Customer service is a great field to work in, especially since it’s more critical than ever for organizations to be customer-centric. This article is for you if you are evaluating if the customer service industry is right for you or you’re already functioning in a customer service role and want to advance your career, if you fall under any of those clauses, then read on to get all the necessary knowledge to get ahead in this amazing career path.
Having a Customer Service ‘Background’
As with every existing career, customer service requires specific skills, background experiences and knowledge to successfully function in that role.
it’s necessary to ask yourself if you can be competitive as a customer service agent if granted the opportunity.
Here are some of the skills recruiters look out for when interviewing a candidate for a customer service role:
Soft Skills for Customer Service
- Active Listening
- Conflict Resolution
Hard Skills for Customer Service
- CRM Experience
- Product Knowledge
- Persuasive Writing
- Documentation Skills
- Phone System Experience
Everyone doesn’t share same personality, so some people may be more interested in certain positions and job roles based on their personalities. It’s paramount to consider your personality when considering a career path since you’d be putting so much of yourself into that job.
Below, we’d be highlighting specific roles, their responsibilities, and how they fit into the customer service career path.
Customer Service Career Growth
Rep or Associate (Entry-Level)
Reps or Associates are the front-liners, they’re responsible for answering questions and responding to complaints of customers.
Specialists although mid-level, they also deal one-on-one with customers, but they’ve additional subject matter expertise that equips them to handle escalations.
Team Lead (Mid-Level or Managerial)
Team leads supervises everyone on the team while also working with their own book of customers. They are charged with implementing processes and initiatives to support the team at large in addition to handling any people operation tasks.
Typically, managers support a whole team or department by providing needed training, setting goals, and improving operational efficiency from a macro level.
A director or other member of senior/executive management in customer service are charged with driving the mission, vision, and strategy of customer service, communications, and/or experience.
How Can You Grow Your Career in Customer Service?
One of the best ways to grow your career in customer service is by understanding the different roles out there and developing the needed skills to succeed in them. Below is an example of some common positions you’ll find along with a customer service role progression:
Customer Service Representative Entry-Level
Customer service representatives are the frontline employees on the customer service team. They’re given the responsibility of reaching out to potential and existing clients with product offers, information about the company, and general updates. Unlike a role that solely deals with responding to customer communication, CSR has a more proactive job that aims to solve problems even before the customer recognizes them.
Typically CSR works in offices or call centers and report to a customer service manager. Their mediums of communication with clients are mainly phone calls, live chats, email, and social media. In some companies, CSR are assigned to specific accounts, yet work with other members on the service team to help every customer.
The CSR role usually is an entry-level position on most customer service teams. However, since the field of customer service is still relatively new, the importance of this position may vary for each company. Once most CSR master this position, they tend to move on to specialized customer support or other related roles within the team.
(Remote) Customer Support Representative (Entry-Level)
A customer support representative also acts as the customer’s first point of contact on a customer service team. They’re charged with the responsibility of responding to customer inquiries via phone calls, emails, live chats, and social media direct messages. It’s important to note that Customer support is different from customer service, customer support is more reactive than proactive as it handles responsive communication to customers’ needs.
The position of a customer support rep is often entry-level in many organization, but it’s very commonplace for individuals who work as customer support reps to stay in this role for many years as many organizations are highly dependent on their support teams, and may find it difficult to constantly train new reps. Instead, they focus on incentivizing their support reps to prevent potential turnover.
There are companies where this position is more of a stepping stone to taking on more advanced customer service or support roles as they don’t mind training and retraining new reps.
Product Expert (Mid-Level)
Product experts or engineer solves customer problems that escalate beyond the training of a frontline rep. They possess a comprehensive knowledge of the product and that’s utilized to solve the company’s hardest support cases. Such employees work on major bugs, glitches, and product flaws that can’t be addressed in a normal customer service case.
Implementation Specialist (Mid-Level)
The implementation specialist is charged with ensuring that each customer worked with has a positive experience with the product. They achieve this by assisting in the implementation and execution of the product or solution on a project-by-project basis.
Customer Success Manager (Managerial)
A customer success manager is given the opportunity to work one-on-one with customers as partners. They help customers with product onboarding, implementing tools, and creating sales and marketing campaigns. Employees who work as customer success managers tend to have a diverse background in customer success along with years of experience with working with customers.
Customer success managers are charged with following up with their customers regularly, keeping tabs on their progress, and acting similarly to a trusted advisor.
Customer Service Manager (Managerial)
A customer service manager is charged with leading the customer service team which can sometimes include both the success and the support teams. They are also in charge of hiring and training new reps on their team and act as a resource whenever reps have questions.
Customer service managers usually handle the records of their customers and employees and set a positive tone for a successful team.
Customer Service Operations Manager (Managerial)
A customer service operations manager is the individual responsible for the overall operations and efficiency of the customer service department. This includes the operational procedure, management of labor, interviewing and training of new hires, and performance reviews.
A customer service operations manager is in charge of budgeting and involved in strategic planning for the department. Which includes analyzing trends, performance, and processes as well as creating forecasts for executive management.
VP of Customer Success or Chief Customer Officer (Executive-Level)
The VP of Customer Success also known as Chief Customer Officer works together with the rest of the executive board. They are charged with heading all the customer teams within the organization, even though their main responsibility is to understand the customer inside and out and represent the customer’s vision to the rest of the executive board.
Director of Customer Experience (Executive-Level)
The Director of Customer Experience is charged with the responsibility of providing the strategy, planning, and execution of customer experience as an organization builds a customer-centric culture. This requires a deep understanding of each team/department within the customer service arm of the organization as well as the customer journey for each buyer segment.
They are allowed to set goals based on the organization’s customer experience metrics and see support initiatives enacted across all teams in order to meet those goals.