Did you know that customer support managers who work alone earn more than those who manage a team of agents? And did you know it takes an extra $10k per year for a customer support professional to go from being satisfied with their job to very satisfied?
In the Customer Support State of the Profession Report 2016, we surveyed 116 individuals, with respondents ranging from support agents to VPs of Customer Support and CEOs. The survey reveals that the customer support profession is extremely varied in terms of salary, team sizes, and responsibilities, which indicates that the industry is evolving and changing regularly.
The survey revealed that the average support professional looks like this:
While this profile may be an average support professional, it’s certainly not typical. Looking deeper into the results is where it gets really interesting, particularly when we look at customer support managers salaries:
- Manager salaries range from $30,000 to $105,000.
- The majority (32.5%) report earning between $45,000 and $60,000.
- Another 10% of Managers reported earning less than $30,000.
- Yet 2.5% reported earning more than $105,000 – the same as directors and VPs of support.
This range is huge and there could be several reasons why this could be the case.
Unusually high customer support manager salaries
High salaries could be attributed to the broad definition of the “manager” job title. For instance, within organizations with a flat hierarchy, it could be possible customer support managers are acting as directors or VPs without the senior title, but paid according to their level of responsibility.
High salaries could also be attributed to team size (or lack thereof). The report shows that on average, customer support managers who work without a team earned significantly more than those who did manage teams.
In fact, customer support managers who are the only support employee in their company earn on average $12,000 more per year than customer support managers who manage any number of agents, for whom the average salary is $52,654.
This salary bump could be to compensate for the higher workload placed on lone customer support managers, who bear sole responsibility for the customer support in their company.
Unusually low customer support manager salaries
At the opposite end of the spectrum, where managers have a lower average salary than support agents, this could be attributed to companies rewarding performance with increased status.
It’s possible these low-paid managers may still perform the job role of agents and remain on an agent’s salary, but have been awarded a manager title for high performance and have not yet seen their salary rise to that level.
However, it appears that this is not often the case. Comparing support managers’ salary and tenure against how accurate they felt their job description was, shows that the less managers were paid and the less time they’d been in the role, the more accurate they felt their job description was.
Conversely, the more managers were paid and the longer they’d been in their job, the less accurate they felt their job description was. This could be due to “role creep,” where responsibility or expectation increases over time until the point where their role no longer reflects their job description.
Customer support salary satisfaction
In spite of the extremely varied salaries for customer support managers, the report shows that generally respondents were happy with their salary. This is true across all roles, including customer support managers. However, there is a distinct jump in salary satisfaction among VPs of Customer Support.
When you scrutinize this closely, there is a clear correlation between an individual’s earning power and satisfaction with their pay (as you might expect). The graph below clearly illustrates both trends that respondents who were least satisfied with their salary are paid the least, and respondents who are most happy with their salary are paid the most.
Even though there was a huge variation in salary for Customer Support Managers, upon investigation it became clear that job title doesn’t necessarily correlate with salary – especially at middle-management level.
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Take a look at more key findings in the infographic below on how the average customer support professional is not so average! You can read the full 30-page report here.