How to Become a Service Delivery Manager (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 28, 2022

Published May 9, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Service delivery management positions typically pay well and are worth pursuing if you have an interest in the field. Delivery managers help address client concerns, lead team projects, and streamline company operations, so that clients consistently receive their services on time. Understanding more about the role of a service delivery manager can increase your chances of getting hired for these positions. In this article, we review the roles of the position, outline how to get the job, and explain the overall outlook for service management positions in the future.

What is service delivery management?

Service delivery management is the managerial aspect of ensuring the delivery of a service to a client. Despite a clear focus on services, those involved in service delivery management also may help deliver products to clients. This is especially true of digital goods, where the difference between product and service delivery is somewhat unclear. Service delivery management typically involves the use of business software and frequent communication with other people.

Service delivery managers are the primary point of contact for clients. Clients speak with managers online, over the phone, or in person about the services the manager's company provides. It's the manager's duty to address a client's concerns and answer any questions they have. Sometimes a manager can do this themselves, but often they bring a client's concerns to their team, who then work together to solve any issues. A manager may also work to improve their team's efficiency and overall ability to meet the needs of clients.

How to become a service delivery manager

When discussing how to become a service delivery manager, it helps to understand that this is a multidisciplinary position. Service delivery managers usually benefit from a bachelor's degree, although the ideal major varies. Companies look for candidates skilled in both customer relations and team management, as the position involves frequent contact with people both inside and outside the company. One of the most important duties of a service delivery manager is to help clients understand a company's services. Then, if a customer has any issues, the service delivery manager resolves those problems as soon as possible.

The way to become a strong service delivery manager candidate is fairly straightforward. The recommended steps to take are as follows:

1. Pursue a bachelor's degree

The majority of service delivery managers have at least a bachelor's degree. A degree in computer science, information technology, or a similar field is likely to give a candidate the biggest advantage if they pursue an IT-heavy management position. Other service delivery manager positions have less of an IT focus, and candidates may benefit more from a degree in business or a related field. If you hope to pursue a service delivery manager position, decide early how much IT versus customer service work is preferable for you.

In some ways, there are two positions that go by "service delivery manager." Oftentimes, the position refers to a manager charged with ensuring customers can access and use a company's digital services and products. In some cases, it instead refers to a manager who spends little, if any, time on a computer. Both service delivery managers ostensibly perform the same broad duties, but working digital services and products is a significantly different set of skills than working with more tangible services and products.

Related: What Is an Undergraduate Degree? (With Steps to Earn One)

2. Gain relevant experience

Service delivery manager positions are generally not entry-level. Companies look for candidates who can demonstrate the ability to lead teams and work well with customers. Experience in marketing and logistics is also likely to benefit a candidate, as service delivery managers may work extensively with other company staff and contractors in those fields. Service delivery management is often multidisciplinary and a broad skill set can help you communicate with specialists in the company to solve problems.

Customer service experience, such as being a call center representative or social media specialist, can show a company you can effectively interact with clients. Early leadership roles, such as working in a managerial or assistant managerial position, can reinforce the idea you have the skills to lead groups and accomplish mutual goals. Companies may also look for people familiar with their preferred software, with spreadsheet proficiency a common requirement among many companies.

Related: 10 Types of Leadership Experience You May Not Know You Have

3. Review the current marketplace

The national average salary of a service delivery manager is $60,673 per year. This is important to note, as Montréal offers an average salary of $54,400 for the same position. Similarly, service delivery managers in Kentville have an average salary of $88,783 per year. For candidates willing to move and who have the experience, it's possible to make significantly more than the national average as a service delivery manager. A willingness to move also greatly expands the number of eligible openings.

Reviewing the current marketplace can also offer candidates other advantages. You may identify companies with a culture you think you might enjoy. Some companies may offer benefit packages that suit your needs. Some job seekers may seek smaller companies with more personal relationships with their peers and management. These companies usually offer less compensation, but that may be less important to you than other tangible or intangible benefits they offer. Any benefits a position offers bear considering alongside the salary a company offers, as they can make holding the position long term more satisfying and convenient.

4. Begin the application process

Once you have identified the areas you intend to apply to and any company preferences you have, the application process can begin. Write a strong resume, outlining your relevant education and work experience. It may also help to research specifics about the company you apply for that may not come up in the job listing. A strong understanding of a company's work culture helps in both the application process and in interviews if you progress to the next stage.

As a managerial position with a fairly competitive average salary, many individuals may apply to the same positions as you. Consider what might help to keep your application competitive. A strong cover letter, with excellent formatting and persuasive content, can help you show your strengths. Additionally, be precise in how you follow a company's application process, following all rules and suggestions.

5. Interview as a leader

When a company likes your application, you usually then go through a multi-step interview. First, most companies begin by determining which candidates seem broadly capable of meeting the requirements of the position. They may then interview the most promising candidates of that initial interview phase again. In some cases, a company might interview candidates three or more times even after that, usually dependent on the number of candidates and resources of the company hiring.

At every step of the interview process, remember that this is a leadership position. Try to maintain a calm, confident demeanour and show respect for your past employers and work colleagues. Employers want to find a candidate who can lead, so try to highlight any projects you successfully led or situations where you rallied a team towards a common goal. If you can do this while also showing experience working with clients and helping address their needs, that's even better. During the interview, try to regulate your breathing and remember you have the experience and education they're seeking.

Related: 17 Interview Tips to Help You Get the Job

Outlook for the position

The outlook for those interested in service delivery management is quite positive. Data from the Government of British Columbia shows growth in various service fields for several years now, only recently dipping slightly in some areas. From 2001 to 2019, British Columbia alone saw their services-producing sector grow each year, generally by twenty thousand to forty thousand new hires, sometimes significantly more.

Service delivery managers working in more tangible services and goods also can expect continuing work opportunities. The education and skills these service delivery managers learn allow them to transfer between industries fairly easily. The fundamentals a service delivery manager uses to deliver services often remain the same between industries, or at least very similar. A service delivery manager who notices lag in the opportunities their current industry offers can likely shift to a more promising industry quickly. So long as service-based industries exist, companies operating on a large enough scale can greatly benefit from hiring managers.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organization‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌, ‌and‌ ‌location.‌ Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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