What Does a Customer Support Executive Do? (With Tasks)
Updated 30 September 2022
Working in customer support, or customer service, can provide many opportunities for advancement. By building their skills and gaining experience, customer support professionals can become executives in this field, crafting a company's customer support policies and directing the service department. If you're interested in a rewarding career as a customer support leader, learning what customer support executives do can help you decide if this is the right career path for you. In this article, we describe what customer support executives do and explain the job requirements for these professionals.
What does a customer support executive do?
Understanding the answer to "What does a customer support executive do?" is the first step toward discerning if this is the right career pathway for you. Customer support executives are senior professionals who work in a wide range of industries, including retail, professional services and IT. While a customer support executive's responsibilities might depend on their company and industry, many professionals in this field perform the following tasks:
Managing a team
At some companies, a customer support executive manages the daily activities of a customer support team. In this role, they might monitor customer support representatives in their work and answer questions about department policies and complicated customer accounts. Some customer support executives delegate this function to customer support managers and team leads, which allows them to focus on leadership tasks, like setting strategic goals and auditing procedures. These customer support executives might have daily or weekly meetings with managers to discuss the team's performance and set improvement targets.
Developing customer support procedures
A customer support executive might audit their company's existing customer support policies and develop new ones that suit the company's mission. Often, they work with sales, operations and business development executives to identify the company's key functions so they can revise the customer support procedures. They might also develop procedures to support new products or services. For example, a tutoring company's leadership team might decide to launch a new program for younger students. The customer support executive might create a unique refund policy for this type of tutoring, which has different requirements and goals than test preparation.
Hiring new employees
While a hiring manager or HR professional might evaluate resumes and conduct initial interviews for customer service positions, a customer support executive often makes final hiring decisions for their team, ensuring that the company hires candidates whose skills fit the team's needs. They might attend final interviews, review qualifications and contact references to identify strong candidates. A customer support executive might also help the HR team draft and revise offer letters for job candidates. In smaller companies, a customer support executive might direct the entire hiring process, from listing open positions online to writing offer letters.
Training new representatives
To ensure that new employees learn the company's procedures and understand the requirements of their position, a customer support executive might direct training for new members of their team. They might create training materials to show new customer support representatives how to perform key job functions, like recording calls and using the company's customer relationship management (CRM) platform. The customer support executive might lead the training themselves or delegate this task to a team lead or support manager, depending on the company's organisational structure. They might also help other department leaders train their new employees.
Customer support executives might collect data from a wide range of sources to evaluate their team's performance and improve the company's customer support policies. In many companies, customer support representatives record their calls with customers and store the files on their CRM, along with transcripts from online chat programs. A customer support executive might listen to certain calls and make notes about the representatives' performance. They might also compile reports on refund requests, call volume and ticket resolution times. Some customer support executives also collect data from customers by sending surveys and performing care calls.
Using their industry knowledge and data they collected from various sources, a customer support executive can identify trends in what their customers expect from the company. For example, an increase in refund requests for a particular product might suggest an issue with the product or declining interest in that type of item. Customer support executives might also use qualitative data, like customer reviews, to identify common requests and complaints. They might draft reports using this data, which they can then present to the company's leadership board, along with their suggestions to improve the company's policies.
Evaluating representative performance
In some companies, the customer support executive leads performance reviews for representatives and team leads in the department. Every company has its own review schedule, but many organisations hold formal reviews two or three times a year. Before these meetings, the customer support executive might complete a review form, where they assess the subject's performance using data from the CRM. They might also interview the subject's team lead to get more information about their work habits. During the review, the customer support executive might ask questions and recommend ways that the representative can improve their performance.
Resolving customer issues
While customer support representatives and managers resolve most of a company's customer issues, a customer support executive might speak to customers in special circumstances. Often, they're the most senior member of their team, so other members of their team might escalate difficult customer issues to them. Also, a customer support executive might be responsible for accounts where the customer has spent a lot of money or worked with the company for several years. If the customer support executive started in an entry-level position with the company, they might choose to keep working with customers they initially enrolled.
Related: What Is Customer Service?
Leading professional development programmes
Professional development programmes allow employees to develop new skills and improve their performance. As the senior member of the customer support team, a customer support executive might schedule professional development opportunities for the department. To maximise the programme's relevance, they might conduct surveys or interviews with employees before choosing activities that fit the team's job functions and priorities. They might lead some of these events themselves, like seminars on helping customers with difficult issues or improving time management. A customer support executive might also hire an external firm to lead programmes on collaboration and leadership.
Serving on the leadership board
Many companies have a leadership board or other group of senior executives who set strategic goals to promote revenue growth. A customer support executive might represent their department at board meetings, where they present reports about the customer support team's performance. During these meetings, the customer support executive might take part in discussions about the company's mission and vote on strategic initiatives to increase revenue and cut costs. For example, the board might vote on a proposal to expand the company's services to a neighbouring region or country.
Customer support executive job requirements
Here are some common requirements for customer support executive positions:
While there are no standard degree programmes for a customer support executive, many professionals in this career path have degrees in communication, business management or a subject related to their industry. For example, a customer support executive at an IT firm might have a degree in information technology or computer programming. Some of these professionals hold additional certifications in project management or leadership, which verify their skills in directing a team and accomplishing strategic goals. Many universities and professional organisations offer certification programmes for professionals in a range of industries.
Typically, customer support executives begin their careers in entry-level or associate customer support or service positions. In these jobs, they can develop their problem-solving and communication skills as they work with customers daily. These positions can also help them learn about the industry they plan to work in, like financial services or IT. They might earn a promotion to team lead or manager, where they can begin to build their management skills and create a portfolio of completed projects. After several years of success in a management role, they may be eligible for a customer support executive job.
Customer support executives use a combination of industry knowledge and strong professional skills to lead initiatives and monitor the support department. Typically, they have strong communication skills, which allow them to train support team members and lead department meetings. Their administrative skills help them compile performance reports and draft recommendations for the leadership board, while their project management abilities help them lead initiatives to increase revenue. They might also have industry-specific skills. For example, a customer support executive in an IT firm might have coding or network administration abilities.
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