Your first priority as a customer service manager should ensure fast, consistent, high-quality support.
However, good customer service management can be very complex, requiring technical skills and an understanding of many interconnected operational tasks. Strong people and team management skills are the foundation for success.
In this guide, you’ll learn customer service management and how to improve as a leader. Here’s everything we cover below:
Customer service management is the role of running a customer service team in a way that ensures customer satisfaction, loyalty, and long-term retention.
This involves various tasks, from hiring agents to ensuring everyone on the team has the necessary tools and resources to do their job.
We can organize these tasks into two broad categories:
Customer service team management is the collection of actions the customer service manager takes to consistently enable agents to perform their job well. This can include a whole range of activities, including:
As a customer service manager, most of the success of the customer service team rests on you. It’s your job to build the team and the rules, systems, and guidelines agents will use daily.
A helpful starting point is to learn what a smoothly functioning customer support team should look like. This will help you lay the foundation for effective customer service management.
As with all other team activities, internal communication is the key to success. In a good customer service operation, agents are ready to communicate and have the tools to do so.
For example, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other chat and video conferencing software should always be available for real-time communication in urgent situations. Asynchronous communication methods like email should be encouraged in other cases.
As a manager, it’s your job to set clear rules around communication methods in different situations (e.g., no real-time calls where an asynchronous email or Slack message will do). Good communication rules can guarantee that everyone values their colleagues' time and attention.
A good customer service manager ensures each agent knows:
The key here is that agents should have this information before they need it.
💡 Tip: Build a detailed hub of all the essential documents and information your agents need. This can include your customer service policy, refund and return policies, escalation rules, video walkthroughs of challenging situations, and much more.
“Remember, you can't pour from an empty cup –– taking care of yourself is beneficial for you and crucial for your ability to support your customers effectively.” - Eli Weiss, CX Unlocked
High-stress environments and burnout are all too familiar in customer service. This often stems from understaffing, poor training, or confusing workflows.
Eli Weiss provides a few great tips for avoiding burnout in his CX Unlocked Guidebook:
A big part of customer service management is evaluating your team’s performance. The only way to do that fairly is to use specific, measurable key performance metrics (KPIs). This ensures you’re evaluating agents objectively, giving them clarity and goals to aim for.
For example, response and resolution times are two of the most critical metrics for any support team. Keeping them consistently low shows a well-managed, prepared, appropriately trained team. It also shows that there are enough agents to handle the incoming inquiries.
The better your agents’ time management skills, the faster their response and resolution times will be. As a manager, you can help your team prioritize tickets and reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks with automation (like Rules) and pre-made template resources (like Macros).
Also, remember that while industry-standard KPIs are helpful, you shouldn’t use them just because other organizations do so. All KPIs should be tailored to your customer service and business goals — whether that’s higher customer satisfaction, better customer engagement, more revenue, higher on-site conversion rates, or anything else.
First-time managers can easily find themselves overloaded with information about customer service management. So, we’ve gathered five essential tips to help you get started.
This doesn’t just mean monitoring agents’ performance. It means being there for them when they need you, whether it’s about work or their personal lives. Team members must know they can count on you when it matters.
That’s also why regular 1:1s are essential. They allow you to check in on everyone and detect potential problems early on.
Customer self-service combines technology and resources, allowing current and new customers to resolve issues independently. For example, FAQ pages, articles, videos, self-service chatbot flows, and other resources can help massively reduce repetitive support tickets.
Besides being beneficial for your agents, offering self-service is a must for customers. According to Statista, 88% of customers in the US expect companies to provide a self-service support portal.
Eli quotes this tip from The Power of Moments by Dan and Chip Heath in his guidebook.
The premise? Focus on finding and fixing the problems your customers face before trying to wow them with exceptional customer service experiences. That way, you’re laying a good foundation for your customer service strategy.
Any customer journey has its low points (i.e., valleys). You can identify these with data analytics or customer feedback. Once you’ve addressed the problems, you can move on to creating the “peaks” that form a truly memorable experience and build customer loyalty.
Agents can’t be expected to do their job well without the necessary resources. As their manager, it’s your job to give them:
Customer service is ultimately about people, which makes it easy to let subjective opinions affect your judgment. However, accurate data is a much more reliable gauge of how your team is performing.
It allows you to avoid biases and enables key outcomes like customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention to guide your decisions. We’ll explore some key metrics that can help you in this regard below.
Evaluating the impact of a customer service team can be a complex and nuanced task. There are many factors and metrics to consider, which can easily overwhelm first-time managers.
Below, we’re keeping things simple by focusing on three key ways to gauge your team’s performance.
The best way to get buy-in from stakeholders for your customer service program is to prove its impact on business outcomes. That’s why it’s a good idea to track metrics related to revenue, including:
This will help you prove customer service ROI and get buy-in for future new hires, software, or training.
Support interactions can massively impact customers’ overall experience with your brand. It’s crucial to keep a pulse on your customers’ opinions of them, especially since people who rate their experience with a company as very good are 94% more likely to buy again, according to Qualtrics.
You can do this by running regular customer satisfaction surveys. For example, you can run a quick, low-friction survey by asking customers, “On a scale from 1 to 5, how satisfied are you with your experience today?”.
Taking the total number of 4- or 5-star responses, dividing it by the total number of responses, and multiplying the result by 100 will give you a customer satisfaction (CSAT) score — a key metric for measuring support performance.
You can use many quantifiable metrics to gauge your team’s performance. Here are some of the most widely used ones:
Like with CSAT scores, Gorgias can track these metrics for you and give you a more nuanced view of them. For example, you can use our software to analyze average resolution time by channels, agents, time frames, and more.
Helpdesks are platforms that help manage all of your customer service interactions. Collaborate on managing, organizing, responding to, and reporting on customer tickets. Or, set up automation for key processes like ticket prioritization.
For example, Gorgias can enable your team to:
Customer self-service combines technology and resources that let customers resolve issues independently.
Self-service is great for your support team and your customers because:
Common self-service resources include:
Customer service policies and service level agreements (SLAs) are among the first documents new agents should learn.
Without these documents, customer service agents can’t be expected to do their job well. That’s why ensuring they’re detailed, well-written, and included in each agent’s mandatory training is essential.
All agents need a solid foundation of knowledge before they can start resolving problems quickly and consistently.
The specific training topics will differ depending on your business. However, most support courses and training should cover:
As you can see, a lot goes into being a good customer service manager. This guide will give you a good foundation for success in your journey, and you can get even more valuable tips in:
Finally, Gorgias can be your centralized customer service software that lays the foundation for a successful customer service management strategy. Our software can help your agents prioritize tickets, save time with automation, drive revenue with proactive customer service, and much more.