Carlos Villares was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico; he lives in Miami, Florida since 1994. He is an International University Graduate and has 10 years work experience for The General Electric Company in the area if sales and financials services. He is co-founder of Gustazos.com, Daily Deal site in 5 countries. They represent Global Sales and Business Development Executives and they manage over 50 sales people on these markets with gross sales surpassing USD$26 Million as of 2016.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
- Can you tell us a little about how you manage customer experience and the whole customer service process at Gustazos?
- Can you share 3 things that you have found that have really contributed to your success, primarily from a customer experience prospective, not just on an external customer prospective but also in terms of employee motivation and development and really getting the right people to perform in the right way. What are some of the things you took away from General Electric that have made Gustazos so successful over the time you’ve been in this leadership position?
- How do you view customer service yourself for customer experience when you visit locations throughout the world in these markets that you operate in or even when you have to travel independent of Gustazos, what is your view on customer experience on a global level?
- How do you guarantee that the partnerships you’re forming are with people/organizations who have the same values you have as an organization as it relates to delivering quality experiences?
- Do you find the different cultures in a country may pose challenges for the businesses you partner with?
- How do you stay motivated every day?
- What is the one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
- What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
- What is one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or your people?
- Where can our listeners find your information online?
- What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?
- Carlos Villares shared that what brought him to where he is today was that his father transferred the family significantly when they were kids even though he was born in Puerto Rico, he grew up in New Jersey, Argentina, Brazil so Soccer is very important to him like it is for Jamaicans and he has been in Miami since 1994, he got to work for corporate America and about 7 years ago he was introduced to the "Daily Deal" module from the famous company call Groupon which was the fastest growing business in the history of businesses and they decided to launch a very similar module but in San Juan, Puerto Rico and long story short, here they are.
- Carlos Villares shared with managing the customer experience, you log into Gustazos.com if you’re not registered already, it’s free to register and you can either visit the website and see the types of promotions they have going on. From the consumers stand point, everything you’re going to see on Gustazos, they work very hard, that’s basically what they live, breathe and sleep, it’s giving you a 50 - 90% discount on everything you see on the page, so the promotions you see right now, if you would just call or visit the hotel or call or visit the restaurant you would find it at 50% more expensive, so that’s what they do, they give you amazing places, the best businesses Jamaica has to offer with the best prices those businesses are able to provide in order to win you as a new client in most cases.
Carlos mentioned that he worked for General Electric for 10 years and when he was hired into General Electric, Jack Welch was still the CEO. He stated that many people talk about Steve Jobs and Ben Olsen and some other CEOs, his all time favorite CEO is Jack Welch and he loves his philosophy. Carlos is a Six Sigma Green Belt, he should have become a black belt but Gustazos lured him away but he applies a lot of what he learned at General Electric (GE) in Gustazos. He manages the sales teams in Gustazos in the 5 markets they have a presence in and he’s in charge of opening new markets but a lot of what he learned in General Electric with Jack Welch is a lot of what he applies today.
- Carlos shared that Jack Welch would say, “You should always release or let go of your bottom 10%” and that came with a lot of controversy because it takes away from the human factor and even though that’s the reality, your most important asset is Your People and it’s not easy to find the right people so it’s hard on a daily basis, they are consistently looking for good talent and when they find good talent they do everything in their power to bring them on board. Their number 1 asset is people that work in Gustazos and he values them tremendously and he does the best he can to motivate them and to keep them engaged and to love the atmosphere that they create, the culture they have at Gustazos so it’s a great environment for them and they are extremely respectful and flexible with personal issues, if you’re a mother, if you’re a father, if tomorrow you need to work from home, they are very flexible in regards to work, life, balances and they try to really incentivize a culture of having fun at what you do because at the end of the day if you have happy people, that’s contagious and your customers will feel it so it’s a happy go lucky type of atmosphere that they try to invent.
- Carlos shared that customers come first and in order to survive, you need customers and you have to make sure that you’re listening to them, you’re looking at them and you’re getting their feedback so that if you need to change, you can make those changes appropriately. In his personal experience, he is privileged of the fact that he gets to fly to amazing destinations and visit the best hotels in the market and the best restaurants the market has to offer. So immediately when he walks into so many restaurants that he can sense the difference in service, in product, in quality, in attention, so for him customer service is pretty good because he feels internally when one of Gustazos customers’ expectations are not met, for instance if they buy a restaurant deal and they visit the restaurant and they were maybe treated in a different way, they refund their money and they’ll give them a gift for their bad experience so they are really careful in regards to bad experiences and they strive on making sure that people understand that they are doing everything in their power for their experience to be not only memorable but one that can be shared with their family and friends.
Yanique mentioned that that’s the most important question every company asks, "Would you recommend this organization to a family member or friend?" and the reality is that if we have a bad experience we are probably not going to want our friends and family to have that same experience so we are going to tell them don’t go there.
Carlos stated that bad news travels faster than good news and they have a team in place internally that is constantly monitoring Social Media, their phone lines and he could go out on a limb and say that they address 100% of the cases, they do their best to make everyone happy and they feel like they do a pretty good job because the customer at the end says you know what, things may not have worked out because you’re going to have trouble, when you’re in business, you’re going to meet challenges and there’s going to be moments when clients are going to complain and that’s going to happen regardless of how hard you work, the question is how do you manage that situation, you can make it right, if you make it right, you’re gaining a client for life, so it’s not about the bad things that happen, it’s how you address those bad things and one of the things that he tries to convey to the team is make sure the customer is happy.
- Carlos stated that they have people on the ground in their team, they call them the Marketing Campaign Planners and they are in charge of visiting every single establishment before they are presented on the website, so all the promotions that you see on Gustazos, they have done a pre-screening of that location, whether by visiting the location physically and many times in the case of restaurants, they actually eat and evaluate the service of that restaurant so they don’t allow just any establishment to promote themselves on Gustazos, their commitment with their consumers and with their audiences is that everything thing that you see on Gustazos has been blessed by them and they guarantee that you’re going to have an amazing experience, they guarantee that your expectations are going to be met other wise your money is going to be refunded and they are going to give you something in addition to refunding your monies. They work very hard in talking and meeting and documenting everything with the business owners or the person responsible for that business to make sure that the customer experience is their number one priority. Carlos stated that he was watching an interview with this restaurant expert and he said, “If a person comes into your restaurant and the food and service is good, there’s a 40% chance that they’re going to come back a second time, if they come back a second time and the food and service is good, there’s a 42% chance that they are going to come back. If they come back a third time and the food and service is good, there’s a 75% chance that they are going to come back.” You can’t give up, you have to give them good service and there’s nothing more important than keeping customers happy.
- Carlos agreed that different cultures may pose challenges for the businesses they partner with and that’s why they have their head quarter team that is in charge of presenting these promotions works hand in hand with the local Jamaica team to make sure that they are speaking the correct language because they are headquartered out of San Juan so a lot of the operations is there but they have a team of 10 people in Jamaica right now and some of those folks are in charge that were speaking the way Jamaicans like to be spoken to and the some for Panama, Dominica Republic, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean which are the other markets where they have a presence. His experiences has been in many countries and living in Brazil, he didn’t’ speak the language when he moved there and that really opened his mind and it makes you open-minded. So going to Jamaica when they first started evaluating Jamaica, Jamaica has so much to offer in regards to cuisine, resource, businesses, you name it, spas, salons, adventures, it has so much to offer and they are an amazing vehicle to connect businesses that can use more traffic or new traffic or new clients with consumers of their niche but they consider themselves local in Jamaica because this stage is run by a local team so they are in charge of what is being published 100%.
- Carlos shared that by staying motivated, you have to find what you’re passionate about, he talks about the pursuit of happiness and you need to work in life because you need to have a purpose in life, so everybody must have a job, you may be a Dentist, you may be Veterinarian, you may be a Talk Show Host or you may be a guy who basically manage sales people, you have to do what’s passionate to you. And because he’s doing what he’s passionate about, it’s very easy for him to wake up in the mornings at 7:30 am and start engaging the website and his people and getting into meetings. So first and foremost, you have to be passionate about what you do and if you’re passionate about what you do, you’re going to be happy. He believes when you’re doing something you’re passionate about, success is destined to happen. He’s a Caribbean guy by nature, he loves our seas, he loves our food and plus he loves the impact they are causing businesses and he loves more the impact they are causing consumers. They get a lot of feedback from consumers for example, Puerto Rico is in an economic crisis and they get notes once in a while for example, “Thank you Gustazos for giving us this particular promotion because I’m getting to do things with my family that I used to do with my father about 30 years ago and if it wasn’t for you guys and your promotions, I wouldn’t be able to do it with my family.” So that touches you, that will bring tears to your eyes, so the impact that they are causing businesses and the impact they are causing on consumers is very powerful and he really values that and it brings a lot of satisfaction to him.
Carlos mentioned employees and that sometimes they hire people from college, sometimes they hire people that just moved to that country and you see them grow and you see them improve their financial situation and things get better, they are able to afford better school for their kids, buy a new car, move into a new house, so those 3 components are very important to him and those are what drives him and keeps him motivated and waking up every morning and engaging with everything that they have going on.
- Carlos stated that Whatsapp is one of the tools he cannot live without. He thinks that Whatsapp is going to revolutionize the way we communicate and it’s doing it now. We don’t know how long emails are going to last and how efficient emails are going to but right now the fact that you can creates groups and right now it’s impacting your professional and your personal life because right now what Whatsapp is doing is your creating internal groups, he’s in a group with the Jamaica team, he’s in a group with the Puerto Rico team, he’s in a group with the leadership team, he’s in a group with the programming team and then in his personal life, he’s in a group with Argentina - with his high school friends, he’s in a group with his Brazilian friends. So Whatsapp is becoming an instrumental communication tool for us internally as a company and for him it’s kind of like where Facebook was when it launched when you reconnected with your classmates and people from your childhood, he’s seeing it in a more efficient way through Whatsapp. The other one is the tool that Gmail offers which is the Google Drive, Google Drive right now you can actually update Cloud setting, in business, you would historically have to email an excel file, that person would open it and you can no longer make changes if you’re the person who sent it. So Google Drive today you have excel there and he makes any changes, everybody that’s copied there is able to see that change and he can communicate within that tool whether it’s a comment or it’s an email, he can send emails from that excel file and he can send PDF, so it’s a very efficient and interactive tool, not only that but they also have word files and a number of others. Google Drive and Whatsapp are 2 of the most important assets that they use internally.
- Carlos shared that he’s a martial artist and he does grade 2 Jujitsu - it’s very popular with the ultimate fighting championship and there’s a book called The Gracie Diet by Rorion Gracie, the Gracie’s were a family that created this martial art it’s considered to be the most sufficient martial art today and there’s a diet behind it that consists of a lot of fruits, a lot of vegetables and the combination of these foods, so if he was to recommend to the audience and amazing book if you’re looking for a great diet and not something that you would do temporarily but something that you would do long term and make it part of your life - this is the book for you. The other is Winning by Jack Welch and he’s a big fan of his and anything he says and writes, if you’re in business, he would highly recommend it, two authors that you can’t go wrong.
- Carlos shared that he is really excited about the call he just got, a mega power player in Jamaica who is very interested in taking Gustazos Jamaica to the next level and he thinks it can take Gustazos to the next level. He is also excited about the new partnership that they established in the Dominica Republic because he always say Gustazos.com because of their email data base that they grow on a daily basis, they should be apart of an ad agency because at the end of the day, they are a marketing campaign tool the same way the newspaper is, a magazine is, a radio show is, they are a channel and they partner up with BBDO which is a big ad agency, they are internationally known but their representative in Dominica Republic just purchased 40% of Gustazos in Dominica Republic and now they are offering a platform to their clients, for example, the number 2 bank in the island is going to start using Gustazos services to change their miles into Gustazos dollars and credits. They are also in the automobile industry so there’s going to be some promotions. So now instead of being restaurants and hotels, they are tapping into the ad agency industry and the ad agencies are noticing that, “This is a powerful tool that has a very efficient reach and we might as well try to use it, leverage it with our clients and make it part of our portfolio.” And that’s going to open a lot of doors for the people that work for them and those 2 opportunities are things that he’s very excited about.
Carlos stated that he is giving the Navigating the Customer Experience audience a gift, if you go to Guztazos.com/gimme5, they are going to give you USD 5.00 in credit for the purchase of anything you want on Gustazos.
- Carlos shared that listeners can find him at -
Carlos Villares LinkedIn
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carlos shared that the quote that he always reflects on during times of adversity is, “Control your destiny.” Sometimes, especially in sales, the client is not calling him back or someone in the office is not doing this for him, you have to control your destiny and if you need to so something yourself in order to achieve your goal, you have to control your destiny, don’t let your destiny fall into other peoples hands.