Ever found a nut shell in your granola bar, or bought a new gadget and then not been able to figure out how to use it? Customer support is an important service that businesses provide. Companies hire customer support managers to ensure that when you have these sorts of problems, there will be someone on the other end of the telephone line who can help you.
Leading a team of customer service representatives, the customer support manager helps businesses retain customers, leading to repeat business. The customer support manager hires, trains and motivates the team to convert customer problems into customer satisfaction. In general, customer support managers should have an associate's or bachelor's degree in a business- or management-related area.
|Required Education||Associate's or bachelor's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||10% (for customer service representatives)|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)*||$52,630 (for first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers); $38,310 (for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers)|
Sources: *the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Customer Support Manager Job Overview
The customer support manager is the head of the team that has contact with the end user of a product or service. In the case of customer problems, a good customer service representative can turn complaints into long-term repeat business. Customer service is usually handled by phone through a call center, although some businesses have face-to-face customer support workers on site. Call centers may be part of the company or they may be outsourced to a business that specializes in customer service.
Customer support managers are responsible for hiring and training their team. They create and implement new strategies for customer satisfaction and increasing sales. They must keep the team focused and motivated and reward achievements. They report their department's results to higher management and are held accountable for their team's results.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2015, first-line supervisors of retail workers bring in median salaries $38,310, and supervisors of office and administrative support workers earn a median wage of $52,630 per year. While the BLS does not have employment growth information posted for either of these occupations, they do predict that customer service representative employment will grow by 10% over the next 10 years.
Education for Customer Support Managers
While customer service jobs may only require a high school diploma, managers usually need to have an associate or bachelor's degree. Degrees in business or management are good choices. Some companies require the customer support manager to have a degree in a field that matches their product or service. For example, the manager of a software company's customer service team may need a degree in computers. Sometimes a customer service representative who does not have a degree may work their way up to the position of manager.
Companies usually provide training on their products and policies. Many companies have an in-house management training program and recruit trainees on college campuses. These programs require a bachelor's degree in most cases.
Managers can also continue their training at seminars and classes offered by private companies, colleges or universities. Many times the company will pay for the training or contribute to the manager's continued education. These courses keep the manager up to date on current trends and theories of management. Seminars may explore topics such as maintaining staff motivation, improving communication and leadership skills.
Customer support managers ensure that representatives understand how to help customers with their problems, concerns, and complaints. Managers or supervisors in office positions tend to have a higher income than those working with retail staff. Management positions generally require relevant higher education.