Customer service is recognized as one of the more stressful jobs, especially during a holiday season and pandemic that puts every customer in a fragile, irritable, fearful, and demanding mood. Stress has a negative effect on the ability of a customer service department to maintain productivity, accuracy, communication skills, and enthusiasm. Customer service managers who know how to motivate a team under those conditions are priceless.
In one Australian study, call center employees took more sick days than the nationwide average, 8.2 days compared to 7.4 days for all other careers. Moreover, an Eagle Hill Consulting survey found that 64% of U. S. workers believe their experience at work directly affects their ability to serve customers—stress is contagious.
To combat absenteeism and stress, the following skills are highly valued in customer service managers:
- The willingness to recognize others for their contribution. A survey by Authentic Recognition found that 29% of employees receive no recognition and 17% were only thanked for the efforts once during an entire year—that’s nearly half of all employees.
- An understanding of technology and metrics. Customer service may require a human touch but behind that is state-of-the art research, data gathering, and communication technology. Metrics may include Key Performance Indicators such as the number of customers served.
- Resilience to angry customers. Good managers are able to keep their composure, look for compromise or solutions, and—very important—step in without blame if a situation escalates. Good training will also ensure that the customer service team is able to step up when needed.
Your ability to provide these skills and others (such as communication skills, knowledge of industry specific programs, and collaboration) is key to career advancement and to changing jobs. You may want to take courses such as managing a customer contact center and team, building customer loyalty, and using customer surveys to improve service. A college degree may or may not be necessary, depending on the company.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 10% growth rate for customer service jobs, which is higher than the average of all occupations. While artificial intelligence will (and already has) take over some customer service jobs and responsibilities, even artificial intelligence (AI) needs customer service representatives to fix problems! As many industry specialists point out, jobs that require feeling and empathy are beyond the reach of AI.
Contact Robin’s Resumes® if you need help creating a resume that gets you started or advances your career in customer service management.