Interview with Andy Yasutake

Interview with Andy Yasutake, Head of Global Customer Operations at LinkedIn

 Andy Yasutake is the Head of Global Customer Operations at LinkedIn. At The Future Contact Center Summit, January 26-30 in Orlando, Andy will share a keynote address on Disrupting the Customer Journey: Blurring the Lines Between Marketing, Service and Sales in a Members First World. In advance of the Summit, he was kind enough to discuss some of the ways he helps exceed customer expectations at LinkedIn.

Can you discuss what your new role at LinkedIn is and what Global Customer Operations does at LinkedIn?

At LinkedIn, I’m the Head of Global Technology Solutions & Operations function, which is a strategic group in the Global Customer Operations (GCO) business unit at LinkedIn. In my role, I’m responsible for several capabilities supporting LinkedIn and the GCO teams including Online Self-Service, which includes our member and customer facing Help Center and self-service capabilities, Program Management & Delivery, Business operations (non-agent customer facing employees), and Technology Systems across the enterprise. As part of the Program Management and Operations functions, my team is responsible for the organization’s capabilities, exploration of emerging and innovative trends, and overall prioritization and impact assessment of the strategic initiatives.

What are the challenges of working on a somewhat cross-functional team?

The key challenges in working a global matrixed organization on a hyper-growth trajectory is that there will inherently be cross-functional teams you need to work with to make this happen. Some of the challenges we face with cross-functional teams is making sure there is alignment on the strategic priorities across the groups. Many times groups may have similar goals or strategies, but when it comes down to leveraging resources to move the needle on initiatives, if every cross-functional resource needed to make an initiative successful isn’t on board, there will be situations where the biggest priorities aren’t necessarily being worked on, which can cause delays to capabilities needed to continue grow and scale the business. At LinkedIn, we leverage many cross-functional teams – communication and priority alignment has been a key contributing factor for a company that is in a tremendous growth area in a hot and growing space.

Are there any new or emerging technologies that you think have exciting potential for exceeding customer expectations?

There are many emerging technology capabilities that are becoming more readily available in experiences for exceeding customer expectations. One technology that is interesting is webRTC technologies. The ability to be browser and add-on download agnostic to create real-time interactions across devices and platforms is appealing. Amazon’s MayDay feature in their Kindle is built on this new emerging technology as an example. Giving customers real-time interaction abilities to help resolve their issues in a seamless way will be an expectation that customers will want to have more of very soon if not already.

If you could breakdown your address at the Summit to one core takeaway, what would it be?

Customers’ Expectations of the Service Experience are changing in the Internet Age – from disruptive new technologies in markets that are changing the rules to the games, to a different generation of people who live in a social, always connected world and who blur the lines between Sales, Marketing and Service – the rules have changed, and we need to change and not just meet expectations of our customers, but redefine expectations in line with the brand promise of the company.

What does the future of customer service look like to you?

The future of Customer Service is a key differentiator for companies who know how to leverage the Service experience as part of the overall Customer Experience, and not just as a back-office function that is a low cost providing cost center. Customers are demanding an experience that is high touch, high service that is part of the overall experience of the retail site, the internet site, or blend of offline/online experiences they would have in line with the brand promise of the company. The Service experience will become synonymous with the company and will be a differentiator if a simpler and more end-to-end experience with low effort but high value can be provided to customers in any industry.

Andy Yasutake is the Head of Global Customer Operations at LinkedIn. he will be speaking at The Future Contact Center Summit, January 26-30 in Orlando, Florida.