Our employees represent a mosaic of thoughts, backgrounds and personalities across the world. This series shares the voices of employees as they tell their own eBay stories.
At eBay, we put the customer at the heart of everything we do — it's one of our core values and it defines our purpose. Kristin Otto, an employee on the Global Customer Experience (GCX) team within the Payments organization, exemplifies our commitment to always put the customer first. Since 2015, Kristin has been assisting eBay buyers and sellers around the world with her keen ability to truly hear and help solve customer needs. In her spare time, Kristin shops on the marketplace, learning how customers use the platform while also finding joy in eBay buys for her personal baking passions.
We chatted with Kristin about her customer-centric focus and how she has connected with the larger eBay community during the past challenging year while working — and baking — from home.
What calls to you about customer service?
I've worked my whole life with people. I'm naturally a helper; I enjoy when someone comes to me for advice. At eBay, we aim to work together with sellers and create a pleasant shopping experience for buyers — and to provide the best possible customer service to both. I've never seen any other company where customer satisfaction was given such high priority. As a result, I have become quite demanding myself whenever I have to contact customer service!
We often talk about seeing our marketplace through the eyes of our customers as our way of working at eBay. What does that mean to you?
It means providing our customers with the service that I would personally expect when I contact a customer service team myself. I expect to be treated kindly; to be taken seriously; to get a solution right away when possible; to get support and explanations when challenges arise; and if a solution takes more time, I don't want to be forgotten and I want to feel that my concern is still being heard and addressed.
A photo of the entire German Payments team pre-pandemic in 2019; Kristin is behind the word "pay"
How does being a member of a global team allow you to deliver with impact?
I find it very exciting to have contact with colleagues all over the world. Overall, it is a great and unifying experience. It's interesting to see how we approach topics and work on different areas in different countries. I enjoy meeting many people with diverse professions, backgrounds and expertise. You can exchange ideas, share problems and progress, and work on issues together. You don't feel that separated from these teams anymore, with email and Zoom. I relish the feeling when we have been able to create something new or make a successful change happen together.
Kristin hiking in the Zittaeur mountains in Saxony, Germany with her twin brother last year
Has working from home during the pandemic changed your approach to customer service?
I don't think my standards for how I work with our customers have changed. I want to continue to support our customers with all the tools at my disposal. However, I really miss my colleagues and interacting with them in the office. But I am also able to concentrate more and thus achieve a lot.
How do you embrace our goal at eBay to not just to know the customer, but to be a customer?
Buying on eBay allows me to understand our customers' requests much better. I understand why they may be confused about a process or experience a technical issue (bug) that I can then report. If necessary, this can be fixed before there are more buyers who have the same experience. Previously, I also sold items on eBay in order to understand what kind of experience our customers were having and also to be able to share this with them. Many people liked that, because they felt more understood or received a tip on how to solve their issue. Unfortunately, I haven't sold anything for quite some time. But I will again soon!
Any favorite experiences as an eBay buyer yourself?
I like it when sellers add a surprise gift to the package. Sometimes it's a small bag of gummy bears. Or when I bought shampoo, I also received a few mini-tubes of toothpaste. I think that's cute, it feels special to receive a little something extra. When I was selling myself, for example, I always put some candies in the package, too. That was fun.
One story in particular has stuck with me: I once ordered cake pans, and the seller accidentally sent me a package for another customer. It was not such a big deal and I shipped the package with a new shipping label from the seller to the right customer. As a thank you for my patience and help, the seller included lots of little gifts in my correct package, such as muffin tins, cookie cutters, muffin/cupcake decorations. That made me very happy.
Kristin's cheesecake and mini-kiwi cheesecake creations
You buy baking equipment on eBay?
I've always loved baking. Because of the lockdown, I've been baking even more and buying a lot of cooking items and cake molds on our marketplace. I follow some channels on YouTube that make very tasty and also very beautiful cakes. Most recently I made a Japanese cheesecake recipe and a mini kiwi cheesecake. Both were delicious.