Resident – GlobalTalk is playing in one of Portugal’s most competitive markets and succeeding against much larger companies, including multinationals. What is your secret?
Salim Patel – We operate with a genuine focus on customer service and fair trade. Customers are not just numbers, they are people! It is our top priority to make sure our customers are getting the best possible deal for their landline communications and that means paying a lot less than they were with another telecom provider. We get regular feedback from our customers saying they view GlobalTalk as a partner, not just a service provider. If you are impressed with the quality and service of a restaurant, you will not only go back, but you will also recommend it to your friends. That’s exactly what happens with us. We are proud of how we take care of our customers. It’s a basic business principle that is often forgotten. It’s about providing people with a high quality, low cost alternative.
R – GlobalTalk has very low rates, especially for international calls. How do you manage this?
SP – We are very practical about how we do business and the fact that we are not a large corporation, with thousands of employees, allows us to cut costs in many areas. Have you ever seen a fancy TV commercial for GlobalTalk? That’s because we would rather transfer that potential cost as a saving to our customers instead. The same applies to our whole operation. For instance, all our marketing is done in-house, is very targeted and common sense. We don’t see the need for nationwide, street campaigns or high level sponsorship. If we started going down that route, we would have to raise our tariffs and that’s not what GlobalTalk is about. By keeping things simple, we keep customer phone bills low. GlobalTalk has two priorities: client satisfaction and low cost calls.
R – Everyday we see campaigns from various telecom providers, each boasting ‘best deals’ and ‘special price plans’. How does GlobalTalk handle the competition?
SP – Healthy competition is a good thing and the ultimate winner is the customer. Yet we feel that, with so many choices presently available, the message is not always clear. What some providers may portray as a great deal can actually end up costing callers a lot more, if they don’t read the small print. GlobalTalk takes advantage of this by providing super simple price plans and very clear promotions that make immediate sense to anyone looking for a clear alternative to their existing provider. For example, all our international calls are charged at a flat rate at all times, whatever the day of the week. You can’t beat that for simplicity and common sense.
R – Describe the company atmosphere… How do you go about your daily operation?
SP – GlobalTalk is made up of an international team of extremely professional and versatile people. It’s always great to be part of a growing success. We focus on our customers and that’s why we succeed – we feel that everyday when we sign up new customers. Working with leading edge technology and our own Customer Service Management Software means that our operations are smooth and thorough, providing the best possible service to our clients. We work in an open-plan space and constant feedback and initiative is welcomed from all employees. It doesn’t take us long to adapt a strategy or launch a new campaign. Quick reaction and effective implementation of ideas and concepts are critical in keeping GlobalTalk reaching key objectives. In fact, we expectto double our client base in 2005.
R – It would seem that, even with such obvious advantages and alternatives, consumers are still hesitant when it comes to making the switch. Why do you think this happens?
SP – In Portugal especially, it’s very much a cultural thing. The Portuguese have had the same provider for decades and it’s not in their nature to change lightheartedly. But things are changing rapidly as consumers are exposed to more information and begin to trust the various alternatives available. GlobalTalk is very clear in its message of total transparency. There are no hidden costs, no binding contracts, no catch. Just high quality, low cost phone calls. When people understandall these facts, it’s hard not to switch. It takes minutes to sign up a new customer.
• Salim Patel joined GlobalTalk after 15 years in senior management in Blue Chip companies in the UK, Italy and Scandinavia. Always one to be actively involved in the local community, he isthe president of the PTA at St. Dominic’s International School. Call GlobalTalk’s Customer Service line on 707 505 303.