The customer service manager is the key element of proper and high-quality service. As for the functional responsibilities and tasks of personnel directly interacting with customers, they may vary depending on the business type. For simplicity, we provide the following examples:
- Trading - the main goal of a manager is to search for potential customers and create interaction with them in order to make a sale;
- Advertising - the ability to convince the client and find an individual approach to each customer;
- Service - effective organization of customer feedback and the ability to resolve any non-standard situations (merchandise returns, warranty repairs, etc.);
- The banking sector - the client advisory on the proposed banking products, agreements, etc.
However, regardless of the manager’s position and business type, you can derive a common parallel: the main task of a customer service manager is the motivation of a potential customer to perform certain actions (to purchase products or services). For these purposes, the manager may use various types of motivation - from positive presentation to negative models of motivation - and his success depends largely on the ability to identify the right motivation.
Motivation of client to purchase goods or services as the main task of customer service manager
One customer solely expects professional advice regarding the offered goods, the other wants help in making a decision, and the third hopes for long-term and fruitful cooperation. In addition, each of them expects the right and polite attitude, patience from sales personnel and personal attention. This is especially true in the area of after-sales service. Your client should clearly understand that the essence of his problem is clear to you, and that there is a possibility of resolving it.
By ensuring that the client feels confident you will gain some obvious advantages. In particular, you will have guaranteed the customer’s loyalty, which will foster partnership and cooperation. Cooperation based on mutual respect and trust, as well as an individual approach to each client - these are the main factors for the success of a customer service manager.
Moreover, the image and reputation of the company largely depend on the actions of customer service managers. Large companies take into account this factor and strictly monitor compliance with corporate standards and the code of ethics. When interacting with the client, the manager should not forget to be courteous and follow the rules of etiquette. Excessive assertiveness of a manager can scare off a potential customer, and this will certainly affect the prestige of the company. At the same time, it is necessary to convince the customer to proceed with the transaction and encourage prospects for further cooperation.
If the sales manager is able to find the so-called “golden middle ", the transaction will be closed, and the customer will become a regular customer. This skill depends on the personal characteristics of the personnel, because it brings to the forefront the human factor in the interaction with the customer. At the very least, the manager should know exactly his tasks and what to do in a particular non-standard situation. He or she should be a knowledgeable specialist, ready to engage in constructive dialogue and analyze information about potential customers. The manager who has such abilities will easily determine a customer’s purchasing expectations and will be able to make the most appropriate offer.
Interaction with potential customers
In most cases a sales manager’s job is to find potential customers and to have further interactions with them. He or she can work with clients in the office or by making phone calls - depending on the stage of interaction with the client, personnel responsibilities may vary.
For example, when interacting with the customer over the phone, the manager should encourage him to take the next step by visiting your office or store. Potential customer persuasion tactics should be formed, taking into account the target audience. It should be noted that telephone communication is a key step in the interaction with the customer because it creates the first impression of your company. So a long wait on the line can be the impetus to irritation and the formation of a negative image. The client, when calling your company for the first time, should not have such questions as “Have I dialed the wrong number?” or “Will you solve the problem here?”
As for visits directly to the shop or office, here the tasks of the sales manager are somewhat different than in a telephone conversation. A personal customer visit is evidence that he has a specific interest and is ready to commit to certain actions. The task of a staff manager is to choose the best option that suits both parties. The exact execution of functional responsibilities and the manager’s personal charm are the main aspects of interaction with the client.
Psychological types of customer service managers
If we consider the psychological types of customer service managers, we can distinguish three main categories:
- Melancholic managers - when communicating with this type of manager, the client begins to think that this deal will never be settled. As a result, he is ready for any proposal in order to make the deal as quickly as possible;
- Erudite managers - employees with an intellectual mindset and capable of deep analysis. The manager’s brilliance of knowledge and credibility of his statements can suppress the customer and force him to close a transaction;
- Compliant managers - this type of employee operates strictly according to instructions and adheres to corporate rules.
Selection of a certain psychological type of customer service manager is dependent on the specifics of the business. So for the trading sector, preference is given to compliant managers, while companies engaged in selling, installing and servicing software equipment are more interested in attracting erudite managers (although this psychological type is one of the most difficult in terms of corporate interaction). Such a manager is independent in decision-making and is not inclined to share his accrued experience with other professionals. Often, these erudite type employees are not satisfied with their position in the company.
It should be noted that the ideal customer service system should include different types of managers. The more psychologically diverse your target audience, the more diverse your approach should be in working with them Furthermore, current practice shows that the increasing popularity has received such position as a client’s personal manager.
The system of interaction with customers can be built on working with an indefinite number of customers, as well as working with specifically assigned customers. As a rule, staff managers work only with corporate clients - this may be the company’s partners and other legal entities. Also, there will always be a category of customers which, due to various factors (long-standing cooperation, the high profitability of transactions, etc.), have special status in the company. Interaction with this category of customers requires managers experienced in working with VIP clients. This customer is always looking for special conditions of cooperation and individual priority.
Functional responsibilities of customer service managers
The list of functional responsibilities and tasks of the customer service manager largely depends on the specifics of the company. At the same time, there are several key duties that are applicable in many sorts of activity. In particular:
- Systematic analysis of the target audience and identification of consumer expectations, their focus and categories;
- Precise planning of interaction with the customer, including templates and methods of communication with customers;
- Coordination of activities to expand the customer base;
- Structural analysis and forecasts of the loyalty of potential customers, their customer capacity calculation (material and financial situation);
- Conducting of preliminary discussions and negotiations in order to identify customer needs and to overcome possible objections;
- Drafting of contracts and the related coordination, involvement of qualified professionals (lawyers, economists, etc.);
- Dealing with customer complaints in the after-sales service;
- Preparing and signing of contracts on behalf of the company;
- Active cooperation with regular customers and the introduction of incentives systems for this category of customers;
- Organization of work with a special category of customers (VIP customers), including the development of special arrangements (priority service, discount, etc.);
- Recommendation and consulting work with clients, organization of specialized trade fairs, exhibitions and presentations of a new product or service;
- Effective communication with all the structural units in order to identify problematic areas and compliance with the client’s interests at all stages of cooperation;
- Establishing effective feedback from customers and clients. Working with claims, identifying the causes of customers’ dissatisfaction, analyzing incoming calls and taking steps to prevent difficult situations in the future. Taking actions to preserve business contacts and partnerships;
- Establishing, maintaining and regular updating of information in the customer database;
- Analysis and study of the interaction policy with customers in competing companies;
- Work on improving customer service system by submitting proposals to management;
- Maintain strict reporting on the results of their work and with consideration of consumers’ expectations.
All the responsibilities and tasks listed above can be used as a basis for the development of the job guidelines for customer service managers. You can use the complete list or exclude certain items in accordance with the specifics of your business and the activities of the company.
As for the corporate status of customer service managers, they can be classified as first-line and middle managers. If a manager supervises several employees, he is obliged to organize the work of his subordinates in strict accordance with corporate regulations. His responsibilities can include both the development of methods of interaction with customers and the distribution of tasks between staff, as well as proper control over the execution of orders.