Generally speaking, customer service employees interact with customers on behalf of an organization. Some do it face-to-face, while others specialize in a particular service channel such as phone, email, live chat or social media – more often, however, their duties imply communication with customers through more than one channel. The job functions and activities of customer service employees may significantly differ from simply answering customer questions and providing tech support to ensuring customer happiness and retention.
Some customer service roles are the same but can have various titles – such customer service representative, client service representative, customer care agent – whereas some positions can have the same titles but include varying responsibilities in different companies. Here are some of the most popular customer service roles and how they are supposed to be differentiated:
1. Customer Service Representative
Customer service reps answer customers’ questions concerning a company’s products, services, policies and procedures, resolve issues, take orders and handle returns, respond to complaints and proactively provide information about a company’s offerings. Typically they have a certain number of emails or calls they must hit daily.
2. Call Center Agent
Call center agents may work either in-house or remotely at a virtual call center. Their duties include answering inbound calls, handle and resolve complaints, process transactions, generate customer interest in the services or products offered by the company. Call center agents are usually expected to handle high volume of calls.
3. Customer Service Supervisor
Customer service supervisors oversee junior customer service representatives or a part of the service team. They may also take an active part in the hiring process helping to shortlist and interview potential customer service candidates, as well as training and coaching of new team members.
4. Customer Service Manager
Customer service managers supervise customer service teams. They are responsible for successful onboarding and training of new service agents and keeping track of their progress and overall performance. They also manage any conflicts that involve either customers or service reps.
5. Customer Support Representative
Customer support representatives are often seen in SaaS and tech companies offering products or services that require ongoing technical assistance. They respond to customers’ questions and resolve product or service issues that might include help with installation, troubleshooting, maintenance and upgrading of the product.
6. Customer Support Engineer
Customer support engineers (or technical support specialists) specialize in troubleshooting technical problems customers have with a company’s products or services. They specifically research, diagnose and identify solutions to resolve tech issues, as well as prepare reports and escalate unresolved issues to appropriate internal teams.
7. Customer Support Manager
Customer support managers supervise day-to-day operations of the customer support department and train new support reps. They are also responsible for delivering best practices, knowledge base content and methodologies that ensure the overall quality of customer support provided by a company.
8. Customer Success Manager
Customer success managers focus on the long-term success of customers by building relationships with them and helping them realize the full potential of a company’s products or services. Their goal is to ensure that customers make the best use of the product (mostly software) and successfully implement it into their companies.
9. Customer Experience Manager
Customer experience managers are focused on examining the needs of customers and then creating and implementing strategies that improve customer experiences and enhance customer loyalty. Essentially, their job is to ensure that each touchpoint across the customer journey is engaging and efficient for customers.
10. Customer Advocate
Customer advocates represent customers’ interests in the company and ensure it remains client-minded. They basically work as the missing link between a company’s customers and its marketing team and are responsible for pushing internal changes within an organization in order to constantly meet customer expectations.
11. Chief Customer Officer (CCO)
The role of the CCO, Chief Customer Officer, (also known as Chief Client Officer or Chief Experience Officer) is relatively new but rapidly growing in popularity. While the duties may vary from company to company, the general role of the CCO implies working alongside the executive board designing new strategies for improving customer experiences.
When it comes to selecting titles for your customer service team, the options can be versatile with a touch of creativity. The word ‘Customers’ refers to how you see the relationships between your company and you customers. They might also be ‘clients’, ‘users’ or ‘community’. The word ‘Service’ refers to what the team actually does. The alternatives could include ‘help’, ‘support’, ‘care’, ‘advocacy’ or ‘success’. Finally, the word ‘Team’ is about who is actually doing the job. You can call them ‘specialists’, ‘consultants’, ‘advocates’, ‘heroes’, ‘squad’ or even ‘gurus’. Here are some of the examples of how these words can be combined:
As for individual job titles for the customer service role, it depends on the shades of meaning you intend to convey. For technical support employees, for example, the titles including descriptors like specialist, expert, technician, professional, guru or whiz can additionally imply the level of their competence and tech expertise. The words can also either emphasize internal hierarchy (like assistant, associate or leader) or deemphasize it (like agent or advisor). Whatever role titles you select, those should make clear distinctions in who is responsible for what, for both employees and customers.
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