The success of every business hinges on good customer service.
If you fail to consider your audience’s needs, expectations and satisfaction, your company risks losing them to a competitor. And with 33 percent of consumers claiming they’ll think about switching to a different provider following just one example of poor service, there’s a very real chance they’ll ditch you.
If you’re struggling to achieve the level of CX you aim for, hiring a customer service manager is a fantastic step in the right direction. But how do you know what makes a candidate right for the role?
Essential Skills for Every Customer Service Manager
Hiring a customer service / call center manager involves meeting multiple applicants. Some of them will be bad. Some of them will be good. One or two might even be fantastic.
It can be incredibly hard to narrow the shortlist down and pick a single candidate to manage customer service in your business, but the best candidates will bring some or all of the following customer service management skills to the role.
Keep these in mind when looking for your new call center manager:
Relevant management experience
One of the key traits your ideal call center manager applicant possesses is years of experience in either customer service, management or both.
They will have to understand how to handle a team of employees at different levels, including service agents and team leaders. An individual who steps into the position with no idea how to delegate tasks or track workers’ performance is unlikely to be the smartest choice.
Likewise, experience of dealing with customers across different demographics empowers managers with first-hand insights into good and bad service techniques. They can use this to guide agents and amend current processes responsible for negative results.
Communication is a core component of good customer service, and it’s just as important in effective management.
Your new customer service / call center manager must be able to talk openly and clearly with employees. They have to engage them, treat them with respect and deal with different personalities. For example, they may be required to deliver feedback to a service agent based on data gathered through quality assurance.
This could involve highlighting where they’ve made mistakes and exploring ways to improve their performance. This is a delicate situation and managers need the knowledge to handle it properly: being too blunt could alienate workers and make them less likely to take advice on board.
Furthermore, if the manager’s ever required to interact with customers, they must have the communication skills to resolve problems and ensure satisfaction.
A drive to deliver great service
Service agents may not feel motivated and inspired to provide great service without a good manager.
They might believe putting extra effort into their work won’t benefit them in any way. They could resent customers and view them as little more than faceless voices on the end of a phone.
Customer service / call center managers should be able to make agents realize why every customer’s satisfaction matters, how to improve their skills and what’s in it for them. The manager’s drive to deliver positive customer experiences should be genuine: they need to be committed to motivating staff on a daily basis.
Consider asking candidates what steps they would take to enhance the quality of service and boost employees’ engagement. Reward programs and inter-team competitions are solid options, so perhaps question how they might take advantage of these to achieve better results.
Able to empathize with workers and customers
We’ve already discussed the importance of strong communication skills, but empathy is one of the most desirable customer service management skills too.
Why? Because workers want to feel valued and respected. A recent survey revealed 59 percent of respondents believed their employers cared more about profits than the way in which their workforce felt they were treated. A further 60 percent actually quit when they disliked their direct supervisors.
Both stats demonstrate how important it is to show employees how much they mean to your company. A good customer service manager will understand this and be able to empathize with workers in all situations, whether they’re upset after being insulted by a customer, experiencing personal issues or involved in a dispute with a colleague.
This can’t be faked, either. The ideal candidate should sincerely care about providing workers and customers alike with the very best treatment.
Customer service / call center managers need solid organizational skills. They should be able to identify which tasks are crucial, prioritize them and ensure they’re completed in good time. Less-important work can be set aside for a later date, but not forgotten about.
Staying organized and on top of workloads leads to a smoother process overall. If the manager struggles to keep employees on track or to prioritize tasks, they could risk leaving customers dissatisfied. Quality assurance, for example, demands clear organization throughout: managers will have to liaise with QA analysts to deliver feedback based on data.
As a result, coaching and training will be required to help service agents improve their performance. Monitoring individual agents’ development and training is much more manageable with good organizational skills.
A natural motivator
Being a natural motivator goes hand in hand with strong communication. These two customer service management skills empower leaders with the power to drive employees to deliver a better CX.
Motivating one employee might be much harder than motivating another: the customer service team is made up of diverse characters and work ethics, but the right manager knows how to handle both. They’ll help them unlock their potential, treat customers better than ever and make a valuable contribution to the team.
A candidate with strong motivational skills needs to stay engaged in their own work too, rather than just helping inspire others. If they remain in the position for years, their commitment to great service and effective management should keep them finding new ways to achieve positive results.
Hiring a call center manager can be daunting if you’ve never had to do so before, but focus on finding someone with the above customer service management skills for the best results. You’ll need to conduct thorough interviews, try role-play and ensure they know how to communicate with staff at different levels.
Once you bring the right individual into the role, they’ll help drive your customer service team to greater and greater heights.
If you’ve hired a customer service manager for your business, what skills did you prioritize and why? What advice would you give to others in the same position? Share your thoughts below!