When we read or hear comments about a company being listed, we think about numbers, not about customer service or experience. The most typical explanations tend to refer to the following arguments:
- A very high debt affects the value, even if it is being financed at the lowest historic prices.
- Being exposed to emerging countries generates uncertainty in investors. This is written by a person who will later recommend buying investment funds from emerging countries.
- Competitors have very aggressive pricing policies. Markets do not believe they can maintain their market share. Even though competitors have just arrived and they have scandalous amortisations.
- The sales-per-employee ratios are too high and we do not even remember how many early retirements have been carried out. If they have more employees than they need, why do they keep hiring?
- The general rate, the rate by sector or any sector you are interested in has gone down. True. But by 0.7, not by 3.5.
We can surely think of a thousand more arguments of this type, which generally explain little or nothing about what is actually happening. The thing that never arises, or at least I do not know how to find it, is an argument related to service. Whether the company is doing a good or a bad job with its customers seems to have no relevance. The service is not listed on the markets.
The only possible explanation I can think of is that with globalisation, service has actually ceased to be the key element of competitiveness. The early retirement of those who have built relationships with customers over the years only makes sense if the company does not value them anymore. If we also consider that there are less and less companies, large companies, where authorities’ supervision is relaxed, then everything becomes clear. If they are caught agreeing on prices, which would imply making a big mess, they will have to pay a million-dollar fine that tends to be a lot lower than the benefits they obtain.
Service is Dead. Long Live Service!
It was born in 1946, son of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). This was, for many years, the guide companies followed in relation to their customers. It died due to an illness called globalisation at the age of 74.
However, customer service has left a permanent legacy for millions of organizations. All those that do not have former politicians in their Board of Directors, that are not listed on the stock exchange and that survive thanks to their customers’ trust. Luckily, there are thousands of them, but, unluckily, many will die of an illness called COVID-19. With them, the tradition of customer service will be seriously affected.
The ones that will survive are those big corporations that the current governments considered to be systemic. They will probably receive most of the help from central banks, which do not stop printing money and buying debt. And I suppose other companies that are well-positioned in the new niche markets that have arisen during the pandemic will survive as well.
I would like to think that many companies from more traditional sectors will also do so with the help of more responsible consumers. However, it is true that consumers are a part of this mass of workers who have been dismissed or went bankrupt and that they will change their consumption habits towards cheaper and mass-produced products and services.
Read also The Importance of Strategic Planning
The Scenario Is Bleak.
A public and private debt that is massive and impossible to pay for most countries. The middle class is disappearing into a huge mass of people without resources and access to them… But the stock markets do not cease to break historical records, driven by the stupidity of (fictitious) money being injected into the economy. Let’s hope nothing happens to us!
They will take care of us in a future that is already the present. AI will solve absolutely everything. In fact, they know us better than anyone, even ourselves.
Have you ever tried one of those virtual assistants many companies already have? Such hard work! I was never able to get one to solve my problems. They all tell me they do not understand what I am asking, and I have one doubt that prevents me from sleeping: Is that the case only with me? After a while of not understanding each other, they put me through to a (human) operator. I admit that sometimes things do not get much better. A platform north of some unknown city with operators who undergo training that lasts one morning and who certainly have less information than the most primitive of robots. I sometimes think that they do this on purpose so that we become attached to the machines and stop resisting.
What I still do not know is whether these virtual operators pay taxes and have social security.