The challenge for all companies is for the quality of human service to move faster than the improvement of technologies.”
You are a multipurpose man. Tell us who you are.
I am quite an atypical combination: modern entrepreneur, observer, author and animator, I have created several companies, including Columbus Café. For 14 years, I have been hosting a show about entrepreneurs on BFM Business channel. I enjoy this energy I get every week and every weekend. I feel comfortable in all those roles. I have always needed to switch between actually acting and taking some perspective by observing. What I like most is having the vision, and sharing development. Once the subject is created, I have a completely different look on things.
You have co-founded Columbus Café and after the capital opening, you were excluded. How did you manage?
This human adventure had been going on for 10 years for me (the company started in 1994) and we had had difficult beginnings. I don’t come from a wealthy family, so I had to accept losing power. Unfortunately, you know what happened. And despite this unbelievable violence, I got through it in 15 days. It may seem incredible, but I learned that the best way to fail a failure is to blame it on others. I made an assessment to figure out what I lacked and then my second life as a speaker and author has allowed me to work on my other skills to find fulfillment. BFM Radio editor asked me to host a show and I received several other requests for lectures. It was quite simple!
Customer service is at the center of your books, especially in “Service Compris” (Service Included) published in 1986 and which sold 100,000 copies and “Service Compris 2.0” published in 2011 which sold 500,000 copies. Why that subject?
It is the story of my life. I came back from the United States in the mid-90s. Customer service was not at all at the center of companies’ attention. My idea was to present the keys to make French customer service nice and smiley. Back then, I was the editor of Expension magazine and I did not understand why French companies did not realize that clients decided whether a company worked or not. The 2.0 version was what we call a boomerang operation to present how to stand out from others in the digital world. The challenge for all companies is for the quality of human service to move faster than the improvement of technologies.
You have just published a book called “Tout va mal… je vais bien” (It’s all bad… I’m okay”, sub- titled: “how to live happily in a shit world”. Why this title?
I wanted to write about our behaviors. I often write about my anger. In this country where we spend our time complaining, I needed to remind people about the good things that are there. I am shocked to see that the startupers generation expects nothing. They rush in, no question, to change the world. Which is great! I believe in emotional contagion. If we get to share something positive, it is not so bad.
What about women in important positions?
It should not even be a subject. I have to admit that, for lack of quality women in leading positions, few of them went through my show. This is an evolving social issue. Which brings me to think about another important social issue: the youth. In this constantly evolving world, it has become essential to cross skills. And more and more important groups and companies are beginning to change.
By Médina KONÉ