“Brands need to do things that build trust and reliance, just like you would in interpersonal relationships,” says Josh Ives, the VP of Customer Experience Management and Strategy at Samsung Electronics America. Josh has always been interested in the relationship between marketing and services.
Josh’s passion for understanding what brands mean to people steered him into a career where he was able to impact how customer service and customer experience affects the relationship with the end consumer. In this episode, I talk to Josh about what customer experience leadership looks like in a large, multi-service organization like Samsung.
Assess the Work to be Done and Focus
Josh previously worked at tech-related companies like Apple and Electronic Arts, and was excited about the opportunity to work at Samsung, a tech company that provides multiple services to consumers. Upon starting his new role at Samsung, like all CX and high-level leaders, Josh had to assess the work that needed to be done. Here’s what assessing the work to be done looked like in his first year:
In thinking about the customer journey and how to appeal to his customer base, Josh started by painting a big-picture journey of a consumer who starts with Samsung at various touch points. Whether you’re talking about a phone, a TV, a refrigerator, or a washing machine, it’s critical to understand where are the experiences that make them want to stick with the brand or not stick with the brand. Then, it’s important to try to identify data sources to understand what consumer behaviors are and whether or not the consumer feels better about Samsung after some of these experiences.
Present the Customer Experience Story to Leadership
Since Josh’s position was new and he was recruited by the CEO of the US region at the time, he already had some support behind his team’s CX implementation. The CEO and the C-Suite had a vision that enabled this work to be done. Once in the role, Josh spent a lot of energy finding ways to put more of the decision-makers across the organization in front of real customer experiences.
Josh put together a program that was called Care Academy internally at Samsung. The goal of this program is to have the top execs spend a day in the shoes of a customer service agent in a call center, and to also ride along with someone who’s doing repairs in the field. This immediately reminded me of my conversation with Christine Corbett, the CCO of Australia’s Postal Service. Christine and her team successfully created a similar internal program in order to assess pain points in the delivery service for Australia’s postal customers; it’s always helpful when the C-Suite can connect to the frontline and get closer to the customer experience. Similar to Christine, Josh found that the Care Academy was helpful in driving quicker decision-making and change among leadership.
Develop a Recovery Service Model and Seek Solutions
Samsung was under heavy pressure after recalls of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 last summer, when the phones would unexpectedly catch fire. Josh claims that this was a successful recall for Samsung because they recalled 100% of the product. They relied a lot on partners, marketing, PR, and other departments involved with the recall in order to develop and disseminate clear messaging around how to provide the best experience for customers a part of this recall.
When it comes to service recovery and crisis management, ensure that all teams involved with the customer experience are aware of the solutions and messages to communicate. To Josh, it was important that the customer service team was clear on how to solve this problem with customers. “We will always seek to provide a solution, not an answer,” says Josh. Often, leaders get caught up in reputation management and dealing with the problem on a high level, but you can’t forget about the frontline as they’re the team who engages with your actual asset, the customers!
What do You Know NOW That You Wish You Knew THEN
- Learn the organization, seek out the people on your team and on other teams that have been there for a long time, and glean from them what are the ways that gets the work done at that company because every company has a slightly different way of getting things done.
- Spend more time understanding the organization and why things are the way they are. Learn the different way things are done, which may be differently than what you’re used to.
- Don’t come into places with a mindset that, “Well, I was brought in here to make all this change.” Yes, you may have been, but you really need to learn first.
About Josh Ives
Once described as ‘the marketing guy who thinks he’s a service guy,” Josh Ives is bringing a fresh perspective to the nature of customer care at Samsung Electronics in North America where he serves as the Vice President, Customer Experience Management overseeing the team responsible for the majority of the company’s interactions with consumers.
Since joining Samsung, Josh has been instrumental in changing the way consumers across North America not only interact with the electronics maker on a daily basis, but how they view the brand. His primary goal is one of ensuring the company takes care of customers in a way that lives up to its brand promise.
Josh spent the early part of his career serving as a customer experience consultant, working with a variety of brands and organizations, including Apple Inc., Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, MMC, TIME Inc., National Geographic and Rodale Publications.