effective support when they encounter problems or have questions about a product or service. The defining factors of customer care include:


  • Support and Issue Resolution – customer care teams are responsible for handling customer inquiries and resolving issues. This includes providing technical support, troubleshooting problems, and addressing concerns related to products or services.
  • Communication and Accessibility – businesses must be easily accessible to customers through various channels, such as phone, email, live chat, and social media, to address their needs promptly.
  • Problem Solving – Customer care focuses on solving immediate problems. It involves empathetic listening, quick response times, and efficient solutions to ensure that customers’ concerns are resolved to their satisfaction.
  • Reactive Nature – Customer care tends to be reactive, responding to customer issues as they arise. The focus is on providing solutions in real-time rather than proactively anticipating and preventing problems.


Customer Success, on the other hand, encompasses a proactive, strategic approach aimed at ensuring customers derive ongoing value from a product or service. It goes beyond addressing immediate concerns and focuses on building long-term relationships by helping customers achieve their desired, long-term outcomes. The defining factors of customer success include:


  • Education and Onboarding – Customer success teams provide guidance during the onboarding process, ensuring that customers understand how to use the product effectively. They may offer training sessions, tutorials, and educational resources to empower customers.
  • Customer Advocacy – Customer success aims to turn customers into advocates by ensuring they have a positive and successful experience. Satisfied customers are more likely to renew subscriptions, make repeat purchases, and recommend the product or service to others.
  • Data-Driven Insights – Customer success relies on data and analytics to understand customer behavior, measure product usage, and identify opportunities for improvement. This data-driven approach allows businesses to proactively address potential issues and optimize the customer experience.
  • Proactive Nature– Customer success involves understanding customers’ goals and actively working with them—side by side— to achieve success. It’s about guiding customers toward getting the maximum value from the product or service and is proactive vs. reactive in nature.


Why Both Are Needed 

Unlike customer care, customer success is proactive in anticipating customer needs and providing value before customers encounter problems; it is relational as opposed to transactional and involves continuous engagement to ensure that customers achieve their goals and objectives.

While customer care is reactive and primarily focused on issue resolution, customer success is proactive and strategic, aiming to foster long-term customer satisfaction by helping customers achieve success with the product or service. At equivant, we understand that both customer care and customer success are integral parts of a comprehensive customer experience strategy. Customer care is not enough in today’s marketplace and customer success cannot be achieved without a solid customer care commitment in place. As software and technology vendors across the nation struggle to marry the benefits of both customer care and customer success, equivant prioritizes this necessary union. For more information about equivant’s commitment to a strategic, comprehensive customer experience, please contact us.

equivant Corrections Insights