Every company is aware of how important excellent customer service is to the customer experience. It means also having a willingness to take on the burden of change. Getting it right means understanding the issue and being willing to change. It means planning each stage of the customer journey carefully and considering what the best approach and tools are for each stage. And that’s where customer service management comes in.
Read on for definitions, tips, and advice to help you better understand exactly what customer service management is and why it’s important, as well as how to improve it in your organization.
What Is Customer Service Management?
Customer service management is the process of overseeing and coordinating a company’s customer service efforts. This includes ensuring that customer service representatives are providing high-quality service, developing strategies to improve customer service, and monitoring customer satisfaction levels. A whole host of factors affect customer service, from onboarding and training customer service teams to measuring and improving customer service operations. Multiple teams and tools are required to manage these factors effectively. Customer service management is a way for companies to keep track of their customer relationships. By keeping track of these relationships, companies can make sure they are meeting the needs of their customers.
Why is customer service management important?
Customer service management is important because it helps to ensure that customers have a consistently positive experience throughout their entire journey with a company. Nowadays, people expect a smooth experience, and they want their problems to be dealt with quickly and effectively.
Customer service management ensures that all relevant factors are controlled together in one strategy. This makes it easier to identify problems and implement better solutions. When businesses respond quickly and thoroughly to customer inquiries across multiple channels, they help keep customers and reduce the number of customers who leave.
What does a customer manager do?
A successful customer service management strategy must take into account the people who will be implementing it. Those who manage customer service, as well as the representatives on their team, have the most impact on customer service.
The objectives of a customer service manager involve overseeing a support team, training team members, tracking team performance, and coming up with ideas to improve customer service.
The customer service team’s success depends on the team leader’s skills and knowledge. Leaders need to be able to ensure the team functions well and provides a high-quality customer experience.
Specifically, a customer service manager will need to:
- Help customers use products or services effectively
- Deal with customer requests and solve issues (potentially complex or long-standing ones that have been escalated by other customer service reps) refunding or compensating customers where appropriate
- Handle customer complaints or major incidents
- Analyze data and provide internal reports to assess the level of customer service provided and suggest how and where to improve customer service operations
- Develop feedback or complaints procedures for customers to use
- Meet with other managers to discuss how and where to improve customer service
- Lead or supervise a team of customer service staff, train them to deliver a high standard of customer service, and manage or be involved with staff recruitment and appraisals
- Know about all developments and new releases regarding products or services
- Keep on top of developments in customer service generally by reading relevant content, joining communities, and attending training courses
What Skills Do Customer Service Managers Need?
In order to excel at their job, customer service managers need to have certain skills. Some of the most important are:
- Communication skills to deal with customers as well as other employees and team members
- Listening skills to take on board exactly what customers need
- Empathy skills to understand the customer’s point of view and how they are feeling
- Problem-solving skills (i.e. how to troubleshoot) to tackle issues as they arise
- Patience, tact, and diplomacy, to deal with difficult situations
- Motivational skills and the ability to lead
- Creative thinking, to generate ideas that will improve customer service efforts
- Ability to work under pressure
- Organizational and planning skills to develop customer service policies
- Commitment to improving both as an individual and for the organization
Tips on How to Improve Customer Support Management
There are many different ways to improve customer service management, as it entails a broad range of factors. Some of the most effective improvement strategies for successful customer service management are:
Put a great team together
We’ve talked about the importance of people. Customer service is only going to be as good as the team that is supporting it. The most important thing is to hire the right people.
If you want to find the right candidates for your company, it’s important to be clear about what you’re looking for and to follow the right process. When creating a job specification, be sure to include skills that are relevant to the role. This will ensure that you attract candidates that are qualified for the position.
Keep in mind that some skills can be taught fairly easily, such as typing speed and how to use the relevant technology. What’s much harder to train for are core skills such as:
- Active listening
- Attention to detail
- Conflict resolution
What skills should you focus on when hiring someone?
While there are many approaches that can be helpful when vetting potential employees, two of the most useful are situational tests that show how a candidate would deal with a scenario that could play out in real life, and psychometric testing to reveal whether candidates have the traits and skills that would be beneficial for your team.
Provide clear boundaries, roles, and responsibilities
The worst feeling is starting a job without knowing what you’re supposed to do. It benefits you to establish which teams and employees are responsible for what customer service tasks early on, as these tasks can vary greatly. Examples of these tasks include providing chat support to a customer with a poor quality product, or taking action to prevent a customer’s warranty from expiring. Without this clarity in place, chaos will reign supreme.
Most of the time, these tasks will involve handling requests from customers. This could happen over any type of communication including live chat, telephone, video call, email, or social media. If you want certain employees to work on certain channels that their skills are better suited to, you can create a channel for each employee. You also need to consider that when you are assigning roles and responsibilities to individuals.
Remember that having autonomy, or control over your work, is an important part of being satisfied with your job. It is possible to provide clear boundaries for customer service reps without taking away their opportunity to show their personality and exercise their judgment when dealing with customers. Giving employees the freedom to decide how to recompense customers could involve something as simple as giving them a set budget to work with.
Customer Service and Support Managers vs. Representatives
Customer service and support representatives are typically the first point of contact for customers with questions, complaints, or comments. Customer service and support managers are the people who oversee customer service representatives. Manager will only speak with a client or customer directly if an issue is escalated by one of their reps.
Customer service and support managers guide, teach, and train representatives. The company provides their employees with goals and feedback in order to help them improve the service and support they provide customers. A customer service representative may ask for assistance from a supervisor if they are unable to resolve an issue themselves. Managers communicate regularly with their supervisors to ensure that their departmental expectations are being met.
How you treat your customers and provide support can make or break your business. How to Train and Develop Quality Customer Service and Support Managers It is important to train and develop quality customer service and support managers so they can effectively communicate and assist customers. Some tips on how to do this include: -Set clear expectations for customer service and support managers -Make sure they are properly trained in customer service skills -Observe their interactions with customers -Provide feedback and coaching -Encourage them to keep learning and growing in their role
This guide will go over the skills that customer service and support managers should have, the structure of customer service and support departments, and how to build your department.
Before we continue, we need to answer an important question: What is the difference between customer service and customer support?
Customer Service vs. Customer Support
Customer service managers work to solve problems before the customer is aware of them. They lead representatives in providing great service. This can be done by organizing teams of reps based on function, determining which channels certain reps should be working, and collaborating with other customer service managers and higher-ups to determine an overall customer service strategy for all managers and reps. Customer service managers typically only speak with customers directly if a rep escalates an issue. They oversee the teams of customer service reps.
Customer support managers work by responding to customer inquiries through different modes of communication such as phone, email, chat, and social media. Customer service representatives who offer support are typically the first point of contact for customers.
Customer support managers are responsible for teams of customer support representatives. They usually only speak to customers directly if a representative escalates an issue.
Read on to find out how you can keep your customers happy.
The main skills, characteristics, and qualities required for customer support and service managers are the same, even though their functions might differ slightly. They also have very similar job responsibilities. For the purpose of this guide, customer service and support managers will be referred to as one and the same.
Customer Service Department Structure
The structure of your customer service and support department may be different from others, depending on the size, industry, and resources of your company. This section will provide you with a general understanding of some of the ways in which you could construct your department and how your managers would fit into its structure.
The customer service and support department typically includes one or more specialized teams, each of which serves a specific function, such as account and billing. There are teams of customer service and support representatives that handle different areas. Each team has 5-20 people on it.
Each team of 5-20 reps is led by a manager who is also specialized in their team’s specific function.
All of the specialized support and service managers have a senior director, senior manager, or vice president as their leader, depending on the manager’s title. The number of these people overseeing all of the work done by the managers and representatives could be between one and seven.
Lastly, there’s a vice president of services and support who manages the entire department and reports directly to the company’s chief operating officer and chief executive officer.
This image is a visualization of a customer service and support department to help you better understand the structure. The image shows different positions in the department and how they are interconnected.
If you are looking to build a customer service and support department for your company, you should start by creating a structure that outlines the different roles and responsibilities within the department. Once you have created this structure, you can then begin to fill the department with employees who have the skills and knowledge necessary to provide excellent customer service. What will you need to complete its structure? We’ll cover that now.
How to Build a Customer Service Department
There are five steps you should work through when building your customer service and support department. There are certain things that every business needs in order to be successful, regardless of the company’s size, industry, or resources.
Determine your customer service and support team’s function
If you have a smaller company, you might also have a small support team. Even though your service and support teams have different tasks, it is important to keep them organized so that they can function properly. As your company grows, you’ll continue to create more specialized teams with specific functions.
If your company expands to offer multiple products and services, it will be more efficient to have a customer service and support team that is divided into groups with specific roles. This could be something like account and billing. If you do this, your team of customer service representatives and managers will have the right information and knowledge to help and support customers effectively.
Hire remarkable people
Customer service and support managers require a certain set of skills to be successful. This is why it is so important to find talented and remarkable people who show the qualities and characteristics that you want your company to be known for. The people who represent your brand, lead your reps, and communicate with your customers every day are the people who have the most impact on your business.
THE PROBLEM: YOUR BUSINESS ISN’T GROWING AS FAST AS IT SHOULD!
Your sales have stagnated or decreased, and you can’t figure out why. Discover what’s holding you back from achieving predictable sales growth in your business.
If you want to grow your business, you need a proven plan and framework. That’s what you get with the 2X Your Sales Discovery Session.
Want to learn about a formula for Predictable Growth that will put your business on a 90-day path to 2X Your Sales?