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Building your network and other strategies to grow as a Customer Service manager

Not long after the end of last year’s holiday peak season, the Coronavirus pandemic hit. Given no time to recover, customer service teams were immediately faced with a challenge, this time an unprecedented one. Like many other businesses, some of our customers had to scale operations exponentially to be able to handle an ever-growing number of customer requests.

During these tough times, we have seen managers grow and evolve tremendously as they look for new and creative solutions to their teams’ problems, while, in some cases, having to grow their teams and business operations significantly.

Below are some tips to inspire your personal growth as a customer service manager.

Strengthen your network

One of our customers recently asked us if we could put them in touch with customer service managers from other companies, to compare realities, share experiences, and exchange information and knowledge they could eventually apply to their own customer service team.

This has proven tremendously useful so we think you should do the same. Why not get in touch with your vendors or partners and ask them to introduce you to relevant people in your line of work? While joining digital communities is great, finding a local community that allows you to talk to someone in person and maybe even go to their on-site operation and see how they work can be equally beneficial.

And don’t forget to keep it real and not compare yourself and your team to others that might operate on a completely different scale. Exchanging experiences is useful, but what works for some might not work for others. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to customer service, so to truly succeed, focus on what works best for you and your team.

(Re)connect with peers

If you’ve either managed a smaller team, have been promoted from a team leader position in the past, or even if you’ve switched from a different operational role, there are sure to be people you know from your past experiences that you would benefit from reconnecting with.

Maybe you met someone at an industry conference or attended one of their speaking sessions. Although in these kinds of environments people may not seem as vulnerable, everyone in the industry faces similar challenges. You can also reach out to managers from brands you follow. Reaching out to someone you admire, or to a company you’re a loyal customer to, is a valid approach, especially if you are trying to connect with someone in a similar position as yours.

And finally, ask your friends or peers for useful connections in your area. You might be surprised by the people you can meet by not underestimating the power of your network.

Continuous learning through active communities

Striving to learn more about your job is always a good habit to have, especially if you’re in a management position. You can do so by regularly gathering feedback from your team members — agents, team leads, and any other functions alike — and understand what is working well, what is not working so well, and see where operations need to be improved.

But you should also look beyond your own company. There are several customer service communities out there you can join, such as Support Driven, which has a dedicated Slack channel where people share their pains but also best practices, as well as blogs and other publications by a lot of companies that share relevant information for anyone operating in the customer service business.

Being successful in a managing position is challenging enough, even more so through difficult times. But don’t worry; whether you’re managing a small team or a big one, if this is your first experience as a customer service manager or if you’re a seasoned professional — as long as you foster a strong community, they’ll be sure to help you navigate things as you are there for your team.