Customer relations managers are sometimes referred to as account managers and are the liaisons between a business and its customers. They assess customer needs and generate sales leads through more personalized service. Customer relations managers develop relationship strategies and programs that produce business value and favorable customer experiences. They monitor customer satisfaction and recommend approaches companies can implement to better serve their customers.
Customer relations managers handle customer accounts and provide guidance on enhancing customer relationships. CRMs focus on quality, pricing and product differentiation based on their understanding of the customer environment, including customer influences, decision-makers and business challenges. They create and retain customer loyalty and preference by establishing rapport with the customer, planning and developing customer-focused programs, overseeing the resolution of customer concerns and facilitating the delivery of goods or services to the customer.
Customer relations managers work in professional office settings and may also travel frequently to meet with clients. CRMs work with sales managers to achieve budgeted sales targets within specified deadlines. The job can involve long hours, including evenings and weekends. Stress tolerance, the ability to work under pressure and a combination of leadership and customer-facing skills are necessary for job effectiveness.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
The core competencies required to perform the duties of a customer relations manager include outstanding leadership, communication, interpersonal and customer service skills, as well as advanced knowledge of the practices and procedures for project management, sales, marketing and strategic planning. Effective CRMs also possess advanced knowledge of their company's products and services. They are dynamic public speakers and comfortable when interacting in both one-on-one and group settings, leading teams and liaising with different levels of management.
Education and Experience
Customer-relationship management usually requires a bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field, such as finance, hospitality or computer science. Employers generally require several years of account and business relationship management experience; customer service or sales experience is useful. Computer literacy and proficiency with office productivity applications, such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, are also required by most employers.
Customer relationship management occupations in the United States average annual earnings of $46,087 to $64,916, as of 2010, according to national income trends from SalaryWizard.com. The 2010 median expected salary of a customer relations manager in the United States is $54,687.