When you think of customer service, you might think of call centers and service representatives who answer phone calls, emails, and chats.
And while that is a large component of the industry, it's not the only type of customer service team in an organization. Besides customer support, there are teams in professional services that handle higher-tier customers as well.
Before we dive in, take our short quiz to see which customer service team may be the best fit for you. Then, we'll explore the different types of teams and how they typically function.
[Quiz] Which team is right for you?
Types of Service Teams
- Community Support
- Support Specialists
- Knowledge Base
- Developer Support
- Product Experts
- Self-Service Support
- Customer Onboarding
- Partner Services
- Customer Success
- Professional Services
Customer Support Teams
1. Community Support
In many organizations, the community support team actually lives in the customer service organization, and not the social media team.
You might be wondering, "Why?"
Well, the main reason is that customers reach out on social media platforms to get in touch with customer support.
Community support managers are those support reps that are dedicated to answering social media support questions. This might be a whole team, or just one person, depending on the number of queries your company gets on social media.
The community team will answer customer support messages, comments, and mentions (as long as it's a service query).
2. Support Specialists
This is the support team you think of when you think of customer service. These are the support specialists who are on front-line support.
This team will most likely be the largest team in your service organization. It will usually be made up of lots of teams, with team leads and support specialists.
Support specialists will be responsible for answering phone calls, emails, live chat messages, and sometimes social media messages as well (if there isn't a dedicated community team).
3. Knowledge Base
Lots of customers try to solve issues on their own first, and the first place they go to is your website to see if you have a knowledge base.
In fact, 69% of customers want to resolve as many issues as possible on their own, and 63% of customers always or almost always start with a search on a company's online resources when they have an issue.
This means there's usually a customer service team of technical writers and product experts (we'll get into that below), who write the content that goes on the knowledge base.
This team will keep the knowledge base up-to-date and work with the product team to report on any changes.
4. Developer Support
Depending on the type of product or service you offer, you might have a developer support team.
This is mostly for SaaS (Software as a Service) companies that have developers who need help designing solutions.
For example, if a developer is using your product and needs help with app management or submitting bug reports, this will go to the developer support team.
5. Product Experts
Similar to the developer support team, if you have software as a product then you'll most likely have a product expert team as well.
This team is responsible for answering escalated questions that take in-depth product knowledge.
When a customer support representative doesn't have enough in-depth knowledge on how to work a product, the product expert team will tackle those questions.
6. Self-Service Support
A self-service support team is similar to the knowledge team in that there are technical writers and managers who create content for those looking for self-service support.
This team could write the knowledge base articles if there isn't a specific knowledge team.
However, this team also writes the FAQ content and maybe even User blog posts to help customers work through a specific issue.
Customer Service Teams
When you think of customer service, you probably think of some of the support teams above.
However, if your company offers partner services, professional services, or customer managers, then those teams fall under the 'services' organization.
Let's dive into a few of these teams below.
7. Customer Onboarding
A major way to provide excellent customer service is to help your customers onboard if your product or service needs this.
They'll help customers set up their accounts, and train them on how to use your product or service.
Of course, this won't be necessary for every organization, and sometimes it's only available for customers who purchase a certain plan, but either way, it's a good idea to think about whether this team would be useful for your company.
8. Partner Services
Another product or service that companies offer is becoming a partner. This might mean that marketing agencies sell your software to their clients.
These agencies become partners, and it's important to have dedicated customer support for your partners.
Essentially, partner services will answer any questions for your specific customers who are partners. At HubSpot, we have several partner programs and those customers will reach out to partner services when they have questions.
9. Customer Success
Similar to customer onboarding, you'll probably only have this team available to customers who have purchased a certain plan.
Those customers will have dedicated customer success managers who will be their go-to contact when they have questions.
This means that these customers might not need to call your frontline support because they'll reach out to their contact instead.
In this way, you can provide better customer support for higher-paying customers, and reduce the number of incoming calls for your frontline support reps.
10. Professional Services
On a professional services team, you can have consultants and trainers who are available to teach customers what they need to know.
For example, HubSpot's professional services team offers training, consulting, and technical support so customers can maximize their results with our product.
This is another team that's dedicated to training and providing classroom support for customers who might need it.
There's No One Path to Customer Service
Customer service doesn't only encapsulate frontline support reps.
The department also houses customer success managers, trainers, customer onboarding specialists, self-service support, and even social media support.
When deciding which type of team you'd like to be a part of, it's important to consider how you want to help customers and decide which team will help you achieve just that.