We want to continue introducing you to new faces at ARInsights — those who are working both behind the scenes and with clients, and helping to enhance our analyst relations (AR) offerings.
To that end, we’d like you to virtually meet Esther Kim! Our recently appointed senior director of customer experience (CX), Esther is a great asset, bringing both CX and AR experience to her role. She is focused primarily on helping shape and execute on the strategy for ARInsights’ ServicePlus offering — which provides clients with AR operations support, including program reporting, project support, ARchitect administration and more.
We caught up with Esther recently to ask about her background, interests and plans in her role. Read on to learn more!
Q: Please tell us about your background.
Esther: My first job out of college was with Samsung Semiconductor, working in the customer service and internal sales department as a rep who supported key accounts. I really liked the combination of engaging with both customers and technology.
Since then, I’ve spent my career working for technology companies in internal sales, account management, and customer experience and support — as well as analyst relations — roles. I actually stumbled into AR a decade ago at a friend’s suggestion, coming out of account management and internal sales. At that time, stumbling into AR (as opposed to making it your career path) wasn’t uncommon. I soon found I needed to explain to many of my friends what, exactly, industry analyst relations is! There’s been much more awareness of, and visibility for, AR since then.
My first analyst relations role was as AR operations manager for Symantec. We had an AR team of about a dozen people. Then, later on, Symantec spun off the storage unit of its business, Veritas, and I followed our AR team leader to the Veritas side. We had a smaller team there, and I did a combination of work: AR operations and even a little bit of PR. Later on, I served as an AR manager for one of Veritas’ business solutions.
AR really suited me. I’m very detail-oriented but also like to know the “why?” behind things and take a bigger, broader perspective. Most importantly, I really enjoyed engaging with people — interfacing with both analysts, as well as many internal stakeholders — and the relationship management part of the job.
Now, in my role at ARInsights, I’m able to put my AR knowledge and skills to use, within the context of customer experience.
Q: How does your AR background play into the work you do?
Esther: Having worked as an AR professional gives me important insights, perspectives and experiences to bring to the table. I understand what our clients are doing in their roles and what they’re trying to accomplish because I’ve been there. I also understand their pain points and how technology and services can alleviate them. So when a client says, “This is what I need” or “This is the challenge I’m facing,” I can suggest strategies and even ways we can use our solutions to meet their needs.
When I was at Symantec and Veritas, we were ARInsights clients. I had the lead role working with the ARInsights team, so I’m well-versed in ARchitect. And because I worked so closely with the ARInsights team all those years — with them providing support from an operational perspective, and helping me determine and generate the reports I’d need — we now joke that I was ARInsights’ first ServicePlus client… before ServicePlus was even an offering!
All this firsthand experience has prepared me to help ARInsights clients get the most value from their ServicePlus engagements and bolster our offering as well.
Q: What brought you to ARInsights?
Esther: I already knew a lot of the people at the company and had a great working relationship with them, when I was on the client side. Plus, before I started this full-time position at ARInsights, I worked at the company for several months as a contractor… so I knew it would be a great fit, and was ready to make the next level of commitment to ARInsights. The culture of teamwork, highly supportive atmosphere and the company’s vision for the future all make me really excited to work here.
The role is a great fit for my background and interests too. I love engaging with clients and creating efficient systems to support them. And I see the great need that AR teams have for ServicePlus. So now, at this point in my life and career, I’m really glad, motivated and thankful to be here!
Q: What are your plans for ServicePlus in the year ahead?
Esther: ServicePlus, as you know, functions as an operational arm for AR teams, freeing them up to focus on more strategic initiatives. Since most AR teams have to report up to management and show how their program is executing, I’m hoping to expand the reporting we provide to ServicePlus clients — delivering them as a standard part of our engagements. And because I have visibility into metrics and reporting needs across our client base, I can spot trends and see the kind of information that’s likely to be useful to ServicePlus clients across the board.
Q: What are the biggest contributors today to a great customer experience in B2B? How does ARInsights deliver on these?
Esther: One of the keys to a great customer experience is responsiveness. When you, as a client, ask a question or have an issue, even if your vendor doesn’t have the answer at their fingertips, you want them to acknowledge you and respond. And then, hopefully, the company will get their hands dirty and work to solve the issue or come up with a solution.
ARInsights truly does this. We combine responsiveness with a penchant for thinking outside the box. And we understand where our clients are coming from. Supporting our clients doesn’t just involve us knowing how to use ARchitect. It’s about always being open to what each client’s need is and understanding what an AR manager does. Our new hires get training in AR so they can put themselves in their clients’ shoes.
When you approach customer experience from that perspective — first, understanding what the customer does, and what their needs and challenges are — then you’re in a much better place to apply technology to help them.
Q: Do you have any interests or hobbies you can share?
Esther: My family is a total baseball family. We love the Dodgers. My son is a freshman in high school, and he plays for his high school team and a travel team too. And my daughter, who is in her second year at Wellesley College, plays golf there but is obsessed with the Dodgers as well. When it comes to following baseball, we’re all in!
We also like to travel as a family to do mission work. My husband is a pastor, and we’ve gone to quite a few places with our church and seen many different parts of the world including East Timor, China and Myanmar, to name a few. In fact, just a few months ago, we moved here from Fairbanks, Alaska, where we’d helped plant a church. We’d been in Alaska the last six years. It’s quite a different experience there — the temperature can drop to 40 degrees below zero, and it’s dark half the year. Then in summer, it’s almost 24 hours a day of sun!
And I can’t forget about the fifth member of our family: our puppy Cooper. They say, “Dogs make the best therapists.” He’s so sweet, and you just can’t help but smile when you see him.
Thanks to Esther for her time and contributions! We look forward to the value she’ll continue to bring to ARInsights and our ServicePlus users.