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Customer Success vs Customer Support: personality differences

Jun 05, 2024
11 min read

There’s a broken newbie (amateur) notion that “customer success” and “customer support” are similar. No way – and our research at Gyfted based on our own data highlights key trait differences between people in customer success and customer support. It matters, because having the right personality in customer-facing roles like customer success and customer support has an impact on client experiences and one’s success in these roles. It matters also for personal fulfillment and individual person-job alignment.

Customer Success vs Customer Support are not the same job!

Customer Success Managers (CSMs) and Customer Support Representatives (CSRs) operate in distinct environments and have different daily tasks and goals. CSMs typically work in sectors like SaaS and enterprise solutions where long-term client relationships and strategic growth are paramount. They focus on proactive engagement, ensuring customers derive maximum value from products, and fostering loyalty. Daily tasks include account management, upselling, and personalized problem-solving. Similar roles include account executives / account managers and client relationship managers. Startups and enterprises alike value CSMs for their ability to drive retention and expansion.

CSRs are often found in industries with high customer interaction volumes, such as retail, telecommunications, and consumer tech. Their primary goal is immediate problem resolution and customer satisfaction. CSRs handle queries, troubleshoot issues, and provide support through various channels, often under high-pressure conditions. Their roles demand empathy, patience, and efficiency. Comparable positions include technical support specialists and call center agents. While both roles aim to enhance customer experience, CSMs focus on strategic growth and relationship-building, whereas CSRs prioritize operational efficiency and real-time support.

Customer Success vs Customer Support are not the same personality

When comparing customer success and customer support roles, it’s clear that they require different personality traits to thrive. Our data from over 1,700 candidates on our hiring platform highlight these distinctions. While both roles focus on ensuring positive customer interactions, the nature of their work environments and job tasks significantly influences the personality traits that lead to success in each role.

Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are typically conscientious and extraverted. They proactively solve problems and build strong client relationships.

Customer Support Representatives (CSRs) often exhibit higher neuroticism due to the stress of managing numerous queries and complaints.

Both roles highly value agreeableness, fostering positive customer interactions.

CSMs also tend to be more open to new experiences and creative problem-solving, while CSRs excel in following established protocols with flexibility.

CSM vs Support: Openness to Experience

Customer Success Managers exhibit higher levels of openness to experience. This trait is essential for CSMs who need to be adaptable and innovative in finding solutions for customers. Their role often involves proactive problem-solving and creative thinking to improve customer satisfaction and retention. On the other hand, customer support professionals show lower levels of openness, reflecting the necessity for a more structured and protocol-driven approach to handling a high volume of inquiries efficiently.

CSM vs Support: Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is a standout trait for CSMs. This trait equips them to manage their responsibilities diligently, ensuring they follow through on customer needs and maintain a high level of organization. The proactive nature of their role requires meticulous attention to detail and a consistent work ethic. Customer support professionals also value conscientiousness but to a slightly lesser degree, as their roles demand efficiency and adherence to established processes rather than extensive planning and foresight.

CSM vs Support: Extraversion

Extraversion is markedly higher among CSMs compared to customer support professionals. CSMs benefit from being outgoing and engaging, as their role involves building strong relationships with clients and often requires persuasive communication skills. In contrast, customer support roles, while still requiring good interpersonal skills, do not demand the same level of extraversion. Support professionals often handle tasks independently and may interact with customers primarily through written communication or short, focused interactions.

CSM vs Support: Agreeableness

Both roles value agreeableness highly, but it is slightly more pronounced in customer support professionals. This trait is crucial for maintaining a calm and empathetic demeanor, especially when dealing with customer complaints and stressful situations. Agreeableness helps support professionals create positive customer interactions, which is essential for customer satisfaction. CSMs also rely on agreeableness to build rapport with clients and foster long-term relationships, though their focus is more on strategic collaboration than immediate issue resolution.

CSM vs Support: Neuroticism

Customer support professionals exhibit higher levels of neuroticism compared to CSMs. The nature of their work, which often involves handling a large volume of queries and resolving customer issues, can lead to higher stress levels and emotional fluctuations. Training in stress management and resilience can be beneficial for support teams. CSMs, with lower neuroticism, tend to have a more stable emotional disposition, which helps them manage the long-term, strategic aspects of their roles without being as affected by day-to-day stressors.

Tips: Tailor Your Hiring and Training


  • Seek conscientious extraverts for CSM roles.
  • Seek more agreeable professionals for CSR roles.


  • Provide stress management for CSRs.
  • Foster creativity and openness in CSMs.
  • Enable each role to leverage their strengths.

Understanding these personality traits and their alignment with job functions can enhance hiring strategies and employee development programs. By placing individuals in roles that suit their inherent strengths, companies can foster more effective, satisfied, and resilient customer-facing teams.

Note though: do not get boxed into thinking that a ‘personality type’ is ideal – think in terms of particular traits and preferences, not holistic ‘types’. Why? Because in team setting diversity of personality, thinking styles and background is extremely valuable and research shows it increases team performance pretty much in any industry and function.

Advice for Job Seekers and Career Changers re. Customer Success or Customer Support career paths

If you’re exploring careers in customer success or customer support, understanding your personality traits can guide you to the right fit (take one of these free assessments to gauge this). If you’re conscientious and extraverted, consider roles in customer success where proactive problem-solving and relationship-building are key. For those with high agreeableness, customer support might be your calling, offering opportunities to manage customer needs and provide assistance. Embrace your strengths, seek out roles that align with your natural traits to find a more fulfilling career path.

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