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Career Information for a Degree in Customer Service Management

Customer service management is generally an associate's or bachelor's degree program. Continue reading for an overview of the program, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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A degree in customer service management can prepare graduates to enter the job market and pursue careers as customer service managers, food service managers, or lodging managers.

Essential Information

Customer service managers oversee the work of customer service representatives in settings such as banks, call centers or retail stores. While in school for customer service, they study communication, ethics, economics and leadership. Career titles include general customer service manager, lodging manager and food service manager.

Education Requirements Associate's or bachelor's degree, depending on industry and employer
Other Requirements Previous customer service experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% (for administrative services managers)
Median Salary (2016)** $51,335

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

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Career Options

College programs for customer service typically lead to an associate or bachelor's degree and prepare candidates to work as a company's client-interaction and conflict-resolution representatives. Seniority and experience may lead to promotions and ultimately help an employee gain the title of manager. Some programs specifically target customer service management, and focus on leadership and human relations principles. Another way to prepare for a managerial role is to complete voluntary certification through an organization like NRF Foundation, which offers the National Professional Certification in Customer Service.

General Customer Service Management

Customer service managers ensure that company representatives who interact with the public are trained to dealing with clients, customers or consumers in a helpful and productive manner. One goal in these interactions may be to encourage return business, while another common agenda is to maximize the business's profit. They may be responsible for formulating policy, creating training programs and evaluating staff performance. Customer service managers may find employment with retail or wholesale stores, call centers, banks and similar organizations. They might also work for manufacturing, finance or service-based industries. According to January 2016 data from Payscale.com, most customer service managers earned a median salary of $51,335 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 10% job growth in customer service representatives from 2014-2024.

Lodging Customer Service Management

Hotels, motels, inns and other lodging establishments need effective management and customer service in order to offer a first-rate guest experience. Guests' first impressions are very important, and the service they receive at the check-in desk is crucial. Therefore, managers must ensure quality and consistency at point-of-contact and point-of-sale. Lodging managers direct such operations as check-in service, catering, housekeeping and dining services. In large establishments or hotels, lodging managers may have specialized duties, while those working for smaller hotels may be responsible for carrying out many different types of tasks. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that jobs for lodging managers were expected to grow at a rate of eight percent from 2014-2024. May 2015 salary data from the BLS shows that lodging managers' median annual salaries were $49,720.

Food Customer Service Management

Food service managers are responsible for everything from planning menus to ordering food and hiring and firing staff. Not only do food service managers manage the operations of food service venues such as restaurants, but they also work in places like schools, hospitals and hotels. In limited-service establishments, the food service manager not only governs front-of-house concerns, but they also oversee food preparation. Food service managers may be in charge of assistant managers and executive chefs, who in turn are responsible for the labor of other workers such as sous chefs, cooks and servers. These jobs are expected to grow five percent from 2014-2024, reported the BLS. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for these workers was $48,690.

Although a degree may not always be required to pursue a career in food, lodging, or customer service management, training in management can prepare individuals to resolve conflicts, oversee staff, anticipate client needs and improve policies and training programs. The job growth in these fields is expected to range from 5% to 10% from 2014-2024, and postsecondary training may help graduates increase their job prospects.

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