Article | 8 min read

What does a customer service manager do? Key responsibilities and skills

Learn what it takes to become a successful customer service manager, and get tips from business leaders on how to land the role.

By Stella Inabo, Contributing Writer

Last updated April 17, 2023

Many customer service agents reach a point in their careers where they decide to transition into a new role. Those next steps could take you in many directions: sales, customer success, or people ops, to name a few. But one of the most likely moves is to become a customer service manager.

After years of helping customers find answers to their queries and honing your customer service skills, you’re ready to take on more responsibility. But managing a team of agents and consistently delivering excellent customer experiences isn’t easy.

So, what is a customer service manager? To become a great manager, you must know how to deliver top-notch customer support and possess the communication and leadership skills to supervise a team. It’s not for everyone, but customer service management is a fulfilling, challenging role for the right person.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

What is a customer service manager?

The customer service manager leads the customer service department through its daily routine. The goals for customer service managers revolve around helping the department succeed and improving results. They provide comprehensive customer service training as well as the tools and guidance necessary to deliver great customer experiences.

Customer service manager responsibilities and duties

So, what does a customer service manager do? As head of the department, the customer service manager is responsible for its overall success. Customer service manager duties include:

  • Compiling and analyzing data to measure performance
  • Reporting on department performance to upper management
  • Conducting market research to stay up to date on trends
  • Overseeing day-to-day operations of the customer service team
  • Establishing department standards and procedures
  • Setting customer service objectives and goals
  • Hiring and training new personnel

Customer service manager job description + example

A customer service manager’s job description will vary depending on the hiring company’s industry and unique goals. But you can refer to the example below for a snapshot of what the role can entail:

Customer service manager description:

Oversees the daily operations of the customer service department, leading customer service agents in successfully achieving company initiatives. Essential responsibilities include training agents, retaining customers, and coordinating with other department heads.

Customer service manager responsibilities:

  • Builds strong relationships while acting as a liaison between the customer and the corporate office
  • Designs and implements training programs for the department
  • Collaborates with other departments to achieve organizational goals
  • Collects and analyzes customer service department metrics
  • Conducts performance reviews of subordinates
  • Leads quarterly meetings with department heads
  • Executes related duties as needed

Minimum qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field
  • Five years of experience in customer service
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite
  • SaaS experience preferred
  • Highly organized and detail-oriented
  • Demonstrated ability in project management

What does a customer service manager do?

Five roles of a customer service manager are training agents, sharing feedback, creating reports, improving processes, and advocating for customers.

A customer service manager leads a team of customer service agents and works with them to resolve customer issues and ensure customer satisfaction. The customer service manager’s role is not to be confused with a customer success manager, who helps customers derive maximum value from your product or service to achieve their goals.

Supervise agents and minimize burnout

As the head of your team, you’ll set and maintain the customer service standard. Like a coach, you’ll pay close attention to your agents’ performance on the field and give them constructive feedback on how to improve.

Agents have demanding responsibilities that can take a mental toll over time. As their supervisor, it is your job to delegate workloads to ensure agents can effectively execute their required tasks and not become overwhelmed.

Handle customer complaints to improve retention

Customer service managers often get called in to assist with difficult customers. Although no one enjoys dealing with angry customers, it’s your job to calm them down, investigate the problem, and recommend solutions. Your success in this capacity plays a determining factor in retaining business for the company.

Prepare reports and draw insights

With the help of a robust service tool, you’ll create customer service reports that provide insights into service requests and your team’s performance across channels. Your reports will help your team (and the company) identify areas of improvement, bringing them closer to meeting your customers’ expectations and achieving goals.

Hire and train service agents

You’ll be in charge of hiring new customer service reps. After picking the right people to join the team, you must equip them with the tools and knowledge they need to help customers. Set new hires up for success with a tailored training program that will help retain talent and produce superior customer service.

Relay feedback from customers to leadership and other teams

Customer service managers serve as a bridge between the customer and the company. Leadership and other departments depend on your reports to stay aligned with customer needs and expectations. You must be capable of effectively communicating customer feedback about your products or services to spark action.

Improve policies and processes

When obsolete policies and complex processes stand in the way of your customers getting the help they need, it’s your job to suggest a better way of doing things. This could include recommending removing an outdated return policy or adding new documentation to your knowledge base articles so your customers can find the information they need.

Help the business be more customer-focused

The customer service manager is a client-facing position, so you’ll have a unique perspective on the blindspots that other departments and customers can’t see. Use your platform to influence company leadership to enact customer-focused changes—don’t just focus on the bottom line.

Download a sample customer service manager resume

Ready to take your career to the next level by applying for a customer service manager position? Learn how top candidates format their resumes to stand out and get hired with this example resume.

What are the qualifications and skills needed to be a customer service manager?

Three qualifications of a customer service manager include having soft skills, technical skills, and industry certifications.

Although having a degree might enhance your resume, what matters most is your ability to serve customers and manage a team. Having a vast range of soft skills will also help you transition into a customer service manager role.

But this isn’t an entry-level job, so most employers are looking for applicants with several years of experience in customer service or a related field (like retail or hospitality). According to Maya Rotenberg, VP of marketing at Stoke Talent, recruiters look for candidates who’ve held jobs that teach a basic understanding of customer expectations and behavior.

“Recruiters look for candidates who’ve held jobs that teach a basic understanding of customer expectations and behavior.”Maya Rotenberg, VP of marketing at Stoke Talent

We spoke with other business leaders for their perspectives on what it takes to become a successful customer service manager. They recommend highlighting the following characteristics, skills, and certifications on your resume to stand out from the rest.

Customer service manager traits and soft skills

The skills listed on your resume can make or break your chances of landing a job as a customer service manager. Remember: You’ll need a balance of people, management, and service skills for this role.

Customer service managers should possess:

  • Communication skills: To succeed in customer service management, you must be a clear and persuasive speaker, using the right tone of voice when dealing with customers and employees. You should also be able to practice active listening while interacting with customers and team members.
  • Motivational skills: You should step up and find ways to lift spirits when team morale is low. Since people follow your example, you’ll also have to encourage yourself to keep going when times are tough.
  • Customer-centric attitude: The customer is at the heart of customer service, so you always need to put the customer first. Karla Juric, a customer support manager at Better Proposals, says the customer support team is the customer’s “safe space.” As the manager, you’re the person they turn to when they’ve run out of options.
  • Patience: Handling customer complaints and supervising service agents can be difficult. Remaining calm and objective in all situations is a must-have skill.
  • Problem-solving skills: You’ll need to identify bad customer service, figure out what’s wrong, and find helpful solutions. Gabriel Dungan, CEO at ViscoSoft, looks for customer service manager resumes with keywords like “assisted customers,” “overcame (a challenge or issue),” and “resolved.”
  • Product knowledge: As a customer service manager, people will ask you many questions about your company’s product and how it works. You can only help your customers and team members understand the product if you know it inside and out.
  • Empathy: You must be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes and acknowledge their feelings. According to Dungan, empathy is important for successfully leading a team. “The advice that I’d give to an aspiring customer service manager is to learn empathy,” he says. “As a manager, you’ll be dealing with both customers and employees whose emotions are running high.”
  • Organizational skills: In this role, customers and agents will pull you in many different directions on any given day. You’ll have to focus on the right things and direct your attention to the problems that most affect your customers and team.

Technical skills

You’ll use many support tools as a customer service manager to make your workflow faster and more efficient. You’ll need to understand how they work and how to leverage them to help your customers. You’ll also have to know how to use management and communication tools to serve your buyers better and work seamlessly with your team.

Make sure to mention if you have experience working with:

Industry certifications

Certifications help you improve your skills and make your resume stand out. They can also increase your chances of negotiating a higher salary in a new position and gaining greater responsibilities.

Consider obtaining the following certifications to set yourself apart from other candidates:

How to become a customer service manager

Steps to becoming a customer service manager include getting a relevant degree, gaining experience, training on relevant software, exceeding goals, and building your resume.

Many paths lead to becoming a customer service manager. Below are some steps you should follow to make your journey as smooth as possible.

  • Get a relevant degree

    A bachelor’s degree is a common requirement for becoming a manager, and having one will help you stay competitive among other job seekers. Many colleges offer majors in customer service management, but it isn’t the only option. Broader degrees, like business administration and hospitality management, will also get your foot in the door.

  • Gain experience as an agent

    There aren’t many companies that want to hire a manager who has no work experience in the field. Working as a customer service agent gives you first-hand knowledge of what your future subordinates go through daily. It will give you the empathy, insights, and skills needed to succeed as a customer service manager.

  • Train on customer service software

    While working as a customer service agent, you’ll likely use customer service software to perform your duties. Learn the ins and outs of the platform to level up your department’s capabilities, like implementing customer experience software. Take online tutorials if there’s software your company doesn’t use that could be relevant at other companies.

  • Exceed department goals and track positive feedback

    Demonstrate your ability to provide good customer service by exceeding expectations, like closing more tickets than is required. It’s difficult to measure the human aspect of the position by numbers alone, so it’s a good idea to keep track of the positive feedback you receive from customers.

    Whether you want to be promoted internally or move on to another company, upper management and hiring teams will want to see proven successes to back up your claims.

  • Build your resume and apply for management roles

    Incorporate your new skills, certifications, and experience into your resume in a way that highlights why you’re the best candidate to lead a customer service department. When applying for jobs, consider the field you’d most like to work in, as it’ll influence your overall job satisfaction. For instance, if you’re passionate about constantly learning about new products or services, a position in the tech industry might be a good fit.

From service agent to customer support manager

Now that you know all the qualifications you need to transition into this challenging yet rewarding role, what’s next?

One way to advance into a customer service manager role is to enlist the help of your current manager. “Make it known to your current manager that you are interested in a management position, and ask for opportunities to learn the management side of things,” advises Rolf Bax, chief human resources officer at

Learning from an experienced professional will fast-track your progress and help you land the job of your dreams. Don’t forget to use self-guided learning on industry trends to ensure your organization delivers customer-oriented support.

Download a sample customer service manager resume

Ready to take your career to the next level by applying for a customer service manager position? Learn how top candidates format their resumes to stand out and get hired with this example resume.

Download a sample customer service manager resume

Ready to take your career to the next level by applying for a customer service manager position? Learn how top candidates format their resumes to stand out and get hired with this example resume.

Download the free template