Customer Service Manager
Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service
Required Education, Credentials, and Licenses
- High school diploma or GED
- 3+ years of experience
Preferred Education and Credentials
- Associate or bachelor’s degree
- Knowledge of HVAC/R products
- Customer service
- Telephone and computer usage
- Managing and training staff
Customer service managers serve as heads of customer service teams, leading and directing activities to ensure customer satisfaction. They can also work in call centers to plan, develop, and manage the overall call-center strategy.
Customer service managers need analytical and planning skills to anticipate demand for customer support and maintain adequate staffing levels. They may hire staff as needed and be responsible for overseeing the dispatch process to ensure appropriately skilled technicians are assigned to service calls. Customer service managers also assess the effectiveness of the call center workers that they supervise by reviewing documented customer inquiry cases, online chats, and recorded telephone calls. They track performance indicators to determine if goals are being met. Based on those reviews, customer service managers coach their staff by offering guidance to improve performance and increase service appointment volume (e.g., suggesting effective ways to have an initial customer inquiry result in a service appointment). Customer service managers may help develop an employee training program that could include both soft skills (e.g., teaching customer service and interpersonal skills to all staff within their organization) and formal training materials for their team, such as call scripts that they draft or edit.
This work can be fast paced, so customer service managers must be organized and able to multi-task and prioritize requests among competing demands. They need to be effective problem-solvers and detail-oriented to resolve customer complaints in a timely manner and with superior quality, knowing when to refer issues to upper management or other departments. Within the HVAC/R field, being knowledgeable about the market, products, and services enhances customer service managers’ awareness of customer needs.
Fulfilling the job duties of a customer service manager requires competence using telephones and computers, including spreadsheets, word processing, and presentation software. Experience with customer relationship management software is also useful – customer service managers need to be effective communicators. In addition to engaging with customers and managing their team, they may collaborate with technical product service and support staff, product development teams, or warehouse workers.
Customer service managers typically work full-time in offices. Shifts may include evenings, weekends, and holidays, and even overnight shifts for those who work in call centers that operate 24 hours a day.
According to the New York State Department of Labor, there are approximately 99,800 supervisors of office and administrative workers, including customer service managers, working across all types of businesses in New York State. Opportunities for employment are expected to be favorable through 2028; the Department projects an increase of 340 jobs between 2018 and 2028.
Entering the Field
Customer service manager jobs may be accessible to candidates with earned degrees ranging from a high school diploma or vocational training through a bachelor’s degree. Employers typically look to hire candidates with at least three years of experience in a customer service role, and additional experience may be required for workers with lower levels of educational attainment. Prior work in a supervisory role may also be valued by employers. Workers who want to become customer service managers in the HVAC/R field benefit from having existing knowledge of the industry’s products and services. For example, workers trained in the HVAC/R trade, who start their careers as service technicians and then bring the insights they gained from that experience to a position as a customer service representative, could eventually advance to manage the customer service team. Similarly, mechanical technicians with experience supporting the design and testing of HVAC/R equipment could apply that knowledge in a more customer service-oriented role.
In New York State, the median wage for customer service managers and other supervisory office workers is approximately $71,600. Entry-level workers earn about $49,800 and experienced workers earn about $89,600.
Annual Wage (Q1 2021 dollars, rounded to 100s) – Statewide and by Labor Market Region
|New York State||$49,800||$71,600||$89,600|
|Central New York||$41,800||$61,000||$76,900|
|New York City||$54,200||$78,500||$98,000|
|Western New York||$42,300||$60,100||$73,300|
Source: New York State Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Survey, SOC Code 43-1011 (First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers)
Any company that sells products or services supported by a call center or team of customer service representatives is likely to hire customer service managers. Within the HVAC/R field, employers could include manufacturers of HVAC/R parts and controls, wholesale or retail distributors of HVAC/R equipment, or contractors who install and service systems. Alternative job titles that employers may use for this role include customer service supervisor and call center manager. Search online job advertisements for any of those job titles using keywords such as “HVAC”, “heating”, “air conditioning”, “refrigeration”, or “customer service” when searching for opportunities in the HVAC/R field.
Customer service managers are unlikely to be members of unions, although they may be if their role is predominantly managerial rather than supervisory. In those cases, the union affiliation may vary across employers and depend on the industry in which the employer operates. Check with local HVAC/R businesses to see if their middle management positions are represented by unions, or check with local union chapters active in the HVAC/R field to see if their members include customer service managers.
Education and Training Programs
Schools in New York do not offer certificates or degrees specifically in customer service management. Relevant areas of study for occupations in customer service include business and communications. Business programs typically provide coursework in management. Check local schools to see what associate and bachelor’s degree programs they offer in these fields.