At Help Scout, we believe in helping people build fulfilling careers in customer service and support. In our “Understanding Customer Service Jobs” posts, we showcase different roles suited to customer service professionals.
Improving your individual skills and abilities is always worthwhile, but in a growing support team there are other ways to make a broader impact. One such way is to take on a Support Operations Manager role and help the entire team deliver better service.
If you’re interested in working in Support Operations, or if your team could benefit from implementing a Support Operations team, watch our Support Operations webinar. You’ll learn directly from experienced Support Operations Managers and the people who hire them.
What is Support Operations?
The Support Operations team is responsible for helping a company’s support team be more productive, work more effectively, and deliver better service to their customers.
The primary job of the Support Operations staff is to create an environment for the support team in which they can do their best work and not be distracted or delayed by problems with tooling, processes, or logistics.
Rather than working primarily with customers, the Support Operations team works with internal staff — the support team themselves, customer service leaders, and senior company management.
They provide strategic and tactical support in areas such as:
- Defining customer service workflows.
- Writing and improving customer service processes.
- Collecting and analyzing customer service performance and delivery data, taking action regarding responses, and reporting to the organization.
- Measuring and improving overall customer experience levels.
What does a Support Operations Manager do?
In our research, the day-to-day responsibilities of a Support Operations Manager varies according to company size and industry. In some cases, Support Operations Managers split their time between direct customer service and operational work. Most often, though, this role is at a more strategic level.
Typical responsibilities may include:
- Specifying and building tools to improve the speed and quality of support.
- Onboarding and training new support team members.
- Analyzing support workflows and making suggestions to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
- Working closely with product teams to understand and give input into product changes relating to the customer service department.
- Assisting with the design and rollout of new support channels and service offerings.
- Managing schedules of team members according to customer demand and any service level agreements.
- Developing and maintaining standard operating procedures for common situations.
- Preparing performance reports by collecting and analyzing data from the customer service functions.
- Identifying and acting to remove obstacles to delivering consistently high levels of service.
- Taking part in forecasting and budgeting for customer service and tracking the actual performance against budget.
- Leading and supporting customer service teams through required changes.
- Working closely with senior management to help customer service deliver on their components of overall company goals and objectives.
What skills and experiences are required to become a Support Operations Manager?
Requirements for Support Operations roles again vary according to company size and industry, but here are some that we find across the board:
- Experience delivering frontline customer service.
- Experience in second or third tier customer service positions (preferable).
- Demonstrated understanding of common customer service tools and processes.
- A track record of business process improvement.
- Proven leadership and team motivation skills.
- Experience in scheduling and forecasting.
- Ability to communicate effectively with senior executives.
- Ability to analyse and identify improvements in service systems.
- Experience in managing cross-team projects to completion.
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