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What’s the most powerful force driving business change today? Is it artificial intelligence? The Internet of Things? The Fourth Industrial Revolution? Or is it how these innovations join forces to spark new possibilities for customer experience? Recent research shows that 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. What characterizes a good experience? Seventy percent say connected experiences are very important to winning their business. From seamless handoffs between departments to tailored engagement based on past interactions, customers expect every touchpoint to be frictionless and easy.

For businesses, delivering connected experiences at scale requires a single view of their customers — built not only on business unit collaboration but on integrated data sources. So the question becomes, how do we build connected businesses for connected customers? We’ve spoken with business leaders who are tackling this challenge — from panelists of the World Economic Forum to behavioral scientists to CEOs of global corporations.

Here, we’ve compiled highlights from these conversations, which paint a diverse picture of how leaders are transforming business to meet customer expectations at every turn.

Lessons from Amazon on Customer Success

 



In his annual letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos credits “hundreds of millions of divinely discontent customers around the world” as driving the company to reach for high standards. It’s a challenge 
Ralf Kleber, Country Manager of Amazon.de in Germany, wrestles with every day. Kleber sat down with Salesforce Senior Vice President, Ulrik Nehammer, to discuss his predictions for the future of the customer experience, and why customer obsession is a core element of Amazon’s DNA. “At the end of the day, it is our customers who decide which services or products are well received — and not market research and business intelligence,” Kleber said. “That is why we consequently focus on our customers and not on our competitors.”

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Why Customer Experience Begins with Understanding Human Nature

 

What would it take for you to trust a robot? That’s the sort of question that behavioral scientist Dr. Susan Weinschenk loves to analyze. An adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Weinschenk consults on user experience and design, focusing on the intersection between humans, brain science, and technology. This interview gives a closer look at how understanding human nature is one key to building a better customer experience. “People want to feel that they are in control of their choices, in control of their data, and have control over how they do things,” said Dr. Weinschenk. “Interestingly, they may not actually want to do the work that gives them that control. And they may prefer the outcome when somebody or something else, like a machine, makes choices for them.”

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New Research Uncovers Big Shifts in Customer Expectations and Trust

 



Salesforce Research surveyed over 6,700 consumers and business buyers globally to better understand the modern customer mindset. Published in the second edition “
State of the Connected Customer” report, these findings reveal what these new norms mean for companies that are vying for their business and their trust. For 92% of customers, the ability to control what personal information is collected makes them more likely to trust a company with that information. These findings pave a path for companies looking to transform their business to focus on the customer.

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How to Retool Your Business for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

 

 

We’re in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution — a fundamental shift in the business and social landscapes resulting from a fusion of technologies blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. But what’s at the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution? How do the technologies and innovations at play change how companies operate? And how are new customer expectations rocking the boat for traditional business models? Hear perspectives from Al Gore, will.i.am, and global CEOs on how to thrive among these changes.

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CEOs Talk Shop: Future-Proofing the Fourth Industrial Revolution

 

 

The position of CEO during the Fourth Industrial Revolution is not for the faint of heart. The digital and physical worlds have blurred, and we’re in uncharted waters. For C-level leaders, the stakes are high as they push their businesses to a higher level of customer-centricity. Hear insights from Marcelle Parrish, President, Global Digital Operations for Ralph Lauren, Stephen Bird, CEO, Global Consumer Banking at Citi, and other leading CEOs.

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Kaiser Permanente CEO on the Future of Care and Medicine

 

 

Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, is transforming his organization to focus on his customers — or, more precisely, to focus on the 12 million members and 65 million residents it serves. The technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution mean his organization is investigating everything from how AI can improve the speed of disease diagnosis to how the consumer healthcare experience can be as straightforward as making a restaurant reservation. “In this fast-changing world,” he said, “standing still is not an option.”

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Everywhere you turn, connected experiences are the new normal. Customers expect service reps on the phone to know about messages they’ve sent on social channels. They expect personalized offers to reflect all of their previous purchases. And they expect these transactions to be seamless. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, customer expectations have set the bar high — and it’s not coming down anytime soon.