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Five Habits to Excel as Customer Service and Sales Managers 

Customer service is the backbone that supports any product or service. An effective Customer Service and Sales Manager excels in two roles–understanding customers' needs and being an inspiring team leader. These functions call for high levels of emotional and leadership skills. While many directors possess these skills at some level, they can become more competent by cultivating five specific habits.

Photo courtesy Pinch Food Design

Developing new habits is not easy. It requires focus and determination. It is easier to cultivate new habits or skills by considering their positive outcomes. For Customer Service and Sales Managers, this can mean working with a motivated team to build a loyal customer base by focusing on being solution-driven. An excellent concept to keep in mind is that customers who have problems resolved are more likely to tell others about the excellent service they received. 

Here are some statistics that illustrate the importance of good customer service:

  • Most Americans have decided not to purchase because of a poor customer service experience (American Express). 
  • It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience (Ruby Newell-Legner's "Understanding Customers"). 
  • It costs six to seven times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer (Kolsky).
  • 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are being treated (McKinsey & Company). 
  • 62% of customers say they share their bad experiences with others (Salesforce Research).

But there is light at the end of the tunnel; 72% of customers will share their good experiences with others. In turn, helping to grow the business organically through referrals and recommendations. By working on the following five habits, you will deliver excellent results and be known in your industry as a leader in customer service.

1. Have an abundance of empathy 

Empathy is a soft skill that enables someone to identify with feelings. A customer service manager who is empathetic can readily relate to customers who need problems resolved. 

Empathy also helps the manager to connect with team members. They understand that team members may view a particular situation differently because of their personalities. The customer service manager gets optimal performance from their team by respecting these differences. 

"Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message that you're not alone." – Brene Brown. 

2. Motivates with sensitivity 

Most employers understand intuitively that happy employees make for satisfied customers. Therefore, the customer service manager strives to keep their team happy and motivated. They create rewards that recognize quality performance at individual and group levels. 

Customer service teams' work involves dealing with clients whose requests range from the routine to the complex. It is essential to maintain their morale during times when customers become impatient. They have to be motivated to provide the best service possible in all situations.

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As most of us in the events industry know, our business can be extremely taxing and stressful. Work duties such as juggling a large volume of events in a week, the barrage of incoming inquiries that need immediate attention, or simply dealing with the unpredictableness of live events can be a lot. In appreciation of these factors, team members need to be recognized and rewarded for attaining monthly goals, specific milestones and delivering exceptional customer service.

3. Communicates effectively 

Effective communication is about listening, understanding, and then responding. A customer service manager uses this skill to resolve customer problems and guide team members. 

Dealing with irate customers requires tact, patience, and product knowledge. The resolution of a complex problem often involves communicating with other divisions and using resources. It also may require correction of any actions that a company has taken that resulted in the customer's problem. The customer service manager demonstrates how best to address such issues to feel valued.

The Customer Service and Sales Managers inform team members about strategies adopted by the company to achieve its goals. Encourages open communication, which fosters teamwork and sharing of best practices. They act with sensitivity in providing feedback to team members to improve their performance.

"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others." - Anthony Robbins 

4. Promotes a friendly work culture 

A team does its best work when working in a culture that feels valued and respected. The manager maintains an environment free of favoritism. They are receptive to each team member's suggestion for improvement. While welcoming friendly competition, they encourage team members to take up challenges that improve their skills and career prospects.

Photo courtesy Pinch Food Design

They see that employees have the training, systems, resources, and product knowledge to respond to customers speedily. They ensure that team members have the discretion to offer specific discounts, waivers, or rewards to customers without going to the top. 

To foster bonding among team members, they may also arrange external events. These events can be training programs held in other venues or team members getting together to help in a community cause. 

5. Acts as a leader

Notably, the Customer Service and Sales Managers must be respected to earn the trust and confidence of team members. They take responsibility for their actions and set a good example. They gain trust by keeping commitments made to both customers and team members.

The Customer Service and Sales Managers also need to be supportive and accessible. They help to handle complex situations, and then use such instances to coach members on better ways to respond to customers is an essential part of outstanding leadership.

They also ensure that team members work in a safe environment. They are aware that work culture and meeting the needs of team members matter when it comes to maintaining their morale. These measures lead to good team performance.

Leadership is lifting a person's vision to high sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. —Peter Drucker 

A Customer Service and Sales Manager who wishes to deliver excellent results can benefit from developing these five habits relating to empathy, communication, motivation, work culture, and leadership. Such a manager can look forward to working with a motivated team to gain loyal customers and expand the business. And in the wise words of Andy Rooney, "Everyone wants to live on the top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it." 


Stella Rankin

Founding Partner, Pinch Food Design

Food and entertainment, Stella Rankin knows it intimately.  As one of the Founders of the celebrated Pinch Food Design, a top-tier catering and design company based in NYC, she has had almost 20 years of experience in production and live events focusing on luxury, fashion, and lifestyle.

An expert in the luxury food, beverage, and design industry; she is known in her field as an dynamic self-starter and passionate entrepreneur. In addition to representing Pinch in day-to-day operations, she is a big believer in the power of collaboration, always seeking new relationships or reinforcing the old with like-minded tastemakers, acclaimed designers, and professional party planners.