One of the most critical roles in a company is that of the customer service manager. Learn how this manager impacts the success of a business while helping to create loyal customers.
What Is a Customer Service Manager?
Providing great service is a critical aspect of a successful business. Consequently, the customer service manager is one of the most important elements in an effective business strategy. A customer service manager hires, trains, and supervises the customer service team, ensuring good service is provided to customers.
Hiring and Training Employees
It is the responsibility of the customer service manager to hire a team of dedicated and committed employees who have the desire to take care of customers’ issues. Because many customer service jobs are entry-level, it is the manager’s job to ensure new employees receive thorough training as to how to deal with frustrated customers and resolve their problems. Providing initial training is not adequate. Ongoing training, practice, and skill refinement is necessary to strengthen the skills of the customer service representatives.
A customer service manager may also be called on to help with other relevant activities. This may include controlling expenses and increasing revenue. He or she may also be asked to help set up policies and procedures, especially concerning customer service plans. The manager often understands the needs of the customers, the frequently asked questions, and the most common problems. By establishing policies and procedures that handle those issues, the company can demonstrate its commitment to providing excellent service to customers.
Can I Speak to the Manager?
When an employee is helping a customer and the customer is not satisfied, he or she may request a manager. There are other times that an employee is not able to help or calm a customer, and the employee may ask the manager to step in and help with the customer’s problem. In either situation, a customer service manager must be able to listen to the customer, calm the customer down, and create a reasonable solution that will create a satisfied customer. Being talented in communication and listening are two critical skills of a good customer service manager.
Training employees is another role of the customer service manager. Let’s imagine you are the customer service manager for a local auto parts store. You are responsible for making sure all of the clerks and staff members are not only aware of customer service standards but are trained to use these skills with customers who come in the store. You’ve noticed some of the employees have slipped in their skills and have been abrupt to customers who ask questions. Even though these employees are very knowledgeable and talented, the way they are communicating with customers is concerning.
You determine it’s time for a series of short, focused training classes to make sure everyone has the same knowledge. You also want to ensure the expectations are clear for all of the employees. Each week there is a staff meeting where all of the employees gather an hour before the store opens. You arrange to spend ten minutes of each of the next six meetings reviewing different aspects of customer service.
As a conscientious customer service manager, you create specific exercises and practices to meet the problems you are witnessing in the store. As the weeks progress, you notice the staff members are focusing on the skills you’ve been sharing. In fact, you have seen a drastic improvement in service provided to customers. The customers are noticing, too. You’ve seen several comment cards from happy customers who received excellent service. Great job, customer service manager!
Customer Service Manager Skills
Customer service managers need specific attributes to be effective at their job. They need to be the following things:
- A leader: An effective leader motivates his or her team to work hard, find solutions, and be positive. These skills are even more vital for customer service staff members.
- A teacher: Being able to create and present training to staff members in an interesting way is a valuable skill for customer service managers.
- An effective communicator: Sharing ideas, understanding questions, and providing helpful answers is how managers are able to effectively communicate with their teams.
- A problem solver: Not only do you need to solve customer complaints, you need to help employees solve problems. This skill is used daily in a manager’s work.
- A patient manager: Your patience may be tried. You may be called names. You may have to listen to an irate customer yelling at you for issues you have no control over. While these are not pleasant experiences, having patience and giving the customer the chance to voice his or her opinions is important to creating a satisfied customer. You may have to exhibit patience with your staff members, too, as they may get frustrated or cranky after dealing with a difficult client.
- A calm professional: When a customer is in your face or on the phone, yelling and out of control, it is vital you keep your calm and composure. Listening to the customer, giving the customer a chance to cool down, and providing a solution to the customer’s complaint is one of your important job duties.
To review, a customer service manager is responsible for hiring, training, and managing a customer service team. He or she is the person who handles escalated problems or customer requests for a manager’s help. The customer service manager also ensures the service standards of the company are met. Being a good customer service manager requires the ability to stay calm and solve problems. Other important skills include leadership, teaching, patience, and communication.