In this interview with Sarita Besada, CX Director at leading proptech QuintoAndar, we discussed the skills CX professionals need to succeed and how CX leaders can leverage AI to transform their training and learning strategy.
Can you talk about your trajectory: how did you start your career? What got you into CX?
Since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of being a doctor. Today, after many years, I understand why. To work in CX, you need to enjoy serving people. Following my dream of becoming a doctor, I started studying nursing. However, in the first year, I realized that it wasn’t for me. I was young and didn’t know how to deal with the challenges of the profession. As the youngest of three girls, I decided to follow my sisters’ careers and went to study computer science.
I got a job in São Paulo at a marketing agency and from there, I was invited to work at IBM, where I stayed for five years. At IBM, I worked in market intelligence, where I talked a lot about the customer but with no focus on CX, as my focus was more on the business. However, that was the moment when I started to become fascinated with people – thinking about who you are serving and how you position your offering to them. That was the beginning of my journey in CX.
At the time, Atento kept calling me and making me job offers. I didn’t know anything about CX or customer service, but one day I accepted the challenge of joining them to manage the General Motors account, which was a new customer for them. And there I stayed for 15 years, working with CX and managing numerous clients. At some point, I had more than 23 clients in my portfolio. Leading the global clients was how I fell in love with CX. And that’s how my career went, and I ended up in CX.
After 15 years at the same company, you recently started working as CX director at QuintoAndar, a leading proptech in Latin America. How was this transition and how is your day-to-day in your current position?
As a technology company, QuintoAndar provides a fast-paced environment where constant creation, evolution, and acceleration of business take place. This suits me well because I enjoy movement and being surrounded by people. However, the reason I joined the company was a matter of purpose. I came to QuintoAndar to help the company build the “CX of dreams”. My mission is to have the best team with amazing people taking care of our customers and making them the core of our business, which is the company’s objective.
In my daily work, I strive to balance a strategic vision with a focus on the micro by listening to and interacting with customers. In my opinion, listening is one of the most important skills for a CX leader. There is always something new to learn, a different perspective, or a new way to better serve our customers. We can never stop listening. Unfortunately, it is a common mistake for CX leaders to distance themselves from the base and the day-to-day work with customers. To be a good CX leader, you need to be close to your customers every day. That is why I spend a good part of my work developing and working on the strategy with my team and a good part of my time listening to the clients.
Every 15 days, we invite clients to face-to-face coffee meetings, during which we take the opportunity to listen to them. We hear their stories, positive or negative. We tend to focus on what went wrong. However, I believe it is equally important to listen to what went well. We need to understand what went wrong, be humble enough to listen and learn, but also hear what went well because it motivates us and helps us do even greater things.
In that sense, what do you think are the biggest challenges for CX today?
I see two main topics as the biggest challenges for companies: ensuring good tracking of customer data, and speed.
The first challenge is to know everything about your customer – what they like, what they do, and what they’ve done. It’s like passing through an x-ray at the airport that knows everything in your suitcase. However, our clients are everywhere – on the internet, social media, and phone – making it challenging to have all their information on hand when connecting with them. Companies need to ensure their support agents have all the client’s information at hand to connect with them from the start.
The second challenge is speed. Nowadays, everything is moving at a fast pace, and people want everything yesterday. With the internet and new ways to communicate, everyone knows everything, and no one has time to waste. That is a huge challenge, constantly monitoring the fine line between quality and speed, to ensure you meet their clients’ needs.
In this multi-channel scenario, how do you ensure that you have the appropriate technological support to manage your customers’ data? In a broader sense, how does technology help your work?
Technology is a big part of what we do, and we are working hard to further improve our technological support for CX. We’re fortunate to be able to develop internal solutions that meet our specific needs. That’s wonderful because we can offer our customers unique solutions. Technology provides us with speed and helps deliver great service by consolidating all the information. I can’t disclose much, but we have an intense roadmap of new and exciting things that we are preparing exclusively for our customers.
Continuing in the topic of technology, what is your perspective on artificial intelligence? How do you see opportunities to use artificial intelligence in CX?
I strongly believe in the importance of the human factor in improving relationships. Therefore, I do not think that AI will replace people in CX, but it can generate efficiency and reduce costs, which is what every business needs. Every company wants to keep growing, and AI can help achieve that by generating efficiency and reducing costs. Additionally, AI can help maintain the human element by providing personalized recommendations and enhancing communication channels.
One practical application of artificial intelligence that has greatly benefited us is in the realm of training. With AI-generated content, we are able to establish a connection between our analysts and real-world scenarios. Often, our young analysts have yet to experience common rental challenges, such as plumbing issues or difficult repairs. By utilizing an AI model, we can generate empathy and provide a more playful and realistic depiction of these challenges.
For example, we created an AI video to replace a 2-hour training about photography to help our analysts explain to clients the importance of high-quality property photos. This 4-minute video showcases the right lighting, environment, and focus needed for quality photos. This type of AI training generates a different type of knowledge than traditional training and allows us to quickly provide our analysts with points of knowledge that connect them with actual processes. Overall, I strongly believe that artificial intelligence is a valuable tool for improving our training processes and enhancing the knowledge of our analysts.
Speaking of young CX professionals, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in this career?
As a CX director, I believe that working in this field is a beautiful and fulfilling career. I always tell my children to pursue what they love, and they will never feel like they are working. For me, taking care of customers is my passion, and seeing them satisfied brings me immense joy. The satisfaction of resolving a customer’s issue is a great reward for me, and it keeps me motivated. CX is a career for passionate people who enjoy serving others, and I believe that anyone who has these qualities can pursue a purposeful career in CX.
In CX, it’s essential to have the right attitude and mindset. When hiring someone, I look for their attitudes and values, not just their qualifications and experience. It’s crucial to put oneself in the customer’s shoes and understand their needs and requirements. This approach not only applies to professional life but also helps in personal relationships.
Finding people who are passionate about serving others is a challenge. One of our best analysts had worked as a caregiver for the elderly before joining our team. She had no complaints from customers and had a natural inclination towards serving people. This experience made me realize that we need to look for people with the right attitude and mindset for CX roles.
Regarding QuintoAndar, you have several interesting projects going on, how do you see the role of the CX department in relation to the company’s strategy for the coming years?
CX is the cornerstone of our strategy. When I joined the company, I knew that CX was the most critical topic for us, and it’s gratifying to see that everyone in the organization shares the same mindset. We have ingrained CX in our culture and the way we serve our customers. However, we acknowledge that there is still room for improvement. As a technology-driven company, we offer numerous functionalities to our customers, and there are countless paths they can follow before they reach out to us. Therefore, we humbly recognize that we have a long way to go to achieve the CX of our dreams. Nevertheless, I have unwavering confidence in our commitment to putting the customer at the center of everything we do and making CX our top priority.