In this interview we talk to Samsung's chief customer officer, Bob Taylor about the mobile giant's approach to CX, and why CX can eliminate the traditional 'turf wars' that can occur in multinational businesses over who owns the customer.
Welcome Bob. Thanks for taking the time to share with us the way in which customer experience is making a difference at Samsung.
CW: How long have you been in a customer experience role and what does your job entail?
BT: As a customer experience practitioner, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great companies over the last 15 years across many different industries. From the inception of the internet as a channel, to the mobile device as a primary interface for co-creating an environment that changes based on the consumer – it’s been an exciting and challenging journey.
I have been at Samsung SDS for just over 18 months and our team manages the innovation that solves business issues for customers. We work to help clients frame up the business issue, scan the technology landscape for best practices and integrate or develop a leading-edge solution that ultimately leads to an exciting and engaging customer interaction.
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?
BT: Is there a typical path for customer experience?! At the moment, probably not. The most fun CX evangelists operate based on a wide variety of experiences, and are in touch with the latest technology trends and have a deep understanding of the client customer archetypes. For me, strategy consultation laid a strong foundation for understanding industry differences, process reengineering, data and measurement.
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Segmentation and Voice of the Customer (VoC) work such as customer journey mapping, building personas, understanding customer lifecycles, building omnichannel communications are all crucial to the customer experience role and can be implemented within the enterprise; as can focus groups and VoC analysis. Passion, vision, and energy are described as table stakes in our team for this career path.
CW: In what department does customer experience sit in your organisation, and why?
BT: Marketing, sales and service all report into the Chief Customer Officer role. This eliminates turf wars and helps prioritise the changes for the good of the customer. This also provides a solid business case for the current transformation with accountability for revenue lift, profitability enhancement and the increased lifespan of loyal customers.
CW: Why did the company feel the need to have resources/roles dedicated to customer experience?
BT: The market demands it every day. We work with the largest companies in the market, and they are used to a degree of customisation for their specific business needs. When we treated them the same as any other company in their industry or of a similar business model, we heard that we really did not understand their unique business challenges. In order to successfully transform businesses, we felt that we needed the credibility and experience of an organisation that is focused on its customer’s success.
CW: What advice can you give for other professionals and businesses to become customer experience-orientated?
BT: For businesses, I’d say the following: Most of our work today is helping businesses make services more transparent to consumers. Mobile devices act as a lens into the business, while also acting as data storage for preferences that help enable a highly-customisable environment for each individual. We strive to help our clients look at their business not as business-to-business or business-to-customer, but as customer-to-business. How can they let their customers get the information and experience they need when they need it? How will they feel, emotionally, about this process? This will better align a solution with their needs, improve NPS scores and create more long-term brand loyalty.
Is there a typical path for customer experience?! At the moment, probably not.
For professionals specifically, I’d add: Steer past the basic ‘feel-good’ projects with leaders who say “they will figure it out along the way” for the projects that are tightly aligned with the firm’s core values and principles. Ideally, tight KPIs and a good business case are present, but if not (and I have had many successful programs with results that were better than the initial high-level business case) then ensure that you take an outside-in approach and understand the key archetypes which are targeted for the changes. How customers emotionally attach to these interactions is crucial to moving the needle on loyalty scoring. A keen understanding of the technology advances and business processes allow for a vision that is better suited to the challenge. Change management is key to sustaining value and adoption.
CW: In your opinion, which brands / executives set the standard for customer experience?
BT: Zappos, Four Seasons, Disney and Amazon are some of the classics we look to for breaking the CX mould. My favorite new one - Rebecca Minkoff. Minkoff and eBay teamed up last year for Connected Stores for creating a personalised shopping environment. The stores have gone well and I am looking forward to the next iteration!
About Chris Ward
Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.