CX and innovation – a fireside chat with Salesforce 
Innovation and Tech, CX

CX and innovation – a fireside chat with Salesforce 

By Jarrod McAleese • Feb 2021

Customer experience (CX) and innovation are hot topics within the legal sector. Now more than ever, businesses are seeking to establish a point of difference in their service delivery – with a heightened emphasis on incorporating digital elements, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
How can organisations embed values with their operations? What does truly exceptional service look like? How do you bring innovation to life?  
Who better to answer these key questions than world leading software company, Salesforce.  
Founded in 1999, Salesforce assists organisations world-wide, big or small, deliver personalised experiences to their customers. Innovative in nature, it championed the replacement of traditional desktop customer relationship management (CRM) software with CRM in the cloud, making it  
accessible anytime from anywhere.   
Today, it employs close to 50,000 staff, with its technology utilised by more than 150,000 companies, including Spotify, Amazon Web Services and Toyota.  
Pip Marlow, Chief Executive Officer, ANZ & ASEAN, Salesforce, caught up with Property Now to share her insights.  
Q: Pip, as a leader, how do you instil Salesforce’s values within your teams?  
Pip: We have four core values – trust, innovation, customer success and equality. Values are so important and certainly for us, they help bind every employee of the company together. They’re not for show and they’re not just pretty words – we put time, energy and resources behind them.  
In my role, it’s about championing the things we care about as an organisation, supporting our culture and helping create an environment where people can live those values.  
Q: What does excellent customer service look like to you?  
Pip: We try to have a holistic view of the customer – understanding who they are, what they’re doing and how we can help them. We support this by having systems in place to understand if that help isn’t being delivered at the right speed or standard.  
We’ve also had a customer success team for a very long time. I think we were probably one of the first tech companies to embed that as part of our organisational design – which really exists as a reflection of our strategy. For that reason, it’s important to us that we’ve always had a business unit that is dedicated to understanding what the customer is trying to do and what they require from us – to ensure that their needs are met.  
We all have products and services that we want to sell to customers to help them do what they need and want to do. But more and more, we’re ensuring we align our moments of celebration, reward and recognition with the moments our customers are celebrating.  
Q: Innovation is a popular ‘buzz word’. From your experience, what does innovation look like in practice?  

Pip: For a long time, I feel that people viewed innovation as solely being associated with the creation of new products, which of course will always be important. But in support of this, we should all be looking at business process innovation and customer experience innovation.   
The example I use, which I think has been game-changing, is Netflix. What Netflix did is disrupt the customer experience – suddenly, you could ‘rent’ videos, without the prospect of a late fee and with no need for you to drive to a Blockbuster. At the end of the day, the product is the same – we’re accessing a TV show or movie. Whether I went to Blockbuster to access the content, or I streamed it on Netflix, the product didn’t change – what’s been transformed is the distribution of that product and thus the customer experience of that product.  
I think using tech and data to disrupt industries and create new, more simplified experiences will continue to be something that we will see an incredible amount of innovation – I think every industry is ripe for disruption.  
Q: What is key to fostering an innovative mindset?  
Pip: You can’t be held back by existing conventions. I know people have said, “customers don’t want to do it like that, customers don’t want to do things online” – I think that’s a myth the past year we’ve endured has busted.  
People have shown us that they’re prepared to do a lot of things in a digital environment that they’ve never done before. And so, people whose mindset is, “that’s not how customers want to do things” – I think they will be mostly surprised by how their competition goes and disrupts them if they don’t look at how they disrupt themselves.  
And I know in industries that have long histories, that can be hard sometimes. But you’ve got to listen to your customers, ascertain where they are and where they want to be. And we shouldn’t assume to know what our customers want – we should be giving them choice as part of that.  

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