Using Salesforce to fuel customer obsession

Written by Stephanie Sadowski, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Salesforce Business Group — Europe

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Most companies view customer experience inside out. While companies would like to think they can control the customer experience, it often manifests into fragmented journeys throughout different organizations within the company. Perception is reality — and the customer’s perception is there is only one experience, outside in. This perception transcends internal organizations is based on how their needs are met, in good times and bad. Customer experience is realized by how well all of the parts of the organization come together — no longer the marketed experience.

If you’ve ever been frustrated by a company, as they try to sell you something else, when what you already own isn’t even working, you have experienced this. Forget the obvious lack of coordination and communication, it ultimately amplifies an already bad interaction.

Now let’s flip the script and consider the opposite in this scenario. Let’s say you recently moved money into a new brokerage account. Your financial advisor proactively reaches out with some great recommendations, with an offer to personally walk you through the steps to convert your account to an IRA. Almost like he or she knew what you needed, when you needed it, how you needed it.

If you had that experience, how would that make you feel?

The former example is all too common with companies that aren’t customer-focused, with apparent disconnects between back, middle and front offices.

The latter is clearly an integrated, holistic organization that understands the importance of uncovering the unmet needs of the customer.

Blending human with digital can unleash a passion for great service

I recently explored Accenture’s Business of Experience report which dives into the evolution of CX to what is described as BX, or the business of experience, in which “…every C-level executive and leader inside both front and back-office functions needs to be invested in shifting their thinking about experience.” In the report, an astounding 77% of CEOs said “their company will fundamentally change the way it engages and interacts with its customers. They recognize that change is needed for business growth, durability and relevance.”

OK. But how? Our research has identified four steps to achieving success in this business evolution.

Step number one resonates with me. “Obsess about customer needs — and use that as your compass.”

As a Salesforce evangelist, my first reaction is that this is Salesforce’s sweet spot: Serving up exceptional customer experience across any organization using data as the guiding beacon. But not just data. Salesforce isn’t about putting mass amounts of data on a page or computer screen for someone to have to find the needle in the haystack that applies to their customer. It’s leveraging analytics and AI so data is transformed into actionable insights that your employees can use to help that customer in a meaningful way.

Salesforce provides automated insights based on each individual customer’s data. What I find really powerful is the impact it has on an organization. People get excited, obsessed almost when they are able to get the visibility that the platform provides. They often ask, “Hey, can this data tell me which customer’s people did this or that?” or “Can I get this kind of data on my customers?”

People want to get more involved in helping to shape the roadmap, often because they draw from their personal experiences — good or bad — with customer service. What Salesforce can do is automate the best practices of your top salespeople or service reps. Combine this data-driven focus with a human approach, anticipating needs to place the customer at the center of the journey. That elevated commitment gets scaled out consistently in the organization and ultimately lifts the level of service you’re providing to your end clients. As a result…

Your company is more customer-centric. You’re setting the bar higher, and everybody has the tools to reach that new, higher-quality service level.

Three steps to customer obsession with Salesforce

How can you leverage Salesforce to fuel a systemic and holistic approach to customer obsession that helps accelerate your company’s growth? Here are a few practical pointers:

  • Ensure there is buy-in and support from the top: You’ve created a passion for great service throughout all levels of the organization. However, without deep investment from leadership, employee enthusiasm will be chilled and these efforts will not be transformational for your entire organization.
  • Empower employees at the customer levels: There may be resistance at the top because this approach challenges decades’ worth of conventional wisdom. It’s the opposite of command-and-control because you’re empowering the people closest to the customer. Breaking away from the comfort zone at the top is well worth it for the overall organization.
  • Leverage “built-in” best practices: Salesforce is an evolving platform with best practices from current clients helping to grow and shape it. So, lean in and leverage it. Be willing to change processes. Be open to rejiggering operations. Let Salesforce be the catalyst that drives a customer-centric change in your organization.

Good BX means efficiently and continually learning from your customers. Discovering how Salesforce can help you transform your organization into a customer-obsessed culture is a strong first step toward becoming a business of experience.

There is much more to unpack on becoming a business of experience. Connect with me on LinkedIn and let’s continue the conversation.

1Accenture C-level BX Survey; data collected from November 2019 to January 2020, with a refresh in May-June 2020

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