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HARRY’S COMMENTS: We are working with a New York City based luxury retailer and lifestyle brand in their search for a Director of Customer Service. Given that there’s someone in this role already, I’m going to be somewhat opaque in how I describe my client’s situation.

My client is the world’s leader in the sale of luxury _____ online. The firm sells more luxury _____ per year online than any other independent, singularly focused _____ retailer. The client is passionate about _____ in the way that Starbucks is about coffee and Nike is about running. All of these companies help people self-actualize through their products and services.

My client prides itself on its ability to leverage state-of-the-art technology to create a seamless, rewarding, compelling customer experience for _____ lovers, from the inception of their interest and curiosity and intrigue about _____ all the way through to the conclusion of a sale and the feeding of their _____ habit.

According to my client’s CEO, “People buy a luxury _____ to feel better about themselves. We leverage technology in unique ways to build that human connection, to build the trust, the satisfaction, to enable that passion.” Basically, it’s all about treating the customer as an appreciating asset.

Meanwhile, my client’s customer service function is in disarray …

Currently, there’s weak leadership in the customer service function, and the team is poorly resourced — with too few reps during peak times and too many reps during the slow times. Overall, there’s a lack of best in class customer service functionality in my client’s organization, and its customer service reps vary greatly in terms of their talent, drive, and knowledge of the product category.

“Customers do not buy products or services so much as they buy expectations.” – Theodore Levitt, Marketing Imagination (1986)

My client’s average order value is terrifically high, and its affluent customers (rightfully) expect to be treated like gold. In fact, the goal is to help these customers feel better about themselves because of their relationship with my client. Meaning, your team will be tasked with treating these customers with an authentic empathy that’s consistent, relevant, anticipated, and personal. Obviously, doing so will require you and your team to capture and leverage accurate customer data so customers never have to tell you the same thing twice.

As my client’s new Director of Customer Service, you may be asked to impact any (or all) of the following CS areas …

  1. Staffing: Team configuration; Scheduling; Work rules; Forecasting; Absenteeism; Part-time ratios; Overflow management; etc.
  2. CS Rep training / development: Communication skills; Aptitudes and abilities; Training; Empowerment; Schedule adherence; Motivation; Pacing; etc.
  3. Environment: Lighting; Noise; Equipment; Appearance; etc. And …
  4. Customer data capture / Analytics / Reporting: Access preference; Communication preferences; Mood; product preference and pricing tolerances; Knowledge of product; Expectations of product and client

The last bit about analytics, reporting, and forecasting cannot be overstressed. A good forecast predicts the three major components of call load: 1.) Talk time; 2.) After call wrap-up; and 3.) Call volume. As the new Director of Customer Service, on a regular basis you will be expected to …

  • Establish accessibility and interaction quality objectives
  • Collect data on customer needs and values
  • Forecast call loads for the company
  • Calculate base staff requirements
  • Calculate system resource requirements
  • Calculate rostered staff factors and organize schedules
  • Calculate and manage customer service costs
  • Optimize the company’s mix of people and technology
  • Analyze and optimize customer service KPI’s, including customer satisfaction; loyalty; employee satisfaction; turnover; service levels; response time; percent abandoned calls; cost per contact; contact quality; actual to forecasted call load; actual two scheduled staff; adherence to schedule; and average handling time.

A while back, Forrester Research released an interesting report that listed the six components of a “Voice of the Customer” (VoC) program as Listening; Interpreting; Reacting; Monitoring; Culture and alignment; Governance and organization. Make no mistake: As my client’s new Director of Customer Service, YOU will be responsible for making sure that the customer has a voice, and that voice is appreciated, understood, and acted upon.

If that appeals to you, we would love to hear from you. In your calls with us, be ready to help us understand the following things about you …

  • Prior experience in the customer service function: You must love serving others, and you must love solving problems. That must be in your nature.
  • Demonstrable performance in turning something around: (We’d like to hear you say stuff like … “I went into a similar situation where the process and structure was broken. I applied this tactic … This strategy … I got this result …”
  • Overall business acumen: You must understand how data is used to enhance the performance of the role. You must understand how to run a cost center: What’s a cost center? How should we budget resources? How would you build a labor plan that flexes with consumer need? Again, you should understand call center scheduling and have the intelligence to use data and optimize labor hours accordingly.
  • Resourcefulness: There will be times when an affluent customer calls with a BIG problem. They will expect to be treated wil intelligence and empathy. You may have to improvise! Can you do that? Help us understand how you have managed a situation where you had no one to call and you had to get creative to solve a problem.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE AMAZING IN THIS ROLE. IS THAT YOU??

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Allan Seibert. To apply, CLICK HERE.  Candidates, please be sure to email Allan for additional information that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.

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