Customer services manager
Business & Corporate
Customer services managers ensure that all staff work to a company's standard in satisfying each customer's requirement, enquiry or complaint, pleasantly and efficiently. They are responsible for a team who may work from a central desk in a call centre, department store or supermarket handling queries from customers, either in person or through telephone enquiries.
Customer services managers fulfil an important role as they try to ensure that the needs of the customer are met and that purchasers of the company's products or services continue to buy them. Some customer services managers work in the public sector making sure that users of public services are satisfied.
Typical job responsibilities include:
- Being responsible for dealing with customer enquiries, problems or complaints
- Ensuring that the company's standards of service in satisfying customers' needs are being met
- Setting targets and implementing different motivational techniques to ensure that staff reach them
- Monitoring performance of team members to ensure that they are giving good service to customers
- Forecasting and anticipating customer needs and helping to prepare plans for improving customer service
- Hiring and training customer services assistants
- Overseeing the tills and checkout operation in organisations such as supermarkets
- Dealing with more complex and difficult enquiries and complaints
- Contributing to customer service policies and quality standards
- Preparing reports for senior managers
Customer services managers work in a variety of settings including retail, commercial, utilities and the public sector. The hours of work will vary depending on the type of organisation they work for. Many work from 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, although some Saturday work may be required.
A good general standard of fitness is required as they have to cope with being on their feet for some of the time, moving from area to area. Sometimes you may be required to stand or sit in one place for long periods of time. Opportunities for promotion and overall prospects can be better in larger companies or organisations. However, to gain promotion it is often necessary to move to work in another part of the country.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for customer services managers
- Able to lead, manage and motivate people
- Able to show initiative
- An ability to get on well with people and build relationships
- Be organised, decisive and able to work under pressure
- Able to deal with customer enquiries, problems or complaints in a calm, polite and efficient way
- Able to make decisions and solve problems
- Able to measure and analyse your organisation's performance against it quality standards
- Able to deal with customers who are angry or upset
- Able to be patient, resilient and flexible
- Excellent level of verbal and written communication skills
- Confident and resilient
- A good telephone manner if you are dealing with customers over the telephone
- Smart appearance as you will be representing your company
- An ability to show empathy with customers and clients
- Sound IT skills
Pay And Opportunities
Examples of typical employers of customer services managers:
- The retail trade
- The transport industry
- Hotel, catering and hospitality industry
- Banks and building societies
- Local authorities
- Insurance companies
- Gas, electricity, phone and water companies
Qualifications and training required
There are a number of routes into this career. For this reason customer services managers tend to have a wide range of qualifications. The preferred route will depend on the type of company you are working for. It is possible to get a position as a trainee customer services manager with 5 GCSEs at grades 9 – 4 (A* - C) including English and Maths. Some companies may prefer candidates who have A levels and others will prefer graduates.
Suitable degree subjects would include Business Studies, Retail Management, Marketing and Management. Entry into a degree course requires a minimum of 5 GCSEs grades 9 – 4 (A*- C) and 2 A levels. Many companies may also consider applicants who have taken HND/Foundation Degrees. For entry at HND level one A level is required. There are no formal entry requirements for a Foundation Degree but students will need to be able to show that they can cope with the academic content of the course.
It may also be possible to secure an Advanced Level or Degree Level Apprenticeship for entry into this work. For an Advanced Level Apprenticeship a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 9 – 4 (A* -C) are required and for a Degree Level Apprenticeship an additional 2 A levels are required.
Relevant BTEC Level 3 National qualifications would also be acceptable for entry into Advanced and Degree level Apprenticeships as well as HND and Foundation Degree courses.
Successful applicants can expect to receive in-house training from their company specific to that industry. Some companies offer a graduate training scheme. Other companies will provide NVQ Certificates in Customer Services at Levels 1 and 2 or NVQ Diplomas in Customer Services at Levels 3 and 4. On qualification it is possible to apply to become a Member of the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) which is the professional body for customer service employees.