The Impact of Leadership on Customer Service Success

Gladly Team

Read Time

5 minute read

If happy customer service teams lead to happy customers, then exceptional leadership can lead to exceptional customer service. During Gladly Connect Live 2023, Susan Tynan, founder and CEO of Framebridge, emphasized that achieving success starts at the top — at the confluence of leadership and customer service.

Through investing in agent opportunities, empowerment, and support, you can improve CX leadership and customer service simultaneously. Here are a few actionable tips that can truly level up your leadership and customer service abilities, based on the insights Tynan shared in her presentation.

Susan Tynan presenting at GCL

How Does Leadership Influence Customer Service?

Leadership directly influences the behavior and practices of your team by fostering the brand values you want your support center to reflect.

If CX leaders do not understand or meet employee expectations, then employees will likely feel less motivated to provide exceptional customer service. This trickle-down effect impacts customers — and your business — directly. “It’s self-evident — and there’s plenty of research — that happy employees are more productive, and that happier employees lead to happier customers,” Tynan says.

What to do about it

Understand your agents’ needs. Knowing what makes your team tick will help you to motivate them and provide support in areas where they need it most. Identify your agents’ needs using our Hero Experience Report Tactical Guide, which provides real-world insight on how to develop your agents into the next generation of leaders.


Turn your customer service agents into heroes of your brand

Download now

How Do You Show Leadership In Customer Service?

Showing leadership in customer service takes constant effort and extends to the way you treat employees, handle requests, enact policies, and approach performance.

Leaders in customer service can motivate employees and unify teams with common expectations. Tynan fundamentally believes that leadership is a demonstrative skill, encouraging the following:

  • Give CX team members the context, opportunity, and tools to do their jobs properly.
  • Get to know CX team members as holistic individuals, not just employees.
  • Make sure CX team members get the work-life balance they need, and be sure to accommodate their unique lives/situations.
  • Hire team members who share your brand’s passion and empathy.

What to do about it

Get C-Suite support. The importance of leadership in customer service goes beyond team managers. Get buy-in for your CX strategy from the top of your organization to increase access to resources and tools. Getting top leadership buy-in helps your team get the solutions they need to do their jobs and stay aligned with your company’s mission.

What Is the Best Leadership Style for Customer Service?

The leadership style that works for your team will depend on the needs of your customers, industry, and team structure.

Some employees prefer an autonomous workflow that gives them room to work how they see fit, while other teams may prefer a more hands-on approach. However, all managers should help agents chart their career paths, no matter their leadership style.

By enabling growth for team members at all levels, agents become inspired to go above and beyond in pursuit of long-term CX careers. Tynan says, “At Framebridge, creating that happy environment is really through mobility. We have offered our CX team ways to move throughout the company.”

What to do about it

Pinpoint your leadership style. Not sure what type of CX leader you are? Take our customer service leadership quiz to learn how to leverage your leadership skills in the workplace. Understanding your unique leadership style can help you get more from your employees or adjust to fit your team’s needs.

What Are the Characteristics of Excellent Leaders In Customer Service?

Excellent customer service leaders show a deep understanding of and connection to the needs of both their customers and team.

CX leaders should have passion and empathy that motivates them to make decisions that will improve customer experience. Beyond those soft skills, Tynan says CX managers should:

  • Read customer feedback directly and regularly.
  • Work in tandem with staff at all levels to address internal escalations.
  • Demonstrate the lengths they will go to make poor customer experience right.
  • Respond fast and remove blockages to processes.

What to do about it

Enable customer service agents to explore career paths. Your agents will likely find motivation and success in different aspects of their roles. Encouraging them to explore customer service career paths allows them to build their unique career trajectory within your company while displaying an investment in their well-being from leadership.

4 Leadership Strategies for Team Happiness and Better CX

The way leaders choose to behave and interact with agents is a direct reflection of how agents are expected to treat customers. To improve the way your leadership and customer service influence one another, consider if you’re currently using these key methods that are standard for Tynan’s CX team:

  • Treating your CX team like people first, not numbers
  • Ensuring leadership buy-in for CX
  • Empowering agents to find solutions on their own
  • Creating opportunities for agents’ internal growth

Taking these steps will help your team build a culture of personalization, human-centric solutions, and mutual respect that will ultimately improve your customer experience.

1. Treat agents like people first

Viewing your team as solely workers can create a stale, unproductive work environment. Get to know your team, appreciate their differences, and provide them with the time away from work they need to foster their uniqueness and provide fresh perspectives.

Tynan also recommends hiring those with passion and empathy while keeping in mind that even your most experienced team members aren’t going to have every answer. Give CX team members the context they need to do their best work to help them feel confident in their daily workflow.

2. Ensure leadership support

Support from leadership should vary from team to team depending on members’ needs. Some leaders provide the autonomy necessary for employees to succeed on their own, while others offer direct support.

Leadership should also get involved in and feel committed to customer experience. According to Tynan, sharing responsibility will help your agents feel less individual pressure and more like they’re part of a collaborative team.

3. Empower agents to find solutions

Your agents are the frontline of your CX team. This is why it’s valuable to let your team tell you what solutions they think will work best for their workflow. Creating feedback channels helps to resolve root problems and builds a culture of accountability for other departments that influence CX.

4. Create opportunities for internal growth

Developing CX managers internally allows your team to be supported by leaders who understand their workflow on a firsthand basis. In her session, Tynan emphasized the value of placing CX experts throughout the company to create a wider understanding of your team’s needs.

Rather than hiring externally, providing these opportunities to existing employees proves that your business values the customer service that agents provide. It also validates the importance of the CX experience and enforces agents’ role in your business’ success.

Reaping the Benefits of Strong CX Leadership

Interested in learning more about how you can improve your customer experience? Check out our Gladly Connect Live on-demand sessions to hear from industry experts like Tynan as they unpack the secrets to building a high-quality, effective support center and CX infrastructure. Leveraging their powerful insights, you can build your customer service team into a valuable asset for your company.


Check out more on-demand sessions from Gladly Connect Live

Watch now