So, you're a customer service representative interested in becoming a manager. Maybe you're new to the position, or maybe you've been working in the industry for years. Either way, you believe you have the experience and drive to lead your team to success.
But how exactly does your role differ from that of the manager?
Well, as a customer service representative, you're likely tasked with communicating with customers via several channels, answering customer questions, troubleshooting, following up with customers and asking for feedback, and keeping track of all necessary documentation related to customer interactions.
It seems like the right move for you to ask about a promotion. However, it's important to not run in blind. As you know, researching the role is key and shows your promise.
So, what exactly does a customer service manager actually do?
First, we have laid out some of the basic goals of the position.
Goals of a Customer Service Manager
The primary goal of a customer service manager is to ensure retention of profitable customers by providing value to them. This is done by instilling in employees the need to actively listen to customers, be empathetic towards their problems, and be efficient in providing worthy solutions.
HubSpot Customer Success Manager Michael Renahan retains his customers by "... helping with HubSpot's mission of Helping Millions of Organizations Grow Better. A healthy customer stays with us longer, grows with us, and ultimately adopts more products from us to grow better."
Depending on who your customers are and what services or products your company provides, the role of a customer service manager may vary slightly. However, regardless, all your responsibilities fall under the umbrella of understanding your customers inside and out.
To further understand this position, we have created the following list of the duties of a customer service manager.
Customer Service Manager Job Description
1. Maintain lasting relationships with profitable customers.
As said above, customer service managers are always striving towards acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones. But how exactly do they do that?
According to Meghan Barrett-Hickey, a Customer Success Manager at HubSpot, "In order to succeed in this role, you need to understand how your customers tick (what is most important to them to be successful)."
In order to retain a customer for the long-term, the manager has to show them why they should stick with the company. In this role, they're typically the only manager a customer gets to interact with one-on-one. Thus, it's essential that customer service managers build strong relationships with customers and increase their lifetime value.
2. Hire and train the customer service team.
Customer service managers are responsible for helping run the hiring process for new employees. When they need to fill in open positions, they read through applications of candidates, interview them, and make final decisions. To find the best candidates, it's vital that they ask the right customer service interview questions and answers to get a good grasp on their experience and abilities.
After hiring, they ensure that new representatives are properly trained and equipped with all the tools they need to be successful. Managers may have to assign trainings required by the company, and also help new hires adjust into their new roles.
After training, managers will continue to support their teams by answering questions and being a resource for them. Just because they have completed training doesn't necessarily mean they're fully ready to tackle every challenge. They will continue being trained when a unique scenario pops up, so it's important for managers to remain patient and thoughtful.
3. Set goals for the team and check progress.
In addition, customer service managers are required to make sure every representative understands their responsibilities and is meeting company goals in a timely fashion. It may be helpful for them to set individual goals for each employee, especially at the beginning. This will supply basic metrics upon which to track their progress.
When setting goals, managers should, of course, guarantee that they're actually attainable. Employees should always feel challenged, but not to the point of permanently feeling overwhelmed by failures. According to Zendesk, there should always be a solid balance of clear goals set for customer service reps to help them be successful.
If you are interested in becoming a customer service manager, consider helping your new customer service reps grow with a 100-day plan. Set weekly or bi-weekly goals and meet with them often to give them the opportunity to express if their workload is too exhausting.
4. Represent the voice of the customer.
It's interesting that no company -- whether it be B2B or B2C -- would exist without its customers, yet a lot of employees in the company might not have a grasp over what the customer really wants and needs. That's where the customer service manager steps in.
Working so closely with customers, customer service managers get the unique opportunity to hear directly from them. By actively listening, they uncover what problems customers are having that need to be solved, what they like and dislike about a certain product or service, and what their feedback is after purchasing.
It's their responsibility to understand these customers inside and out and relay their perspectives in decision-making meetings with other managers and executives. They help close the gap between company and customer and provide a better experience for customers by letting their voice be heard.
5. Deal with employee issues and consequences.
Unfortunately, there are times when managers notice problems with their customer service reps that are abnormal. This may include slacking off on responsibilities, being disrespectful to customers or other employees, skipping shifts, etc.
If these issues arise, managers have to remain calm and set up a plan for action. It can be tough laying down the law, but that's a big part of being a manager. As much as it's nice to be the fun manager who's actually a friend, a manager is in a position of leadership and needs to take responsibility for that.
Managers will most likely meet with the employee, hear their side of the story, and relay any necessary consequences. Overall, managers need to always be in communication with every member of their teams and let them know that they're still an authority figure not to be taken advantage of.
6. Handle serious, long-lasting issues with customers.
Sometimes, there will be issues that representatives have with customers that are beyond their line of expertise. Maybe, a customer is so furious that no amount of apologies can calm them down. Or, maybe they simply refuse to speak any further with a representative and want to speak to a manager. Either way, when the rep can no longer help, that's when a manager steps in.
Diffusing an angry customer can be very difficult. However, it's a customer service manager's job to represent the company to that customer. That means being empathetic, actively listening, and apologizing, even when it's unclear why they're so upset.
It can be easy to sink to their level and point fingers, especially when it seems they're being completely preposterous. However, managers have to try to see things from their perspective. After all, companies with growing revenues have typically invested the proper time to make customers happy.
7. Set the tone for a customer-focused, thoughtful environment.
In many companies, heavy workloads can start to bring down the mood of employees. It's a managers job to bring in a culture that helps employees be successful.
In the customer service industry, it's essential to have a customer-centric environment. However, before employees can treat customers with empathy and respect, they need to feel that they, too, are treated in that way.
Here at HubSpot, we're proud of our company culture, which is laid out in our Culture Code. By setting a communicative, honest atmosphere, right from the start, managers can ensure that their employees enjoy working and will put their best foot forward when speaking with customers.
Now, you understand what a customer service manager actually does on a day-to-day basis. If you're still interested in pursuing this role in the future, take the following advice on how to rise from being a customer service representative to the manager.
How to Become the Customer Service Manager
1. Hit your numbers every month.
The best way to show your preparedness to take on the role of manager is by being great at your current job. That means putting your nose to the grind and hitting every goal. You need to prove that you take your job seriously and want the company to be successful.
Even if you don't always get credit for your hard work, that doesn't mean it goes unnoticed. The more you contribute to your team's goals, the more likely it is that you will be the first person management thinks of when deciding who to promote.
2. Ask for more responsibilities.
Another great way to show off your manager material is by being very proactive. You shouldn't merely complete your given goals and sit back and relax. Instead, keep asking your manager for more tasks to work on. They will be taken aback by your eagerness.
By helping your manager with additional projects, you prove that you can definitely handle being the customer service manager. After all, you're already doing some of the tasks required of the manager! Leadership will be very impressed by your ability to handle more responsibility and will consider that in a hiring process.
3. Mentor and train new members.
As someone who has probably worked in this position for some time now, you likely know the ins and outs of being a customer service representative. Do the best thing you can do with all that knowledge: Pass it on to someone new.
When your company inevitably hires new reps for your team, take it upon yourself to act as their guide. Get them acquainted, give them a general understanding of what the position entails, and answer any questions they might have along the way.
Being a mentor will help take a load off your manager's plate. It will also show your total understanding of the role and ability to manage others.
4. Speak up about your intentions.
No matter how much initiative you take, no one is going to know you want to be the customer service manager if you don't tell them. Make it clear to management that you are interested in rising up and are able and willing to take on more responsibility.
You shouldn't let your goal of becoming the customer service manager distract you from doing your current job properly. Also, it's probably not the best idea to talk about your intentions every day. After you have built a solid foundation for yourself at the company, plan a time to meet and discuss with your manager. We promise they won't forget, and they will appreciate your enthusiasm.