Customer service employment used mean one thing: picking up the phone, documenting customer issues, then resolving them. Today, companies increasingly view the support department as an engine for driving customer loyalty, retention and brand advocacy. As such, they need more varied talent to lead customer service innovation, and technology is at the forefront of these changes.
Recently, I rallied experts from some of the top customer service technology companies to help me define how these changes could impact job prospects. They helped me devise these five positions for the customer service department of the future. We also came up with skills job seekers should brush up to stay ahead of the curve, and land one of these next-generation support positions.
The role will emerge because the day is fast approaching when most customer-company interactions will happen on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. The Mobile Support App Manager would act much like a product manager, but exclusively for the support application. They would work with internal or external developers to optimize the user experience for all of the company’s customers.
If analytics showed one feature is used more than another, for example, they might try featuring it more prominently on the app home screen. Or maybe they’d work to refine speech recognition for that function.
Skills: Mobile app development, project management, data analytics, user experience design
The individual in this role would continually mine for popular topics in call center notes, as well as review Web analytics data to assess which articles in the self-service community garner the most traffic. At the same time, they would also moderate content created by the customer community and facilitate the sharing of this user-generated material.
I see this position emerging out of the growing recognition that traditional marketing is becoming less effective, and companies need customers to advocate to their friends and social networks. For that to happen, Customer Service and Marketing must align, and the Customer Communities Strategist would be in charge of steering this alignment. Creating and managing helpful content is the centerpiece of this process.
Skills: Writing, journalism, social media analytics, web analytics
The person in this role would help ensure the right answer is found no matter how or where the question is asked–whether it’s typed in a search box on a webpage, in a chat session, or spoken to an interactive voice response (IVR) system.
“Companies are evolving their customer service titles to highlight the fact that employees are empowered and accountable to resolve requests quickly,” Diana Koenig, vice president of strategic programs for Monster Global Customer Service, told me recently.
This requires sophisticated algorithms that can process natural language to find the answer. This person would need to constantly analyze query success rates to identify subject areas that still need refining.
Skills: software configurations, data analytics, project management
The Social Service Success Czar would ensure social customer service efficiency, while keeping an eye out for opportunities to market support interactions. In order to respond effectively, companies have to use social listening technology. This person would work to refine keyword identifiers that tell these systems what signals a customer service message.
If the contact center suddenly gets an influx of calls about a particular product, for example, the coordinator would want to start listening for combinations of that word and “help,” “broken,” “angry” and so on. If a Twitter user responded with a glowing “thank you, I will tell my friends!” that person might hand off the interaction to marketing for promotional uses.
Skills: Social media management, writing, content marketing, data analytics
The individual in this role would oversee the virtual call center — a network of customer service agents that work off-site (typically from home). This person would decide when and how to interact with these individuals, monitor their performance, and adjust the size of the team as needed. During peak communication cycles, for example, the Remote Call Center Director might increase the number of agents on duty.
This person would also consistently comb through key performance metrics to identify weak spots. If they noticed one remote agent lagging behind their cohorts, they could start monitoring calls and provide additional training.
Skills: Management, project management, data analytics, training
Bio: Ashley Verrill is a CRM software analyst for Software Advice, as well as the managing editor for the Customer Service Investigator blog. She has spent the last seven years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has been published or cited in Inc., Forbes, the Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. She also produces original research-based reports and video content with industry experts and thought leaders.