Former minister and lecturer, expert in customer service, Gabriel Vallejo López, today presents his new book “The two faces of service”, under the Conecta seal.
For the past three years, Vallejo has dedicated himself to looking for everyday situations that illustrate a catastrophic experience or an example of memorable service.
Among his conclusions, he says, “the important thing is to generate value for customers and take care of those who work for them: the employees.”
What is the purpose of the book?
The starting point of the book has to do with a concept and that is that the problem of service is not one of companies, but of life, because our life revolves around service. Everything we all do revolves around someone serving someone or someone serving someone.
Three years ago, I started a process in conferences and on trips of building stories and asking people good and bad stories of service. So the book reflects 34 real life experiences, real companies, real people where names have been changed. What they show is the daily life in good and bad.
What can be concluded from these experiences?
The first thing is that I am convinced that in the country we continue to be mediocre in the provision of customer service, in the public and private sectors.
The second thing is that it is not true that one or the other is better or worse. I think they are different experiences.
The third is that there is no culture of service in the country in most organizations.
Finally, I think that what our bosses have always transmitted to us is false and that the important thing is the clients. This book makes me conclude, once again, that the most important thing is not the customers but the employees.
As long as companies don’t have happy and satisfied employees, there is no chance that customers will be happy and satisfied.
And, finally, I am also convinced that, in general, very few public and private companies care about the client or the citizen. Something unfortunate, sad and deeply painful.
And what is the solution?
We need higher levels of awareness in terms of the care and treatment of employees. We have to return to the culture of companies to the principles and values with which they were founded.
You have to give an important value to employees and you have to understand that the only sustainable competitive advantage for companies is to have memorable experiences with customers, and when you achieve that, an important change is achieved.
The last survey we did with César Caballero, from Cifras & Conceptos, in the 12 most important sectors, in the four main cities of the country, shows us that only three out of 10 Colombians are satisfied with the level of service received.
This, more than showing that we are very bad, what shows is a huge opportunity.
How to see this now with the pandemic?
One of the themes that I address in the book, in the introduction, is that people have talked a lot about how the customer is going to change after the pandemic. But I think it will be the same, it may change some specific habits.
Customers are not going to change, organizations are the ones that have to adapt because the value of each customer after the pandemic is going to be infinite. Building loyalty is going to be very complex.
Like never before, taking care of customers, worrying about them and taking care of them is what is going to make the difference in the future.
This pandemic is going to happen and there will be customers who will remember companies that in this crisis have remembered them. So part of the message of the book is to invite companies to ask themselves “what are they doing to keep their customers”.
What should happen now that we are talking about attention and digital sales?
Thinking that the country is going to go digital and that everything will be through electronic commerce, you have to take it with nuances, because 50% of work in Colombia is informal. Furthermore, only 60% of homes have a computer.
And the other thing, which is the underlying issue, is that I believe a lot in technology and artificial intelligence, but you have to understand that no matter how many developments we ever have, human interaction is going to be completely replaced.
On Mother’s Day, in frustration because the lunch that she reserved for her mother did not arrive on time, because of the platforms, people had to pick up the phone and call a person in a call center to resolve the situation.
What is the preparation that employees must have to better serve?
Normally, in companies the areas of human talent are operational areas that are dedicated to training, liquidation, the end of the year parties. These departments, when they are strategic, are dedicated to thinking about how they support the service, taking into account that this service is supported by the collaborators.