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Customer support executives help an organization’s clients with concerns. As higher-level members of the customer care team, they often take on the most challenging problems that basic representatives cannot resolve due to lack of knowledge or authority.

Any industry offering customer support services can benefit from hiring customer support executives. Jobs can be found in areas such as retail, financial services, technology, and others. Customer support executives typically work regular full-time hours in an office environment. At establishments that offer extended or around-the-clock customer service, customer support executives may have to work some evening or weekend shifts. The job can be stressful at times when an abundance of unhappy customers wants speedy resolutions.

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Customer Support Executive Duties and Responsibilities

At the heart of being a customer support executive is keeping customers satisfied so that they continue to use your employer’s products and services. To this end, customer support executives perform a variety of duties. Our analysis of job postings reveals the following to be among the most common responsibilities:

Answering Inquiries

At smaller companies, customer support executives may directly field calls or emails from customers when they have questions or concerns. Shoppers may want to know about return policies or replacement of damaged items. Other callers may want specific information on what their insurance policy covers or what types of upgrades might be available for their tech products. Because of their vast knowledge, customer support executives usually can handle questions themselves or determine exactly whom to contact within the company for answers.

Problem Solving

When customer care team members cannot adequately resolve issues, they turn to customer support executives for help. These leaders may converse with the customer to better explain company policy or think of a mutually beneficial solution. For instance, they may be authorized to grant store credit to a person without a receipt wanting to return an item he received as a gift.

Monitoring Performance

Customer support executives frequently devise ways to measure how well clients are being served. They may listen in on the calls of staff to ensure quality and then make suggestions for improvement. Customer support executives establish metrics for the team to reach, such as the number of calls handled per hour. They keep tabs on these figures and motivate workers to accomplish goals.

Employee Management

Customer support executives often recruit, hire, and train new customer service reps. They also assume scheduling responsibilities to maintain efficiency, determining how many people have to be available at a given time in order to provide adequate customer service without the company paying people to sit around without work to do.

Identifying Patterns

By taking a look at the types of problems that reoccur, customer support executives get a feel for what areas need improvement. For instance, if shipping problems only seem to happen when a certain carrier is used, the employer may want to discontinue that relationship.

Customer Support Executive Skills

Customer support executives are outstanding communicators. They listen carefully to what the client is saying and explain resolution actions clearly. Sometimes they may need to converse with other members of the customer care team to learn what steps have already been taken. Other traits frequently found in the best customer support executives include:

  • Exhibiting patience in order to appease the most difficult clients
  • Following through on inquiries to ensure completion and satisfaction
  • Managing the performance of others seriously but tactfully
  • Negotiating acceptable terms for both the company and the customer
  • Solving problems creatively when easy solutions aren't available

Customer Support Executive Tools of the trade

As they work to build positive relationships with customers, customer support executives use the following items:

Computers – to input data, perform basic office functions, and keep in touch via email with others in the company and with clients

Phones – the primary communication device used for conversations with customers

Online chat – communicating with customers electronically through a platform on the company’s website

Customer Support Executive Education and Training

Most customer support executives hold a bachelor’s degree. Common fields of study include business and communications. Before holding the position, customer support executives typically have years of experience in other customer care capacities.

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Customer Support Executive Resources

Ready to become an outstanding customer support executive? The following books and organizations can help put your career on the right track:

The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service

The author of this handbook is the former executive vice president of operations at Walt Disney World, so he knows a thing or two about hospitality. Readers describe his book as "easy to read" and "understandable, but profound." Among his rules: "Ask Yourself ‘What Would Mom Do?'" and "Treat Every Customer Like a Regular." His universal wisdom can help customer support executives become better at their own job, and they may want to make it required reading for their charges.

The Service Culture Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service

Billed as a guide to "help customer service teams unlock their hidden potential," readers give the book high marks for its straightforward approach, realworld examples, and tangible activities. Toister was named one of the Top 30 customer service professionals in the world by Global Gurus and one of the Top 50 Thought Leaders to Follow on Twitter by the International Customer Management Institute.

Surviving Customer Service: Avoid Burnout, Develop Valuable Career Skills

With a great mix of "wisdom, humor, personal examples, and simple steps you can take to improve your customer service and your own work experience," this book draws rave reviews from both those new to customer service and seasoned professionals.

International Customer Service Association

The mission of this industry group is "to assist individuals and organizations with their goal of providing exceptional customer experiences by providing access to professional growth and development, and recognition." Its website features a variety of webinars, job postings, and a blog written by industry experts.

Customer Service Professionals

An informal networking group of customer service professionals, aspiring customer support executives may want to consider joining it on LinkedIn. Chances are someone among the 150,000+ members will be able to answer your questions.

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