eBay Europe: What it takes to be a CX leader

1st Jun 2015
Editor MyCustomer
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Customer experience leader

As VP for customer experience at eBay Europe, Jean-Marc Codsi oversees the designing of customer services and sales strategies for one of the biggest regional ecommerce providers in the world. 

Welcome Jean-Marc. Thanks for taking the time to share with us the way in which customer experience is making a difference at eBay.

CW. How long have you been in a customer experience role and what does your role entail on a day-to-day basis?

J-MC. I’ve always been in contact with customers, either in sales or services. I find it extremely rewarding when a customer gets what s/he needs from the brand and leaves with a big smile on his face.

My role is all about teams. Recruiting team mates with passion for customers, ensuring these teams have got the best tools and best coaching and training to do the job and have customers recognise eBay for a great experience. There are a million other things to check but fundamentally, it’s all about the people.

CW. Could you tell us about your career path to this role? Do you think this reflects a typical pathway to a role in customer experience?

J-MC. I started in sales, for consumer package goods and realised it was easier to sell when the product was working as designed so I started getting interested in how to improve the services, using customer feedback for example and spending a disproportionate amount of time on understanding the customer business, in detail.

I spent 10-plus years in business process outsourcing, creating experiences for large brands like HP and Philips, across Europe. It was all about inventing new ways to serve customers and be more efficient.

Typically, customer experience professionals will have a strong passion for customers and people, and an inherited attention to detail. We get a kick out of optimising processes and improving details overtime. These are portable skills which companies do not leverage enough in other functions (product, marketing, business…), in my opinion.

CW. In what department does customer experience sit in your organisation, and why?

J-MC. It sits in a global team with two other global functions, billing and payment and risk/trust and policies. There is a logic of having this independent from the regional businesses as we are building a true global customer experience for eBay customers, around the world.

Generally, this function sits with the CMO or with the chief commercial officer. At eBay, the SVP of customer experience plays the role of a chief customer officer, for the world.

CW. Why did eBay feel the need to have resources/roles dedicated to customer experience? 

J-MC. The role is essential. Products/changes are launched and they don’t always work 100% and you don’t want to leave customers hanging. Our teams are there to solve the issues and help the product teams fix the product upstream. We measure our success in the % of customers who stay and remain loyal despite these “bugs”.

CW. What qualities are required to be a customer experience professional?

J-MC. Passion for customers and people and attention to detail. You learn to take accountability for your actions and decision. There is no hiding and that’s electrifying.

CW. What advice can you give for other professionals and businesses to become customer experience-orientated?

J-MC. Customer-centricity is essential to building long enduring brands. Over time, it pays off to listen to your customers (even if companies are often tempted to take short cuts) and fix your basics. Everyone knowns what to fix but very few CEOs have got the guts to do the right thing. I have met a few in my career and these are the leaders you want to work for when you are a customer experience professional!

CW. In your opinion, which brands / executives set the standard for customer experience?

J-MC. industries are known for great service/experience (retail stores, commerce), some are commoditised and struggle to use CX as a differentiator (Telecom, financial services, airlines), because customers do not value the extra touch.

You can spot the leaders and their teams who fundamentally care about their customers just by reading their annual reports or listening to investor calls, it’s very clear where the customer agenda sit.

One story which inspired me is from Brian Chesky (founder of AirBnB) who spent the first year of his company living out of his members’ apartments, changing every day for a year, getting to know his customers. I can guarantee you that the culture he has created in his successful company as a result is truly customer centric!

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