The 4 must-have characteristics for customer care leaders

“Well, why don’t you try taking over that customer contact team, let’s see how it goes” is a great opportunity for personal development for an upcoming manager. However, is this also the best approach for the team and its operations? Would you say the same if it wasn’t a customer care team involved, but for example a team of neurosurgeons, psychiatric nurses, prison guards, or investigators of the Child Protection Services?

Even if an upcoming manager has some knowledge of a certain area, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will thrive in every environment. A lifestyle coach, for example, wouldn’t do a great job coaching the national soccer team, even though they have the word ‘coach’ in common in their job titles.

There are four must-have characteristics for customer contact managers:

·       Equal focus on people, processes, and pennies,

·       Empathy

·       Expertise

·       Experience

For example, a manager that prefers to solely focus on processes and costs might find everything people-related a distraction from their core task. In that case, leading a team is neither a great fit both for the upcoming manager’s ambitions nor for the needs of the team. Where would the team find their support? Not with the manager, that is quite sure.

The other way around is also possible. The upcoming manager loves to connect with the team members and solve every emotional pain point you can think of. As long as it doesn’t include a deep or even basic understanding of the content of their team’s work.

That doesn’t fly. You need more than that to successfully run your customer contact department.

Leading customer contact teams means working with people, for people. Experience and expertise will provide the right context to understand what drives people, what works and what doesn’t work, as well as how to solve issues.

How are the 4 essential E’s represented in your customer contact management team?