Skills Needed to Become a Vice President of Customer Service

by Neil Kokemuller

The job titles "vice president of customer service" and "director of customer service" are common tor the top customer service job in a company. Someone in this position usually has many years of experience in both planning and delivering top customer service. To be successful, you need a number of skills that allow you to anticipate customer service problems and resolve problems when they arise.

Communication Skills

Strong written and verbal communication skills are among the most important for a VP of customer service. In this role, you will develop and prepare documents that outline the organization's customer service philosophies, strategies and tactics for internal use. You will meet regularly with other officers to discuss customer service goals and measurements, and how best to ensure they are communicated effectively to staff. You will also interact with managers, employees and customers in directing services and responding to specific customer complaints or problems.

Presentation Skills

The VP of customer service needs excellent presentation skills to help demonstrate the importance of top-notch customer service to colleagues and other stakeholders. This skill set includes the ability to incorporate technology into your presentations to enhance your message, whether you are presiding over a small department meeting in a conference room or hosting a webcast for the entire company. You should be familiar with multimedia formats that combine video, voice, graphics, charts and text, and know how best to combine them for the most effective presentation. You will use these presentation skills when training and developing employees, and when providing an overview of customer service plans to other executives and service managers. Customer service VPs might also visit stores or lead meetings to introduce managers and employees to new policies and processes.

Problem-Solving Skills

The more reactive side of the job involves handling customer service problems and incidents. In some cases, angry or offended customers will want to speak to the person at the top of the customer service food chain. To do this part of the job properly, you need the ability to listen to and understand customers and work out satisfactory resolutions. Important skills include active listening, which means maintaining eye contact with customers, acknowledging what they tell you, and repeating what they say to let them know you are paying attention. You must remain calm, patient and professional, while at the same time analyzing the situation to figure out what went wrong and what can be done to fix it. You must also be able to recognize recurring problems and develop solutions that can prevent them from happening again.

Background Requirements

Depending on the position and organization, you usually need at least a bachelor's degree to become a vice president of customer service, although some companies prefer candidates with a master's degree. Regardless of the type of degree, your coursework should include a heavy menu of business, management, marketing and communications courses. In most cases, you will need to work your way up the customer service ladder with many years of experience in customer service and in managing service employees. Basic leadership and management abilities are also required since this role is a top-level management position.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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