Should I Become a Customer Service Supervisor?
A customer service supervisor directs and monitors the work of customer service representatives and other employees to ensure they stay on task and perform their work duties correctly by monitoring, coaching, and giving performance appraisals. Additionally, when new operational guidelines are created, the customer service supervisor is in charge of departmental training and implementation. This occupation becomes stressful when the need arises to deal with escalated customer issues that a representative or agent was unable to resolve.
Although not always required, applicants with an associate's or bachelor's degree have the best job prospects. Previous work experience in customer service is also beneficial.
|Key Skills||Strong written and oral communication skills; ability to prioritize, delegate, and motivate|
|Degree Level||Associate or bachelor's degree often preferred|
|Experience||Customer service experience|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$42,900 (for all supervisors of retail workers)|
Sources: Job postings (October and November 2012), *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Now let's look at the steps you to become a customer service supervisor:
Step 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree
The exact educational requirements for this career vary greatly by employer. Although a high school diploma or GED is sufficient, many employers may prefer customer service supervisors with college backgrounds. A bachelor's or associate degree in business is useful for this career. Coursework required for business majors includes psychology, management, marketing, communication, leadership, and statistical analysis. Generally, the more education an applicant has, the less work experience is required by employers in order to qualify for a position as a customer service supervisor.
Step 2: Gain Customer Service Experience
For customer service supervisors, experience in customer service typically supplements college coursework. Some customer service supervisors start out at a lower-level position, such as a customer service representative or sales agent and work their way up to the supervisory level within the same company.
While gaining experience, use this time to improve work skills and knowledge. Skills needed to succeed as a customer service supervisor include communication, customer service, team management, scheduling, and employee relations. Additionally, possessing a familiarity with the products or services the organization provides is crucial for explaining them to workers and customers. In fact, employers generally like to promote workers from within the company because those workers are familiar with the products, policies, and procedures of the company.
Employers also tend to prefer promoting workers who demonstrate an ability to take initiative and who are flexible with their availability. Willingness to work non-traditional hours is a must because many customer service departments are open late or during holidays.
Step 3: Advance Your Career
After some time and experience as a customer service representative, aspiring supervisors can apply for available openings as they arise. If they acquire the necessary skills for management, they are likely candidates for advancement within the industry.
One way to improve your chances of advancement is to take advantage of training opportunities. Some companies allow promotable customer service representatives to shadow supervisors in order to learn the tasks and ensure the position will be a good fit. Willingness to participate in such opportunities and excelling at assigned tasks gives a representative an edge when a supervisor position becomes available.
Experience in customer service and training are generally required for a career as a customer service supervisor, and while not mandatory, a degree in business can improve advancement opportunities.