Mark Benioff

Remarkable CEx lessons from Marc Benioff – may the Salesforce be with you!

Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru

Last week, Customer Guru published some stellar Customer Experience lessons from Sam Walton, the founder of the biggest retailer – Walmart. This week, we have some fabulous and inspiring lessons from one the the most well-known, new age entrepreneurs, Marc Benioff. Benioff is the co-founder, CEO and Chairman of salesforce.com, one of the most highly valued American cloud computing companies. It is with Benioff at the helm of affairs that Salesforce is currently the largest Customer Relationship Management (CRM) company in the world. The organization consistently figures in the world’s most innovative organizations list and the world’s most admired organizations. The revolutionary leadership and innovation of Benioff has made him one of the most admired leaders in the world today. Another of his pioneering ideas with respect to philanthropy was the “1-1-1 model,” whereby the company contributes one percent of product, one percent of equity, and one percent of employee hours back to the communities it serves globally.

Here are some innovative lessons from the man himself.

“The future of communicating with customers rests in engaging with them through every possible channel: phone, e-mail, chat, Web, and social networks. Customers are discussing a company’s products and brand in real time. Companies need to join the conversation.”

You will become obsolete if you do not match the pace of your customers. And today’s customers are extremely fast-paced, they spread across demographies and they are extremely aware. Moreover, with the increasing choice available to every customer, he will not think twice before switching products. Hence, customer engagement is extremely important.

According to the Social Customer Engagement Index of 2014, 81% of the organizations said that social customer service strategy is integrated into the overall social strategy of the organization. Also, 50% of those surveyed said that their company provides customer service via mobile devices, up from 38% in 2012. These stats must pretty much give you an idea of which way the trend is moving!

“Most of all, I discovered that in order to succeed with a product you must truly get to know your customers and build something for them.”

Isn’t this something that every great entrepreneur says? The first step to build a new product is to understand what the customer needs – the customer’s needs must be at the centre of your business. However good a product/service is, if the customer does not need it, it will not sell. Furthermore, it is necessary to be proactive and anticipate the needs of the customer.

“Learning how to interact with customers is something that anyone starting any business must master.”

Irrespective of whether you are part of a product or a service company, customer service is critical in determining the success of your organization. Treat and talk to your customer as a partner – as someone who has an equal share in helping your organization grow.

Are there any other such business leaders that have inspired you to be more customer centric? Let us know and we will be glad to publish some lessons from them!