Poll: What’s the Most Important Service Manager Quality?
Strong Communication Is Key for Service Managers
Last month, we discussed important questions for candidates and employers to prepare before an interview for a service manager. This is part of our ongoing Interviewing Prep series to help you get the most out of your next interview (whether in front of the desk or behind it). So we were curious to hear what you thought was the most important service manager quality. We had a solid turnout of 10,910 votes this month!
Many comments pointed out that any one trait in the poll isn’t enough to make a great manager. Yes, this is clearly true. But it’s still useful to see what qualities people value or prioritize more than others. The comments bring us the nuance as to why those qualities matter to each voter and under what circumstances.
Obviously, all of the traits in the poll would be great for a manager to have. But managers are people with strengths and limitations. So we wanted to know which quality you think is the dealbreaker? What trait would be the hardest to succeed in this role without?
Folks were a bit more torn on this poll than they were for sales managers. The winning service manager quality was strong communication, taking 26% of the vote. Reliability came in second with 18% while we had a three-way-tie with integrity, decisiveness and coaching focus taking 16% each. Last place went to technical competency with the remaining 8%.
Service managers have to keep a lot of plates spinning between their techs, sales, clients and their own superiors. It can be an impossible task to keep everyone satisfied and working at their best. Strong communication might just be the key strength service managers can used to keep things in balance.
Here are the full results:
What’s the most important service manager quality?
- Strong communication (26%, 2,828 Votes)
- Reliability (18%, 1,955 Votes)
- Integrity (16%, 1,728 Votes)
- Decisiveness/good goal setting (16%, 1,705 Votes)
- Coaching focus (16%, 1,692 Votes)
- Technical competency (9%, 1,002 Votes)
Some comments from y’all:
- “I have never been a service manager but have worked for many – both good and bad. The best, from a technician’s perspective, have been those who kept an eye on their team, but also trusted their team and gave us the autonomy to do our jobs most of the time. I recall one manager who I was sure was protecting us from what came down from above his head. I am also sure it is what cost him that manager’s position in a merger, because he had our backs instead of playing company politics. We busted our butts to take care of him because we knew he was doing the same for us. The worst managers were those that were of the infamous micromanager variety that couldn’t trust people, often more interested in achieving the numerical goals set out in front of them. To be fair, that is a tough position to be in and a balancing act that few can achieve.”
- “A good service manager knows how to bring out the best in their team without being overbearing. They also know how to counsel negative behaviors without demeaning their employees.”
- “While Integrity is the keystone, coaching and technical competency are vital. He or she cannot lead well if they haven’t already trodden the paths their techs are walking in. Always beware when confidence overshadows competence.”
- “Must be rookies voting… Technical competency?? My service manager for last 10 years hadn’t been in field for 20 years – he was the best manager of any employer I ever had. He knew how to manage team & allowed his techs to manage their territories. He didn’t need to provide technical support – that’s for your teammates & tech support team. My manager was a great advocate for his techs & visited / phoned customers frequently. Integrity, boys!”
- “Service managers need to develop and motivate their employees and are responsible for customer retention.”
- “Without integrity, none of the other qualities matter.”
- “Too bad the survey only allows you to choose one, a great service manager is all of these. The ability of a service manager to clearly communicate and team build is vital to success. A manager is like the coach of a football team, they need the ability to recruit and assign the proper roll to key players and then develop the talent they have assembled to perform.”
- “All the above service manager qualities, loyalty to technicians and employer is 100% the glue that holds everyone together and makes them better / stronger.”
- “Based on the choices I went with strong communication. If a manager can’t communicate they will not be able to coach and lead. I think there are a couple of qualities that should be a choice and would rank high: organization skills and critical thinking skills. I have seen too many good techs promoted but they lack an organizational skill set. Let’s think why? Service reps are directed by the manager or dispatch, often times they are not part of the ‘big picture’ in decisions or do not know how to plan or prioritize from project to project, they are just focused on one task at a time. If you promote a great technician to manager, make sure they are coached on how to plan and make decisions, not just be a resource to fix things. They need ability to think critically, be organized with the resources they have at hand and how to use those resources.”
- “Integrity really covers the other categories too. A good/great service manager has the technical prowess to help a tech root out difficult issues. A good service manager needs to be at the ready to issue guidance and make decisions when an account ‘blows up.’ A good manager isn’t afraid to answer difficult questions, nor leave emails unanswered. A good manager is effective at team building (breakfast meetings!). A good manager doesn’t skip yearly reviews.”
- “You win more bees with honey.”
- “If he/she is not reliable the other qualities are less important because he/she does not got to show off those qualities effectively.”
- “Without reliability the rest is just smoke. When your customers know they can trust you, you have a customer for life.”
- “Organizational health is of utmost importance for providing the greatest level of proficiency in a workplace. When a manager shapes an environment that people like to work in, they give the company its greatest asset of all: people who want to do their best. This will only begin with integrity in leadership.”