RIGHT OR WRONG, THE CUSTOMER WINS

Mexico 2017 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Carlos Morales Paulín, Country Manager of Telefónica, on how to provide the best customer service on the market, an ultra-competitive suite of products, and forcing the competition to improve customer standards in the process.

 Carlos Morales Paulín
BIOGRAPHY
Carlos Morales Paulín has a degree in civil engineering from the Universidad de la Salle in Mexico, an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, and a degree from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University. With 13 years’ experience at Grupo Telefónica, he has held several management positions in Spain, Brazil, and Mexico. He was Vice President of Consumer Relations and Operations in Brazil, and Global Head of Machine-to-machine—Internet of Things in Spain. Before joining Telefónica, he worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. He is currently Executive President and CEO of Telefónica Mexico.

What is Telefónica's current position and what are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the market?

In most countries, Telefónica has typically been the incumbent—the former monopoly competing against other challengers. In Mexico, we are different in the sense that we are now the challenger. The company has solid foundations; its staff are extremely committed to the company. Second, we have a solid network; we are in 93,000 cities and towns in Mexico, covering more than 90% of the population. Telefónica has been innovative in providing different services in the last few years. We were the first to not charge customers by the minute, but by the second. We place our clients first; we got rid of international roaming fees and provided unlimited voice minutes. Later, the competition imitated our offers, which subsequently benefited their own clients.

With over 20% market share and 15 years in the market, is Telefónica still not an established player?

We are still in an offensive mindset in various ways. There is a huge market in Mexico and this presents a great opportunity. There are 120 million people in this country and only three operators. Furthermore, Mexico has a large number of young people. They love social networks and connectivity, and this presents a great opportunity. In Mexico, we are behind other Latin American countries in terms of mobile penetration. Finally, Mexico is economically stable. Despite issues with the US, we will still grow by 1.5%.

What does a company need to do to be able to respond quickly to the competition?

One of the most important moments in our market is the Christmas campaign. In the 2015 Christmas campaign, we had our entire campaign ready in the final days of November; suddenly AT&T launched an aggressive price campaign. Two years ago, it would take us about one or two months to change our campaign; now we have shortened that to 10 days. Another example has to do with being agile; it is typical for a large company to make a decision at the board meeting, while two months later little has been done. We now appoint leaders for each initiative and follow up on the progress of each project every week.

Where do you envision Telefónica being positioned in Mexico?

We are currently living through a digital revolution that will help people live better lives. All these great things happen because connectivity exists, and we are the ones that create networks. We have three priorities for this company in the next few years. We are proud of our 27 million clients and want to increase that number, even with the entrance of AT&T. We also have many products for SMEs, large corporations, and the government. This B2B sector is growing in double digits, including cloud and security services and IoT. This is a priority for us: accelerated growth in businesses with more value. Our second priority is to continue transforming the company with more digital processes. The third priority is having an offensive mentality. We are proud to manage 27 million customers with 2,000 colleagues.

What sets Telefónica apart from other telco providers in the market?

There are different aspects that companies and governments should consider when working with us. Our network and services are robust and are only getting better. We signed an agreement with Telcel under which it will provide us network services in places where we do not have a network. In terms of products and prices, Movistar is one of the most competitive on the market. The real reason people choose us is because we have the best customer service on the market. We have to provide the best of the world in terms of network, a competitive suite of products, and the best customer service is what has to take customers and these people to work with us.