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Reinventing Roles for a New Era: Customer Care


The COVID-19 pandemic is not only changing where and how we work, it is reinventing job roles — possibly permanently.

As part of a Q&A series, Samsung employees across business areas are sharing their views on how they have redefined their roles for today and what they expect their roles to look like in the future. They are also are offering advice to those now entering the profession as the collective workforce discussion shifts from what now to what next.

Jeff Stowell headshot.

Jeff Stowell at his home office.

Name: Jeffrey Stowell [LinkedIn]
Title: Vice President, Customer Support and Digital Transformation
Location: Greenville, SC
Years with Samsung: 2 months

1. What inspired you to pursue a career in Customer Support Operations?

I was more than likely inspired to pursue a career in Customer Support Operations because of the ten summers I worked as a kid at my dad’s fruit stand in Sunnyvale, CA. I handled all aspects of the business and knew how to anticipate customers’ level of quality, service, and resolve to make for a great brand. Unknowingly at the time, I became more attached to having an innate ability to keep things simple, which proved to be a beacon for me as I moved into complex organizations.

2. How would you describe your day-to-day role pre-COVID?

Pre-COVID-19 proved to only be three weeks for me as I’m new to the company. During that time, my main priority was to soak up information and the company culture. Had the pandemic not occurred, my day-to-day would have centered around identifying procedural CX gaps with ideas on betterment through cross-functional collaboration. In addition, I would have focused on refining the magic that exists between the interaction of our front line customer care representatives and our consumers to ensure that we build in more humanity in our service touch points, our voice, and our execution.

3. How have you reimagined your role for today?

To transcend beyond basic execution and merge into the customer manage journey. Basically anticipating needs and delivering not on just a procedural level but an emotional one.  That requires ensuring our front line team has the autonomy, mastery, and purpose built into their environments each and every day.  This role requires the ability to listen and adapt our all of our consumer needs and provide the ability to enable our team to make great judgement calls on behalf of the customer and company when there are gray areas.

Jeff Stowell Virtual Zoom Meeting

Jeff Stowell meets with his team regularly via video conference.

4. What changes will you expect to keep for the future and why?

Without question, we’re implementing a more dynamic and expeditious “disaster” recovery plan. The ability in customer care to be geographically broader and more nimble with WFH, where we can flip on a dime to ensure business continuity, should remain in full operation without a hitch. Having navigated site closures due to weather (i.e. hurricanes) in my previous life, the days of being tied to brick-and-mortar locations are gone. Transitioning 100% of your workforce to remote work environments within 24 hours is the new normal. In addition, there’s a tremendous need to ensure we structure ourselves as an emotionally intelligent (EI) supportive environment with characteristics like empathy and adaptability. EI becomes the North Star as we dig deep into people, process, and technology.

5. Is there anyone in your life that has taught you to adapt to change?

On a personal level, my six kids have – no question. On a professional front, I would say Tom Peters’ book, “Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution,” was a good start in my early years. Over time, while having encountered many leaders, I would call out Sean Ludick at Intel Media. He pushed me forward in an innovative space that required tremendous cross-functional influence to make incredible customer-centric change. I also observed him quickly pivot in the midst of uncertainty and ambiguity. And, of course, my current supervisor here at Samsung, Steve Kim. I’m amazed each day by his vision, direction, and support.

In a short period of time, we accelerated the implementation of our work-from-home model for our employees and elevated our digital service channels for our consumers. The combination of the two have opened windows for better engagement.

6. What advice do you have for those now entering your profession?

  1. Keep it simple! Build a solid foundation. Be logical. Only take on five key objectives at one time…implement, measure, course correct, repeat, celebrate and start again with another five. Essentially, avoid boiling the ocean.
  2. Stay extremely close to the consumer at every step of their journey. You will remain far more centered and the shared experiences will give you ideas and a competitive edge.
  3. Convert insights into action: Avoid being data rich, insight poor, and actionless.
  4. Make great cross-functional connections/friends and understand all perspectives. Invite others into the solution as you will count on their support for execution and success.

7. And, lastly, what piece of tech can you currently not live without?

From a work perspective, our Customer Experience Management platforms, like Medallia, which turns insights into action! On a personal note, I’d say my Samsung laptop and Galaxy Buds!

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