How to become a customer service manager (with duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you want to pursue a career that involves customer interaction and you have good leadership skills, it's worth thinking about working as a customer service manager. This rewarding role places you at the heart of customer service, where you respond to customer queries, help team members develop their skills and work towards strategic goals. Becoming a customer service manager takes a blend of skills and experience to thrive in the role. In this article, we discuss what a customer service manager does and explain how to become a customer service manager, alongside a summary of their key skills.

What does a customer service manager do?

A customer service manager works with a team of representatives to handle customer queries and improve customer satisfaction. Customer service managers lead their teams to success by ensuring they hit set targets or key performance indicators, and they also handle more complex customer queries or complaints. The role is quite varied and found in various industries and sectors. They carry out many different duties in their role, including:

  • Supervising a team: Customer service managers lead their teams and supervise them during customer interactions to ensure they meet customer expectations and follow company procedures. A good portion of the work involves working with individual team members to develop their skills and provide feedback.

  • Handling complaints: Working in a customer-facing environment means that handling complaints is also part of the job. They listen to complaints, understand problems and find ways to resolve issues to meet customer expectations and maintain the integrity of their organisation.

  • Creating reports: Another part of the work involves creating reports using customer service tools and applications. Customer service managers do this to glean insights about their team and find areas for improvement.

  • Hiring and onboarding new staff: Customer service managers are usually involved in the hiring process for new customer service staff, as they understand what qualities the team requires in candidates. They also perform onboarding to train new hires and prepare them for the job.

  • Providing feedback to senior leaders: As customer service managers work directly with customers, they tend to know more about customer issues and the overall customer experience. They provide senior leaders with this knowledge via feedback to help guide company goals and procedures.

  • Developing new policies: If there are any issues with existing policies that impact customers, customer service managers have good insight into this. This makes them a useful resource when changing policies or bringing in new ones.

Related: Q&A: what is customer service and why is it important?

How to become a customer service manager

If you're interested in this role, take a look at the steps below to learn how to become a customer service manager:

1. Obtain an undergraduate degree

Although a degree isn't essential for becoming a customer service manager, it's a fantastic way to prepare for the role and showcase your skills. You might want to look into a bachelor's degree course or a Higher National Diploma course to gain useful skills and advanced education to prepare for the job. Some of the most popular degree choices for this role include:

  • business studies

  • management studies

  • business administration

  • marketing

2. Gain customer service experience

For this role, having some experience dealing with customers is just as important as having a formal qualification, so find a way to gain more customer service experience. To begin, you may secure an entry-level position in a customer service role. This allows you to learn more about customer service and gives you a platform to develop the right skills in handling customer interactions.

It's typical for employers to look for candidates with at least three years of experience in customer service when filling management roles, so it's worth finding a customer service job while still in education to streamline your career development. Many job opportunities are available in customer service, ranging from call centres to retail work.

Related: What is customer service management? (Tools and benefits)

3. Look into certification courses

Certifications are a great way to demonstrate advanced, specialised knowledge and skills concerning specific roles. There are many different certifications to consider for customer service management roles, with many offering learning outcomes that advance your abilities in things like team leadership and analytics. Certifications are also a way of showing employers you take the initiative in your own learning. Below are some of the most popular certification courses for this type of role:

  • PMP Project Management Professional

  • Certified Scrum Master

  • Certified Business Process Leader

  • Certificate in Analytical Skills

  • Customer Care Management Certification

Related: What is the PMP certification? Plus requirements and tips

4. Obtain management experience

Strive to gain a good level of management experience when working towards a career as a customer service manager, as it shows employers you understand the role and what it takes to perform well in it. It's a little harder to obtain this type of experience as it typically stems from more senior roles in an organisation, such as supervisory or team leader positions. You might find opportunities to advance from a lower-level role or take on additional responsibilities to gain management experience.

Some things you might develop when gaining management experience include team leadership, training, project management and complaint handling. Ideally, you have at least three years of experience in a supervisory, team leadership or management role before advancing towards a customer service manager position.

Related: What does good customer service look like? (With examples)

5. Update your CV and start applying for customer service manager jobs

Once you have all of the right experience, skills and qualifications for the role, start applying for customer service manager jobs. To do this, make sure you have an up-to-date CV that demonstrates your abilities to employers. Consider asking a friend, colleague or family member to check your application before you submit it if you have any doubts about its effectiveness. Once you have this, apply for different job opportunities you find on job sites like Indeed.

Related: The ultimate guide to CV basics (with example)

What are the core skills of a customer service manager?

A customer service manager benefits from a variety of skills to perform well in their role. This includes soft skills, such as problem-solving and technical skills, like the use of specialist software for customer service. Below are some of the most important core skills for customer service managers to have:

  • Problem-solving skills: Customer service managers handle a variety of customer issues and queries in their work, so good problem-solving ensures they can manage customer expectations.

  • Knowledge of products and services: To effectively help customers, it's necessary to understand the services and products they're asking about. Therefore, customer service managers benefit from having an intimate knowledge of what their organisation offers to address any questions a customer may have.

  • Empathy skills: Customer service managers greatly benefit from empathy skills to understand customer queries and resonate with their situations. If a product isn't working as intended, then customer service managers might use empathy skills to relate with the customer and help them feel understood.

  • Organisation skills: This role requires a good level of organisation to handle team members effectively, track set targets and meet company goals. Customer service managers typically monitor an entire team, so good organisation skills ensure they track development and any issues more effectively.

  • Customer service tools: Being proficient in various customer service tools is also very useful, as customer service managers use these to glean insights and perform their duties. This includes internal communication tools and customer survey tools.

  • Communication skills: Customer service managers rely on strong communication skills to discuss important issues with team members and help their development. They also relay important insights to senior management about customer experiences.

  • Leadership skills: Since customer service managers usually work with a team of customer service representatives underneath them, leadership skills are very helpful. These skills ensure the team works towards set targets in a meaningful way and they maintain a high standard of work.

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