7 Skills Every Customer Service Manager Needs
A career in customer service means being prepared to deal with difficult situations from day one. Be it face-to-face, over phone or email, when something goes really wrong, the first person the agent contacts is their customer service manager.
Customer Service Managers take care of the ticket queue, improve cadence, help teams in achieving performance goals, and also keep customer satisfaction score high. What is important more is — managing people. A good customer service manager can be the difference between a team that delivers a memorable customer experience and the one that just answers customer questions.
While certain qualities are a must-have to every customer service person, it’s the extra few skills that differentiate a manager from others. If you are aspiring to be a customer service manager, here’s a list of skills that you need to have up your sleeve.
1. Motivating Your Employees
This is the most important skill that every manager is supposed to have irrespective of any field. Good managers know how to motivate themselves and keep their team motivated.
As a manager, you should play to your team’s strengths. Also, your attitude towards your team is a major factor that influences their work environment. You have to be there for your team and give a helping hand whenever needed. Your trust and respect would create a sense of belonging in them resulting in better performance.
2. Training Your Team
The best way to make sure that your team is all ready for their roles is to give them the training they deserve. The training they receive should help them deliver a stellar experience for your customers. Give them timely feedback and ask them if they are facing any difficulties at work.
Organize training sessions for the new hires on your team that promote their professional skills. If you are not sure where to begin, ask your agents on what they’d like to learn. Here are some questions to pick their brains.
– What’s the most challenging part of your work?
– If you would like to improve something about our team, what would that be?
– Do you feel there needs to be more interaction within the team?
– What steps do you suggest for increasing the team rapport?
– We are looking to conduct training sessions. Choose what you would like to enroll for (any number of choices):
b) Product demo
c) Personal development
3. Organizing Your Workflow
As a customer service manager, you are responsible to hold meetings, resolve complex issues, come up with solutions to improve customer service and guide everyone on your team. Also, you would be required to take important and difficult decisions which can get pretty stressful. Not all problems are equal, however, and it’s up to you to decide what order you tackle them in. What you need is an order that helps you use the best of your time. And that’s where the Eisenhower Matrix can be of great help.
4. Handling De-escalations
Despite your team’s best efforts, there will be times when the customer says, “I need to speak to your manager”. This is a clear indication that the customer is unhappy and ready to churn if the refund or the warranty extension they asked for doesn’t happen. Under these circumstances, consider the options you have and work on what’s best for both you and the customer. Negotiate with them, take a stand and implement the best way to de-escalate the conflict.
5. Tracking Performance
Tracking your team’s performance is crucial to determine the quality of customer service. While agent-based metrics like response time and resolution time provide insights on how each is doing comparatively, team-based metrics like happiness score and contact ratio give a collective overview.
Though metrics are a standard way to track performance, don’t depend too much on them even if your team is remotely working. Make it a habit to have regular interactions with every team member and help them if they are facing any roadblock.
6. Improving Operations
Customer expectations are rising and you need to be sure that your team is equipped to handle them. Look at how your department is operating with a critical eye and see if anything needs to be improved. People will be resistant to change, even if it is for the better. So, explain how the change can work in their favor and make sure you have the numbers to back it up.
Let’s say your agents are finding it tough to support from a single mailbox because of ever-increasing customer issues. The resolution is either getting delayed or missed altogether. Both your team and customers are frustrated and hiring additional agents would only increase the confusion. In a situation like this, look for a helpdesk that would alleviate your team’s problem by helping them collaborate better and improve their conflict resolution abilities.
7. Re-thinking Strategies
With many companies using the quality of their customer service as their brand differentiator, mere replying to emails is not enough anymore. A customer service strategy that provides great support experience and retains customers is a must-have these days. Find ways to make the customer service more personalized and explore new possibilities. Think long-term and experiment with upselling and cross-selling opportunities. After all, it is important for every manager to plan ahead and have a strategy ready in hand.
Being a customer service manager is no easy task. It is very different compared to being a customer service agent and requires a different mindset. From having to deal with the toughest issues to keeping the customer satisfaction from dwindling down, it’s a challenging role to take on where every day is going to be a mix of both good and bad surprises. Yet, customer service manager is a role that puts you in a unique position of representing both your customers and team members. With the right attitude and prowess, you are all set to rock!