BLUF: What, if anything, should I be on-the-look-out for when interviewing for a "customer relationship manager" position versus the traditional "employee relationship manager" type of position?
For those of you up-to-speed already, I apologize. Just a quick overview of where I am and how I ended up at this spot.
At this time last year, I officially became a manager of a team of 7 folks doing front-line work with our customers. In late July, through a staff reduction and corporate restructuring, I was one of the two managers in our group that got "demoted" back to where we were beforehand - as front-line contributors ourselves.
I haven't been thrilled with this as a concept because I'm much more interested in the long-term relationship building and managing a specific team was right up my alley. I'm good at the front-line work but I loathe it. (Luckily the customers don't see it because I go on auto-pilot and smile when I talk but overall I'm miserable in this front-line role.)
When the reorganization was announced, I applied for this "customer relationship manager" position but at the time, the internal application process was like rats scurrying around on a sinking ship (imagine the visual.) I didn't get past the initial recruiter person. Not a big surprise but I was still interested in the job.
A month ago, the job was posted again and I applied. This time I made it past the recruiter girl and I'm scheduled to meet with the Executive that the position reports to on Weds. The gig is mostly just being the "go to person" for a specific group of customers throughout the life of their time with our company. The position acts in a consultative role, makes presentations, helps brainstorm and strategically plan with the customers to make sure they're getting the most bang for their bucks with our company. While it's not the "true manager" job I would love to have again, I would be MUCH happier in the role than I am now and I would have a lot more to contribute to the company as a whole.
That said, moving from the Setup group to the Support group is the first "hurdle" (having had no employee experience in the Support area) but I'd also like some feedback from you wise folks who've been around a while as to what things I should be aware of, look out for, proactively address, etc. in terms of managing (the relationships with our) customers and my past experiences in managing true employees.
Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Known pitfalls? Any and all input gratefully accepted, as always!