Manager of Customer Relations
The focus of the Manager of Customer Relations is on delivering outstanding customer service to new, existing and returning customers (adopters, pet relinquishers and visitors). Manages a staff of Client Service Representatives and ensures that customers are retained, satisfied and that their needs are fulfilled. Assists in conflict resolution when disputes arise so that win/win solutions are reached whenever possible, and difficult situations are resolved prior to escalating. Provides tours to VIP guests and groups, and may serve as a community liaison at various events and venues. Responsible for designing and implementing improved processes or operations to manage customer flow and quality of service. Recommends changes to services to fulfill customer needs. Manages post-adoption follow-up program, in addition to special promotions and incentives for adopters.
This position requires a work-week of Wednesday through Sunday since Friday, Saturday and Sunday represent the busiest days for customer traffic and adoptions. Hours are 11 am to 7 pm.
- Oversee customer service in the Adoption Center on a day-to-day basis, ensuring the adoption of as many pets as possible while utilizing a sound match-making process; this will entail creating positive adopter experiences along with animal placements that are mutually well suited to the pet and adopter.
- Maintain sound judgment and an “Open Adoptions” approach in evaluating prospective adopters; become highly proficient in the ASPCA’s “Meet Your Match” adoption process.
- When necessary, deal with challenging clients; utilize problem-solving techniques in order to come up with optimal outcomes for our customers.
- During busy periods, the Customer Service Manager may be called upon to work directly with adopters to facilitate client interactions and pet adoptions.
- Respond to written and emailed inquiries related to general pet adoption or specific cases; maintain a high standard of written communication.
- Respond to telephone inquiries regarding general pet adoption and specific questions arising among adopters post-adoption.
- Motivate Client Service Representatives (CSR’s) using coaching, positive reinforcement and principles of adult learning; hold regularly scheduled meetings with the CSR group.
- Implement the ASPCA’s Skill Based Pay program to continually develop the CSR staff and enhance their skills.
- As appropriate, interview and hire new CSR staff; ensure that new staff are trained in protocols and procedures.
- Manage the CSR team’s schedules, time off requests, and staff coverage, in accordance with Union guidelines.
- Participate in the ASPCA’s Action Planning Process, ensuring that the CSR team’s needs are addressed and that employee morale and satisfaction are optimal.
- Track data and generate reports regarding relevant factors impacting adoption rates, e.g. daily browsers, adoptions by species, adopter geographies, reasons for not adopting (from adopter surveys), returns, etc. Utilize this data to identify trends and areas for improvement. Make data-based decisions regarding recommended changes in adoption fees, promotional activities, policies, etc.
- Ensure that Client Service Representatives communicate the Daily Adoption lists to appropriate staff members, along with photos of high-profile pets, such as those brought to us by Humane Law Enforcement, Cruelty Intervention & Advocacy and Field Investigations & Response.
- Become proficient in handling disciplinary action with staff, when necessary; learn and master the progressive discipline process required by the Union.
- Write “happy tail” summaries for high-profile pets, in addition to long-stay pets, and email these to the appropriate parties.
- Interface with pet relinquishment clients in order to provide excellent customer service in a timely, efficient and professional manner; this may involve supporting the Intake Team by helping to manage customer flow, facilitating customer service associated with animal intake, and referring clients to other resources when appropriate- e.g. AC&C, Breed Rescue, etc.
- Facilitate interactions with “walk-in” customers who are in need of services other than adoption or pet relinquishment; e.g. provide information on resources such as the ASPCA’s Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinics, ASPCA Animal Hospital, etc. and assist in referring customers to the appropriate resources.
- Oversee the entry of “Do Not Adopt” listings in the PetPoint database; this will include receiving alerts from other departments (e.g. HLE) and other organizations (e.g. Mayor’s Alliance) and evaluating this information to determine whether or not the client should be an ASPCA “Do Not Adopt.”
- Liaise with other departments which serve Adoptions clients in order to share information regarding each case, e.g. communicating with the ASPCA Hospital staff regarding the needs of specific adopters, etc.
- Provide guest tours for visitors and other groups, including school groups and youth groups
- When necessary, design, organize and implement educational group activities for visiting youth groups and youth volunteers, e.g. assembling litter boxes, making cat-toys, etc. (Note that due to space constraints we try to keep these activities to a minimum but in some cases special circumstances require that we make special accommodations for certain groups).
- As appropriate, serve as community liaison for various community based activities, e.g. events, outreach, local community boards etc.
- Participate in the development and implementation of specific promotions or events designed to enhance and increase pet adoptions; for example, the “Refer-a-Friend” program, Cat Friday event, etc. Implement metrics to measure each initiative’s success, ensuring that they are “high-impact” regarding their ability to generate more adoptions (vs. appealing ideas that may not increase adoptions).
- Develop and implement grassroots outreach efforts to promote awareness of the Pet Adoption Center; this may include leveraging the Mobile Adoption Center and/or involving the Volunteer Program to explore outreach opportunities.
- Become well versed in the ASPCA’s positions and policies regarding pet adoption issues so that these can be communicated well to the public; e.g. adopting black cats on Halloween, waiving adoption fees, etc.
- Liaise with Media and Communications regarding promotional events, adopter issues or general adoption policies, when necessary.
- Liaise with Development regarding high profile adopters who may represent cultivation potential.
- Liaise with Corporate Sponsorships regarding partnership opportunities with corporate sponsors.
- Liaise with Community Outreach colleagues to share information regarding the Adoption Center’s initiatives, and to gather new ideas for increasing pet adoptions, e.g. the use of ASPCA Pro. Stay on top of new trends and initiatives in shelters across the country, and distribute new information and/or articles to the CSR Team, among others.
- Bachelor's degree
- 3-5 years management experience, preferably in Customer Service
- Experience in conflict resolution
- Teaching and/or coaching experience preferred
- Initiate and stimulate cooperation within a team
- Coordination and planning of people and time management
- Anticipate and react effectively to problems
- Possess sound decision making skills and multi-task while working in a fast-paced environment
- Excellent coaching and teaching skills, particularly centered around adult learning principles
- Excellent oral, written, and communication skills required
- Must be able to work with all types of people
- Must be organized
- Administrative skills
- Ability to analyze data
- Ability to utilize database management software, e.g. PetPoint
Training in conflict resolution, negotiation and customer service preferred. Training in Adult Learning Principles and Dialogue Education a plus.
While this position does not require any direct interactions with animals, the candidate should feel comfortable with being around large numbers of cats and dogs. Animal Handling skills are a plus.
We encourage a candidate who demonstrates outstanding inter-personal communication and the ability to work in a team environment or independently, with a high degree of integrity and accountability. This position welcomes a candidate with a sense of humor that can balance flexibility and enthusiasm and thrives on detail!!
Our generous benefit package includes the following for full-time employees and (if qualified, we offer domestic partner coverage!) Medical, Dental, Vision, STD, LTD, 401(k), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Transit checks, Tuition Assistance Program, Training Seminars, EAP, 50% hospital discount, Vacation, Sick, Personal & Company Holiday time off.