Almost everybody would like to get paid more for the work they do… but not everyone has the ability or guts to ask for a pay rise. It can be overwhelming. Particularly for humble customer support teams, who are secretly people pleasers, and find it difficult to put themselves before others for a change.
Consider this: in the average annual salary review, you’ll be offered a 5% pay rise. If that’s $45,000 a year, then that’s only a bump to $47,500 – and translates into even less after taking taxes into account.
But, If you get your timing and planning right, combined with the right materials, you could be looking at a $15,000 pay rise – an extra $1250 a month!
Whether you’re comfortable with asking the hard questions or whether you think you “suck” at review meetings, we’ve put together some tips that will help you be prepared, stay confident, and hopefully get the raise you deserve.
Grab a notepad and let’s dive in.
How much should you be earning?
Now is a great time to be looking at what you should be earning. When we put together the Customer Support State of Profession, one of the biggest surprises we found was the disparity in salaries.
Start by grabbing these two resources, and we can help get you on your way to earning more:
- Customer Support State of Profession 2016
- Support Driven Salary Survey
How to use the Customer Support State of Profession 2016:
Customer Support Managers have such varied salaries:
- Average customer service manager salaries range from $30,000 to $105,000
- The majority (32.5%) report earning salaries of between $45,000 and $60,000
- The bottom 10% of Managers reported earning less than $30,000
- Yet 2.5% reported earning more than $105,000 – just as much as directors and VPs of support
This can leave you confused: what salary should you be aiming for, or are you on a good salary already?
To find out why customer support manager salaries were so varied, take a look at the full report. We found that the size of the support teams, and the length of tenure at the company are all variables that can dramatically affect your salary.
The State of the Profession report is really useful to show your boss what the average salary is for someone in your position. This unbiased, empirical research will hold value as the cornerstone of your argument.
How to use the Support Driven Salary Survey:
Thanks to the great community over at Support Driven (if you’re not already a member, join today!) holds anonymous salary information for many professionals working in the customer support industry.
Use the Support Driven Salary Spreadsheet to demonstrate the average salary for people according to your geographic location and your company size.
As an added bonus, Brian Kerr has done the number-crunching and put together a handy analysis of the data. This is particularly useful to illustrate the average salary by company size.
Show you are ambitious and driven to achieve
Jeanne Bliss’s road map to Chief Customer Officer (CCO) is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to progress in the support industry.
In her template, Jeanne outlines a job description for you to use and adapt to your organization. Some of the responsibilities the Chief Customer Officer aims to take on are:
- Engage the organization in managing customer relationships, revenue, and profit.
- Create a persistent focus on the customer in the actions the company takes.
- Drive the organization to work together for optimum customer experience delivery.
- Support leaders in their role as cultural leaders in the transformation journey.
Use this template,to show what you’re already doing. Clearly state this in your meeting, “I’m already doing X, Y, & Z. But I want to take on responsibilities for A and B too.”. This is the chance for you to show your passion, ambition and drive for bigger things at the company by taking on more responsibility. You have show you want it, because you can’t rely on being asked to take a step up.
If you’re not in a position to take on more responsibility, try asking your boss what responsibilities they feel would result in a pay rise. If you can gather that information from your boss, you can go out and prove you’ve done exactly what they’ve asked. You’ll then have high chances of getting the raise you deserve.
“The most successful Chief Customer Officers earn the role because they have successfully run an operation with a customer and employee focus. They are a C-Suite leader with relationships, and they can check their ego at the door to enable others to be successful.”
Did you go above and beyond your expectations?
Well prove it then!
This isn’t an actual question you should be answering directly, but you need to look at the ways you have contributed to the company as a whole.
When we’re searching for a raise, it’s important to benchmark against your expected performance, and your actual performance. This probably would have been agreed by you and your boss at some point in your last review.
In Peggy Mckee’s ebook How to Ask for a Raise at Work, there are some important questions to use to evaluate your work and the value you have contributed to your company.
Gather evidence that proves these things:
- How have you added value to your company?
- Have you regularly performed tasks above your pay grade?
- Have you consistently exceeded goals in your department?
- Have you reduced shrink or loss in your organization?
- Have you improved a process that resulted in better sales or savings?
If you’re having trouble finding evidence to support your claims, here are some ideas and information you should be searching for:
- Past review or evaluations
- Letters, emails or notes from satisfied customers or clients
- Nice notes from your boss or others in your company talking about what a good job you did on something
If you don’t find a lot of evidence that you deserve a raise, you may need to work on providing more value to the organization before deciding it’s the right time to ask.
Mastering your salary review meeting
When you’ve collected all the information you need to schedule your salary review and make your case, you still need to be mindful of your timing.
Ask yourself “How is the company doing?”.
If the company has lost money, or has had to cut costs recently now may not the best time to ask for a raise. But if the company has been growing or had major victories, this may be a great time to step forward.
If you decide now’s the right time, set up a meeting with your manager. If your annual review is coming up in a few weeks, perhaps wait until then. This will give you some extra time to refine your approach and collect any more useful feedback or comments on the way.
If your annual review isn’t for a few months, consider dropping your boss an email to schedule in the meeting. Asking for a salary review meeting a few months in advance won’t affect your chances of earning more in your next annual review.
When you’re in the meeting, it may feel like you’re trying to just get more out of the company. Remember you are there because you love the company and you want to stay. You are there because you want to show them that you deserve more – don’t be afraid to tell them this!
Mention how much you love working for this company, present all the accomplishments you’ve done. and that you believe your work merits additional pay.
This is the point where you should present your research, and be ready to discuss it. You’ll want to guide your boss through the elements that you identified:
- Are you underpaid for the size of your team?
- Geographically is everyone earning more than you?
- Is your base salary just way under the market value?
When you’re this prepared with your research and data, don’t expect your manager to immediately have the answer. They might have been thinking this already, or might need to find out what your company’s policy is. It’s also important to have thought of a number that you feel is fair for all parties. From your research you should have a rough figure in mind that works for your position. It’s really important you have an answer for this even if you are not asked, because it allows you to open up the discussion of what is actually a fair salary.
Relax – you got this support salary boost.
Asking for a pay rise in customer support doesn’t need to be as daunting as it may feel. With a bit of strategic planning with these resources, you’ll be 80% ahead of most annual reviews or salary negotiations.
Review your current performance and plan your future goals, and show that you want to achieve more within the company. Schedule in time with your manager, go through all of your documentation, show that you deserve to earn more and proactively start the discussion.
Have you used these tips? Leave a comment here and let me know how you got on with your salary review.