Beyond the traditional traits that managers are expected to possess, those who lead customer service teams must hone a very specific skillset. 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-Obsessed 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 being listened to.
We all know that Amazon prides itself on being customer-obsessed. See for yourself what it looks like to truly put customer experience at the center of your business:
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. Communication goes beyond just answering queries or having a friendly demeanor. CX Managers in the digital age need to understand and utilize conversational technology in order to deliver a seamless experience to customers.
However, clear communication is not limited to just interactions with customers. Managers must also communicate clearly with their teams to ensure agents are trained properly and understand what is expected of them. What’s the difference between a great manager and terrible one? We thought Ultimate Software laid it out perfectly:
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. So don’t forget to recognize when your agents do well, give constructive feedback, but be careful to not micromanage and control your team.
Cultivate a Culture of Inclusion
Empathy is a critical skill to learn for customer service managers who want to build loyalty among their customers. Developing this skill starts “at home” and depends on your ability to cultivate inclusion within your team.
In fact, studies continue to prove that an inclusive workplace generates better business. This is especially true for customer-facing teams. A manager that exemplifies and models empathy, discrimination, and transparency amongst their own team, is producing a workforce that excels in empathy – which we know is an essential skill for successful customer service.
Sometimes the terms around inclusion can be confusing. As a CX manager, it’s important that you have them straight. Here’s a great visual by blue beyond to understanding what they all mean and how they relate to one another:
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. Luckily, you can get amazing tools built into your service software that allows you to focus on your most important responsibilities, and not get bogged down with tedious tasks.
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, equip your agents with the best possible tools to enjoy their job and truly help customers.
Possessing the fundamental skills to be a great CX manager and taking the time to develop them are not all it takes, however, it’s a good place to start. Creating a culture of respect and appreciation within your customer service department will transcend into the way you treat your customers, and having the right tools can make all the difference.