As with any profession, a customer service job can grow in different directions, leading to many new opportunities. Agents may decide to continue with customer service as a career, while others may go into a more support-oriented role within customer service like quality assurance, training, technical support, or business analysis. Furthermore, some customer service agents might move in a leadership direction, others to different departments like product management or marketing.

Another important factor is churn. Without a clear way for agents to progress their careers, they’re more likely to leave for a company that can provide it. When this happens, you not only lose an experienced agent, but you have to put time and resources into hiring and onboarding a replacement. It’s important to develop a path for all advancement, setting demonstrable goals and clear roles for employees to grow into.

Steps towards developing a customer support career path

1. Design different paths

Design and develop clear paths for different types of roles: management, individual contributor, and technical support. Different people will naturally fit or prefer different roles, so have a path for each direction.

2. Stay up to date

Offer external classes for management training at accredited institutions that offer management and leadership classes. Doing this is a great way to get people out of your organization’s “bubble” and up to date with the latest best practices.

3. Provide a framework

Develop programs for managers and coaches to help them effectively guide their direct reports’ career paths.

4. Use a tiered system

Create different tiers for agents to create more growth opportunity. This provides more opportunity for quicker growth.

5. Make use of growth opportunities

Identify areas for each agent to participate in projects and/or launches where they can show and test their skills.

6. Keep trainers involved

Ensure trainers are involved in process documentation. They will identify opportunities to help agents learn and grow, and ensure that taking advantage of those opportunities are baked into the process.