It’s always so good to talk about excellence in services, but talking about it with the creator of the “Magic of Excellence” program, Rodrigo Maruxo, is even more enjoyable. And in this interview, he tells us a lot of thing that you will love knowing, learning and practicing.
Rodrigo Maruxo was chosen in a popular vote among the 5 best professionals in innovation in the category “Experience”, of the E-commerce Brazil 2017 Award, for the work done with The Magic of Excellence. Responsible for the production of training, he is a consultant, coach and teacher with 17 years of experience, leading e-commerce initiatives, retail and the most varied projects of internet. He is also a specialist in Marketing, Information Technology, Customer Service, Logistics, Disney Business Excellence (© Disney Institute) and Omnichannel Planning.
He holds a degree in Data Processing, from Mackenzie University, an MBA in Marketing, from ESPM, and is co-author of the book “Gerente de E-commerce”.
For 6 years, he is the director of Maruxo Consultoria & Training and his human development unit, the Outstanding Academy. And for 10 years he has been a teacher and writer in several specialized vehicles.
Well, my entire career started with customer service. It was my first job. I started working with telemarketing and that was already my turning point; since I had never worked in the market, it had been my first job and I already arrived in the job market to attend on behalf of Microsoft, which, at the time, was the most powerful company of the world. I’ve had a very interesting experience.
First because I was not a Microsoft employee. I was from a company that served Microsoft, so I didn’t have a very complete emotional connection with them, and I also noticed that it had an interesting factor because the training wasn’t one of the most incredible.
I arrived full of insecurity and difficulties for never having worked, to know little the products and scripts needed to follow. Hence, my training basically was: “Ride with this most experienced girl here in the operation and she will teach you everything she knows.”
The problem is that on the second day she already took the headset from her head, put it on my head and said: “Look, I think you’re ready and can start to answer”.
To make matters worse, I didn’t even have the use of my own name. I was “Rogério”, in the customer service, because there was already a Rodrigo. There was so much information at the same time in my head and I didn’t have a great experience. It was scary.
I was very scared, and many clients put pressure on me, cursed me and fought with me; and I had no preparation to answer them. My first and second days at work were terrible.
And then it gave to me the “click”; I thought: “Oh God! How one of the most powerful brands in the world neglects one of the most important areas, which is the brand talking to its consumers, and puts it in the hands of a guy like me, who has never worked in life and never had any experience about the company?”
So, that was my turning point, because I understood that there was a huge market opportunity there. I thought: “If a company like this, which has one of the most valuable brands in the world, neglects that much the relationship with the consumer, putting unprepared people (with good intentions, but unprepared) to do this relationship work, look at how much money these guys are losing, and how much they could do for good deals if they thought it was a service; and what would keep the business going and making new business is the service itself.
So, I understood that everywhere I went to work, I would have to always pay attention to customer service, as it is largely neglected, especially in Brazil. So, I could make our difference from wherever I was.
Totally. My life goal is aligned with knowledge transfer. After my 30 years of age, I realized that to be useful in this life (after I had the crisis of the thirties), I needed to do something good for humanity. And then I found in the knowledge transfer my reason for existing.
Today my purpose is to be helpful to people with knowledge that can help them be a better version of themselves, and companies as well. That’s why I talk so much about transferring knowledge. This is the idea that makes us grow, not only personal of the one who transfers, but also the one who receives.
And the idea is: who receives knowledge can also transfer later, so this pay it forward thing never ends. I quite believe that we live the age of knowledge. The biggest coin today is information, and whoever masters information has power. Now, power can be used for good or evil.
I prefer to make the power reach everyone, so that people make good use of it. That’s why we talk so much about transferring knowledge as our mission of life.
To me, excellence is all behavior that exceeds expectations, that goes beyond, that does more than seemingly necessary.
Excellence is when we receive some kind of assistance, some kind of help, and we talk mentally like this: “Gee, that person didn’t even have to do all of this.” Every time we have this good feeling that someone is doing something for us that they don’t necessarily have to do or are not winning for this, we are experiencing excellence in practice.
Excellence, besides being this practice, for me, it’s a philosophy of life, because we often end up doing much less of what we can do well. And it’s an attitude, it’s a choice. Many people choose to live a more or less, mediocre, average life, and always work under the radar line of success because they believe that are external factors that move their way of being.
And I fundamentally believe that excellence is an attitude of us for ourselves, because it is internal. We don’t practice excellence to be able to conquer the boss, we don’t practice excellence to make the third one happier.
In fact, we practice excellence as an attitude for ourselves, for us to feel good about ourselves. I rather believe that happiness is a state of consciousness in peace. And who lives with excellence in their day to day, in their practice, will certainly sleep happy and quiet.
So, excellence has this process of transforming lives and, consequently, companies, because if you have a company with people who understand this philosophy of life as fundamental to be happy, it’s certainly a successful corporation or on the way to the success.
Therefore, for me, excellence is based on this assumption, that we should not only do what we should do, and should be able to do more. But it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to work longer hours or stop having a personal life because you throw yourself headlong into work. This isn’t excellence. This is disorganization.
Excellence is you having a better quality in your time worked. It’s you monetizing your time better. You have eight hours per day, and you work the equivalent of 16 hours in those 8. And I don’t have to spend 16 hours working in the office to practice excellence.
No doubt about it. E-commerce projects have drawn a lot of attention to the “services” issues, since what you naturally see in e-commerce is a very wrong focus only on product. Today, most part of the entrepreneurs on the internet understands that they sell products. They don’t realize that e-commerce, by itself, is a service.
We’re talking about delivering and customer service support. E-commerce is much more than simply the product. In fact, I understand that what we’re talking about e-commerce, is an excuse to deliver services.
So, what interested me in service excellence when I look at the e-commerce market is exactly the same, again, the huge opportunity that exists and that the staff ends up neglecting for not understanding that it is a service company in essence.
In the end, what strikes me is to see how much this mindset that is of the other markets, in relation to what is the service excellence, was also brought to e-commerce, in a way that for me is a little bit sad, because we know it’s a different technology, it’s a different way of serving and we shouldn’t have copied what isn’t good.
The e-commerce idea is to work with service excellence, and that’s where it is, for me, the cat leap from any company that sells on the internet.
I see companies starting to wake up, perhaps not at the pace that I would like, because I already like the idea many years ago, but I already see a positive movement from organizations beginning to realize that it is really an important way to build businesses that are profitable and that survive this whole transition in the way the customers are.
So, I strongly believe that service excellence is, if not the main key, one of the fundamental points for any company today to build success in our country and in any place that act. I believe a lot in this and I see, in the current scenario, that there is already a transition, still at a slow pace, but that is going to this future in which companies will understand that serving the clients and offering services that exceed their expectations – in a way that is profitable and at the same time, the account closes in a sustainable way – are the way to do good business.
Well, the Magic of Excellence was born precisely in this constant search for inspiration in cases that help us to help other companies.
So, among the various organizations we went to study, we, of course, got to Disney and we understood that it had an interesting knowledge transfer process, with its courses through the Disney Institute, lots of cool literature and lots of interesting experiences that we were able to absorb. Hence, we decided to go head-on into the idea of studying this case, and the more we went to study, the more we were delighted and realized that it’s feasible to translate many of the things they do there in the USA.
Based on this, thinking of the knowledge transfer, Magic of Excellence was born, which is a training that we like to say is an experience – as Walt Disney always said, he prefers to amuse people in the hope that they will learn.
So, we make a fun experience and a process where the concepts of practice of excellence – both from the point of view of reflection, change of posture and attitudes, as well as techniques – are consolidated in a day of absorption of knowledge.
The training came from this idea, from our pursuit of really bringing inspiration to the entrepreneurs and the people who want to take off in their careers, with the cool things they can bring and translate into their daily lives.
What we did was to build this “from – to” relationship, that is, to bring from their reality to ours, and what is possible for us to adapt and to make simpler, using techniques and attitudes. Basically, that was the idea.
The pretensions to the Magic are really cool because the audience’s receptivity has been incredible. People come out as fans of the training and ask for more and more. So we keep studying and bringing more news.
We have the idea of bringing to the future the Magic of Excellence Pro, which is a different training from the Magic of Excellence today. In Pro, we build work teams, and train innovation and service improvement in companies.
This is a very strategic training, which we will bring to next year. Another interesting thing that we already do, and we want to continue developing, is the Magic of International Excellence, where we take executives to be trained directly in Disney, with all care and support, knowing the backstage and making technical visits. This has worked very well.
We also want to take the Magic of Excellence to more places, either through lectures, events or the training itself in more regions of Brazil. The whole country needs to hear this message, and we’re sure it will help many companies.
Disney uses an important technique to develop empowerment, which is an HR strategy of empowering employees, so that they can make autonomous decisions, work hard on their day to day role and act as if they own it.
Disney has built processes to tie this in a way that everyone at work, day to day, between their own employees and the customer, act like Walt Disney.
For this, they call them the 04 Keys, which are Disney’s keys to excellence. These four keys are followed by all of them, as hierarchical processes; that is, from first to last, and I can only do the second one, if the first key has resolved.
This always guaranteed a similar continuation, a way of making the enchantment quite heterogeneous, and you didn’t stay in that fragility depending on the employee’s mood that day or his attitude in wanting to do something different.
In fact, what Disney does is develop many processes that make a “mooring” that empowers your staff to make decisions within your area of expertise. They can do all the necessary process to generate an enchantment and do business.
Basically, what Disney has managed to build, without a doubt, are the keys to excellence. The 04 keys, as a curiosity, are:
So, what we want to say is this: To get to the courtesy, a Disney employee has to make sure there’s security in that environment, only to smile and be courteous. Once he is already safe and he can be courteous, he has the next key: do the show; where he can then create excellence, create something not expected by the client.
And, finally, all this comes along with efficiency, that is, the system has to work, people have to be well prepared, there can be no delay and what is expected, in the end, is to generate business. So, the last key is efficiency.
Once I have the security guaranteed, I am being courteous and giving a show, I do business and I close all this equation of success that their business has.
Yes, they are. The principles of Disney are valid for any business, any type of company. That’s because what’s behind it is actually not just the ability to invest, that is, if I have a small company with reduced investment capacity or a multinational. That’s not what we get when we talk about using Disney principles.
What really lies behind is actually the building of processes with a very clear focus on building positive relationships and experiences, and from there, to be able to generate that enchantment and especially make that customer want to do business with me more often.
And that fits for any business. One advantage of small businesses is that most of them have a present owner, who is obviously a leader who inspires others to follow the guidelines of the business.
The small ones still have an advantage that is structurally simpler to operationalize these activities because it is more dynamic, faster. We see some good perks for small businesses applying Disney principles.
There’s no size limitation, but basically it’s a process of strategic choice and business definition. What we realize is that some Disney secrets are about doing things intentionally where many companies do not. So what a small one can do is – once they have little time and little money – simply follow that strategy.
It’s to be intentional and put your energy, the time you have available and the few resources where the market really is careless, where the market didn’t realize the opportunities.
Doing a construction in this direction, in the medium and long term, this little business has a very great possibility of becoming a huge company. This because once you build a path of excellence, the consumer base that is formed is much more faithful than those consumers who only buy when you offer a discount or an advantage.
The value building that is generated by experience in service excellence really makes the company take a jump with time. It’s obvious that many corporations don’t do or don’t understand this because they need the immediate result.
But when you talk about relationships, it builds up over time. The more I can build relationships, the more solid they become and I have more business generation. That’s what we believe in.
Well, besides Disney itself, as I’ve always had the practice of studying incredible business cases, a few other companies have also inspired me.
I really like the Starbucks case, the way they built the experiment, and they ran away from the commodity to sell coffee. I think it’s a super cool case and it inspired me a lot at different times.
I also quite like McDonald’s, the way they built their business model, which was for a long time service-based. And, fundamentally, one of the ones I’m most fan of after Disney is a company called Zappos.
Zappos has Tony as CEO, an extremely inspirational guy. I quite like the work they did because they were the first guys to build excellence and understand that the electronic business is based on internet services.
They, from 2007 to 2008, had already billed 1 billion dollars on the internet, selling a super hard product for the time: sneakers.
By coincidence, we marketed the same product when I worked at Netshoes. While I was there, thinking about the strategies of the business, it was quite inspiring to know the case of Zappos, not only their way, but, fundamentally, how they managed to operationalize what we always believed, which is to generate this enchantment through excellence in services.
Tony has a phrase that I think is fundamental; in that he says: “We are a service company that happens to sell sneakers.” And that phrase says all about what the Zappos business is.
They have been able, as no one else, to understand that the work they do is to provide continuous service, that tangibles the experience, which creates emotional connection, which creates recurrence.
He built the success wheel of the business. And the sneakers, as he says in his sentence, is simply an excuse to deliver all of this. Ultimately, his core business is being a service. He says that if one day he change the type of product, his business will continue existing.
If tomorrow their supplier of sneaker or shoes stop delivering or breaking, they doesn’t break together because it will reinvent itself and sell another type of product. That’s because your company is a service company, which happens to be selling sneakers today.
Tomorrow may be a service company that happens to sell balls or a service company that happens to sell airfare etc.
Their core is very clear and well defined. This is an incredible source of inspiration that I continue to study in parallel with Disney and I continue to apply some concepts in our work, in our consultancies and also in some trainings.
Well, our suggestion to anyone who seeks excellence in business involves, at first, always question whether, within the things they performs, they can do it better; within the processes that already exist, they can be improved – always with this concept of doing better, if I can do better. And all this based on “if I have time” and “if I have the condition to invest to improve”, otherwise we can break the business in this quest for excellence.
The starting point is to review the ways it has always been done. Many companies consolidate or solidify their way of building things and end up not realizing there are opportunities to reinvent themselves constantly.
The first step in seeking excellence in business to begin with is to analyze your own concepts. It’s also important to examine what your core business is, what moves that company.
If within this aspect there’s a strategic myopia or a very big focus on product, a little vision that the business needs to deliver value and not just price, it’s interesting to review this too.
But basically, you have to make those two parts and mend with a third, which is to look inside the house and see how your culture is set up, how the people are there doing business, and what the way people behave around that mission that the company has.
The cat leap of any great company we’ve talked about is that they generally have an extremely powerful culture.
It’s fundamental to think about developing a culture that really makes good people stay, retain their talents and attract people who also have synergy with what is believed.
This will, obviously, results in customer contact, who will realize this different way that the company does, in the different way that people position themselves to be part of it and, especially, a business that becomes profitable because it generates this construction of emotional connection, both internally and externally, and this makes the success of any business.
About the Magic of Excellence, within its concept of being useful in our market, both for people and companies, we offer some channels of information. There’s an Instagram page, which is @amagiadaexcelencia.
These are the channels where you can know a little more about Magic of Excellence, where we offer a lot of content, parts of the training and we have enough solid information to be able to inspire, regardless of who does the training or not, in order to perform something in your life or company. These channels can provide a lot of information.
Most of them have many explanatory videos and all the necessary content to understand more of the Magic of Excellence universe.
Well, Maruxo likes to always seek knowledge. So, I like to watch documentaries, to read, and lately, what I’ve done a lot is to be a writer.
Lately, my fun has been writing the book The Magic of Excellence, which soon we’ll be proud to launch.
We have worked with great affection in this process of creation and we’re clear that it will help many people through this channel, which is still an important way for people to have access to the Magic.
Besides all of this, I have the hobby of an aquarist; I really like animals… the animal kingdom… fishes. I am enjoying these things while I am not amusing myself with the others things that I am paid for.
One way or another, the important thing is that when we follow our purpose, we’re always having fun and it doesn’t even seems like work.