Keeping your eye on the prize, or in this case, customer success is a key for Keith Pearce, vice president of product marketing at Salesforce.
Pearce is responsible for the messaging and the positioning of the company’s service cloud platform in the market.
“We’ve got many initiatives and are very proud to have a CEO who is a public figure, outspoken about diverse workforces, equal pay, and hiring a chief of equality officer,” Pearce told Loyalty360. “Our model has been this 1/1/1 initiative (technology, people, resources), which leverages Salesforce’s technology, people, and resources to help improve communities around the world. When it comes to how we serve our market, it’s about a customer-first perspective around making customers successful. In a cloud environment, where switching is easier, you’ve got to really have your eye on customer success.”
The biggest value that companies derive from using Salesforce is they have data in a lot of different places and “we can bring it to one place and use it to best serve them across any device or app, from sales, marketing, to service. Where we’re applying intelligence to that data, it’s not just to have that data in one place, it’s to have meaning for it. You can then be predictive about the things you need to do to drive a certain result.”
Pearce said that one of the challenges is that AI is not fully mature.
“We’re in the early adopter phase of AI,” he explained. “Where we see AI has a lot of potentials is where you have structured data that you start to mine, a machine can learn to query from that and consistently have the information it needs to provide meaningful information back as far as knowing who you are, and what you are emailing, texting, or chatting about. When you structure data in the right way, you can use AI to make computers become more intelligent over time, no matter what device, app, or context the customer you're serving is in.”
Customers want to talk to companies they do business with the same way they communicate in their personal lives, Pearce noted.
“You send an email to a company and good luck getting a response or a timely response,” he said. “That doesn’t cut it today because of the competitive nature of industries and service experience differentiation. Part of it is the economics of the cloud. A very small company can enter a market and be very disruptive because of cloud economics and procure a technology for it to market without the kind of investment they used to have to make. That’s pressuring the Old Guard, if you will, to change how they handle customer engagement. That guiding light of CX wins over. The ride-sharing companies are a good example. They didn’t reinvent how to get from Point A to Point B. They leaned in on the CX and got that from a mobile app. It’s a better result for the consumer.”
If you look at the macro trend we’re following, Pearce explained, there’s massive commoditization across products and services that every company is offering in the market.
“By and large, a company today can’t grow by just having a better product, or on offering a cheaper price, or on wrapping a service around a product,” he said. “It’s the whole customer experience. That’s the Holy Grail, that every Fortune 1000 company is trying to provide. When you look at that trend, it creates a great opportunity for companies like ours to make software and applications and bring know-how and expertise around how to manage customer experiences, customer service experience, customer journeys−from marketing to sales to service.”
Peace believes that the ante for customer loyalty has gone up considerably.
“We cut across that chasm from providing our salespeople with a great tool to forecast and manage their pipeline, to I’m managing these service interactions with a customer in real time via chat or via an SMS,” he said. “But, we’re up for a challenge. It’s an industry in dire need of a disruption.”