eBay’s head of Customer Service Steve Boehm speaks out

steve boehmVideo interviews with eBay executives seem to be very much in vogue and the latest comes from Steve Boehm. He’s the Senior Vice President of Global Customer Experience.

He says of his role: “I lead the Global Customer Experience teams for eBay. That comprises customer service, billing and payments, risk and policy, and customer trust teams. Our primary mission is to remove friction from the eBay ecosystem. Our singular focus is to make eBay easier to use, more reliable, and more consistent from the customer’s point of view.”

It’s a short video but two things leap out to me. Firstly, his definition of “customer” in an eBay context does seem to predominately mean a buyer. And secondly, the example of a dispute he singles out does seem to regard seller non-performance. That does seem to betray a bias that many sellers will recognise.

In the longer transcript of the discussion that isn’t in the video, Boehm makes an interesting statement about how eBay has been working to improve customer service: “We’ve spent a lot of time and money building a coaching practice to teach our teammates how to deal with complexity while simultaneously focusing on the needs of each individual customer. We have invested heavily in technology and tools so that our people have the information they need to serve customers well. We have made a tremendous amount of progress as measured through customer satisfaction feedback, and yet we have so much more room to improve.

But being great at customer service is about a lot more than quickly and accurately solving issues after the fact. It’s about simplifying our policies, being more transparent about actions we take and the steps customers need to take to return to trading on our platform. It is a holistic way of thinking about and designing the services and products our customers use to run their businesses on eBay, or that buyers use to shop. I’m really excited about a lot of the upcoming changes we’ll be sharing with our global constituency in the coming months.”

It seems that we have some big announcements in the pipeline. Maybe we’ll see some big news come out of San Jose as part of the eBay 20th anniversary events.

But, in the meantime, what do you think of Steve Boehm’s comments?