For Samsung Electronics UK, winning best Large Contact Centre at the UK Customer Experience Awards in London towards the end of 2014 was a proud moment, not just because it was the first time Samsung has ever ventured into the world of customer service recognition awards, but also because it provided a milestone in a much wider journey covering all aspects of customer engagement and support conceived by Brian Ford, Samsung UK and Ireland Service Director.
‘Putting Customers at the heart of everything we do sounds a bit clichéd’ says Brian, ‘but it is a fundamental part of continually building brand loyalty with all customers. And given the breadth of Samsung technology, providing support which exceeds a wide range of customer expectations requires ongoing innovation which is as good as the technology products themselves’.
Category:- Contact Centre Large
Often, technology support is seen as a transactional process and its performance is measured by the speed of answering questions and satisfying customers. However, at Samsung we have been driving a new approach which really engages with customers differently, but more importantly in a way that meets these diverse needs in an effective, efficient and often unexpected way.
‘Two years ago we reflected on the support we offered our customers. We believed what we were doing was good and we had lots of data to support this view, but our vision was to transform the customer experience journey. We wanted to ensure that every customer touch point added value and instil the belief that there is always the potential to improve’.
Although the overarching programme Samsung has been driving includes voice, online, remote and face to face support both, in the home and now in a growing network of retail based Samsung Support Centres, central to the success has been the rejuvenated Customer Contact Centres.
And it is in the Contact Centre area that Samsung has particularly applied its three pillar strategy
‘Our Contact Centres are at the heart of interacting with our Customers and probably the most important element, and the first pillar of our strategy, is our people, the team of Support Agents who communicate with consumers, business clients, retailers and services companies every day. Don’t get me wrong, we had a good team in place already, but we wanted to create a sense of change on which to build our overall progress.’
‘So as part of our vision we opened a completely new on-shore Contact Centre in Leeds. We created over 300 new jobs for people who really wanted to work with Samsung and most importantly ‘loved’ our technology’.
‘They are a great team of people who share the Samsung enthusiasm to create technology which can really help and enhance the way we all live our everyday lives. We invest heavily on training, product exposure, working environment and individual development so everyone in the team can get a sense of satisfaction and potential progress in the roles they play. We support staff to maximise everything they do and to recognise they can make the difference personally to our customers on every single interaction.
It is obvious that Samsung has placed great emphasise on the people in its team, but many would say there is nothing unusual in that. But the second strategic pillar is where real customer experience differentiation is achieved.
Samsung is a technology company that has built a reputation for continuously pushing the boundaries in design, functionality and interconnectivity of the broad product portfolio. The range is seemingly endless stretching from mobile phones to televisions, kitchen appliances to robotic vacuum cleaners, printers, to air-conditioning, the list goes on, so, to provide exceptional support across everything Samsung is clearly a big challenge
‘Our second strategy has been to build completely new support tool which help Samsung agents to support customers in the best possible way. These include:
- • Remote device management enabling Samsung agents to effectively ‘take control’ of the customer’s product and show the resolution to the questions whilst they talk to them over the phone. This also enable Samsung to remotely fix software and setup issues without any need for an on-site engineer or the customer having to send their product away
- • Use of a bespoke internet-based product simulator which can be shared with the customer to resolve 60% of issues
- A web-based facility, so customers can log issues 24/7 enabling our Contact Centre agents to find a solution before contacting the customer back
‘As our technology becomes more and more interconnected, customers need to have the confidence that we can help them make the most of the products they have invested in. These technology tools not only solve questions, but help to explain the solutions to increase overall customer understanding and of course support satisfaction.
The final strategy is one which is engrained in the way Samsung works. Brian explains, ‘We continually investigate every detail, every interaction, every process and we scrutinise how we can get better. It can never be perfect every time, but when it isn’t the highest quality support customers deserve, we strive to learn and change. A simple logic, but this requires diligent and focused hard work all the time’.
When you talk to Brian and his team you get a real sense of humility but linked to an honest desire to get better and keep improving. Certainly these principles are working with first time issue resolution close to 90%, customer satisfaction consistently in the 90’s and Net Promoter Scores nudging 80.
As a result of listening to their customers and constantly seeking to exceed their expectations, Samsung is well placed to support customers to derive all the benefits from their technology as part of the growing connected digital world.
DIRECTOR | SERVICE, SAMSUNG UK AND IRELAND
Brian Ford has been Service Director at Samsung since January 2009. He is responsible for every aspect of After Sales Customer Experience and Service for all products in the Samsung portfolio including Consumer Electronics (TV, domestic appliance and digital imaging), mobile phones, tablets, and computers. In addition his remit covers the support infrastructure for business to business clients covering a diverse range from printing to large format display to air conditioning.
Through his team he manages consumer and business client support through Contact Centres in Leeds, Cairo and Manila supporting customers through Voice, Online, Social Media and Remote Services. He also oversees engineer service delivery through a Network of 250 regional and national service companies and retail based Samsung Support centres across the UK & Ireland.
Brian originally trained as an electronics and electrical design draughtsman. He qualified in 1987 and worked at the Harwell Science & Innovation Campus on the design of Electron Accelerators.