Beyond the traditional traits that managers are expected to possess, those who lead customer service teams need to hone very specific skills. They not only have to be able to motivate teams and think on their feet, but they also have to be intuitive and empathetic to customer and employee needs. Being empathetic as a manager is important because no matter what, customer service managers must lead by example. Failing to do so can result in poor customer support and lower customer satisfaction due to a lack of respect for the customer.
All things considered, to ensure the seamless operations of any customer service team, we've identified a number of specific skills that are vital to becoming a great customer service manager. Here are our top tips to help you sharpen your managerial skills:
Have a customer-centric approach to work
Managers have to lead by example. Being in a service oriented industry means managers must be very customer oriented. In this position, a great manager knows to put the customer at the center of everything they do. This entails doing everything they can to deliver a better customer experience such as staying up to date on the latest trends and hosting regular internal training sessions with team members to improve the level of service offered.
This specifically means considering your customers’ needs and listening to the feedback they offer as the primary driver for your priorities and actions. With the feedback customers provide, anyone in the company can make actionable changes to their processes that can improve each customer's experience instantly, and it's the manager’s job to ensure that customers are listened to.
Communicate clearly and efficiently
Managers are sometimes responsible for resolving the most difficult customer concerns that their frontline team members are unable to handle. It requires professional and expert communication skills. This makes communication the cornerstone of great customer service.
As managers, communication skills are critical in ensuring that teams are able to close the customer expectations gap and run as efficiently as possible. In terms of interacting with customers, managers have to communicate effectively in order to address the different needs of each customer.
However, clear communication is not limited to interactions with customers. Managers must also communicate clearly with their teams to ensure agents are trained properly and understand what is expected of them. Strong communication between managers and their employees can also allow agents continue to expand their knowledge and skills to handle more complex customer inquiries in the future.
Develop and deliver empathy
Empathy is a critical skill to learn for customer service managers who want to build loyalty among their customers. Developing this skill means managers are able to put themselves in their customer’s shoes to understand their concerns on a deeper level. Without empathy, a manager cannot successfully lead by example, nor can they offer their customers a great support experience.
When considering what is most important to your customers, it’s also important make sure your own personal preferences are not interfering with what you think your customers prefer, since the two could differ. Being empathic towards your customers has many benefits, however, according to research, the more empathic managers are–the more “egocentric” they become when considering what their customers want. Be mindful to not make any assumptions and always refer back to concrete feedback from customers themselves to back up your decisions and strategy as manager.
Be a great multitasker
A good customer service manager will be an expert at navigating and juggling the numerous requirements of the job. They can recognize which tasks need to be prioritized and how to maximize their time and resources to accomplish those tasks. They will also be proactive about tackling challenging situations, addressing them quickly and following a strategic mindset to deliver great results for both internal teams and customers.
Being a great multitasker can be a challenge, especially when being pulled in a number of different directions. Staying on course will help your team perform consistently well and deliver reliable support as a result.
Be a great motivator
A great manager knows that motivating their team to power through challenging situations and inspiring them to continue delivering exceptional customer service will make a significant positive impact on customers and the business.
Since it’s easy to lose motivation and moral while handling complaints from customers on a daily basis, a good customer service manager can self-motivate and also motivate others. A couple ways managers motivate agents is by rewarding good performance, listening to their employees and most importantly–giving them the right tools to do their job well.
See the big picture goals
Good managers realize the importance of working with their entire team so quotas and deadlines are met, it’s never just about achieving personal goals. Short-term goals can become very monotonous for contact center agents, therefore, letting your team in on big picture or long-term goals can help them understand their role in the company’s overall success and serve as a strong motivator.
Possessing these fundamental skills and taking the time to develop them are not all it takes to become a great customer service manager, however, it’s a good place to start. Lastly, an important thing to remember is if you don’t treat your own employees with respect, you cannot expect them to treat your customers with respect. Inversely, creating a culture of respect and appreciation within your customer service department will transcend into the way you treat your customers.