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Customer 360

Welcome to the All-Digital, Work From Anywhere World

This hasn’t been the year any of us expected. In a lot of ways, it feels like I went out for a jog and midway through, it turned into a marathon.

As much as we want life to “get back to normal” and cheer as vaccines begin to roll out, we know it won’t happen overnight.

This hasn’t been the year any of us expected. In a lot of ways, it feels like I went out for a jog and midway through, it turned into a marathon.”

Bret Taylor, President and COO, Salesforce

We’ve experienced many fundamental shifts this year—working from home, the slowing economy, digital-first interactions—that will be with us for awhile. Even after widespread vaccination.

Our role is to intentionally think about the future, what it will bring and help our customers embrace it.

It’s hard to predict the future — especially in 2020. But I do think the future looks a lot like today, and that it’s an all-digital, work from anywhere world.

It’s a world where consumers largely buy goods online (or in contact-less settings, like curbside pick-up or delivery). Services like doctor’s visits shift to Zooms. Processes like buying a house or car become digital. Office-based employees realize they like the flexibility remote work offers.

Our job is to help companies not just confront, but embrace, the new reality. To reimagine how they operate and adopt a beginner’s mindset.

What’s remarkable to me is that as hard as this year has been, it’s shown us and our customers that this new digital way of operating is possible. I’ve seen countless customers launch new digital capabilities in weeks, not months. They’re seizing this moment as an opportunity to think critically about their company’s future.

One of them is CarMax, the United States’ largest retailer of used vehicles. They were in a better position than most when the pandemic hit. Digital had been a key focus for them for several years and they had created an omnichannel buying experience for customers, including online, phone support and onsite experiences. Increasingly, their customers are doing more of the car buying process online and spending less time in store.

CarMax is doubling-down on digital and building contactless solutions…[their] approach inspires me – they’ve taken the traditionally long process of buying a car and reimagined it entirely.”

Bret Taylor, President and COO, Salesforce

CarMax is doubling-down on digital and building contactless solutions. They launched CarMax Curbside for contactless curbside pickup at all stores nationally. They also made online car buying available nationwide and made home delivery an option available to most customers. Imagine, you can do contactless test drives or even buy a car without ever visiting a store.

CarMax’s approach inspires me – they’ve taken the traditionally long process of buying a car and reimagined it entirely. Shamim Mohammed, Chief Information & Technology Officer of CarMax, described to me how ultimately, car-buying all comes down to relationships and valuing the customer’s time. He said, “We put our customers in the driver’s seat so they can interact and transact with us however they want.” This customer-first thinking guides their entire approach.

Another customer embracing digital is Ferguson, the largest U.S. plumbing supplies distributor. I actually have a soft spot for plumbing. My dad owned an HVAC company. Growing up, I spent a lot of time at job sites taking measurements and learning about pipe fittings.

Ferguson sells to both large construction companies and to sole proprietors, the plumbers that come to your home to unclog a sink drain. They also have a big direct-to-consumer business.

I was talking recently to Michael Sajor, Global CIO and SVP, at Ferguson and was struck by his incredibly thoughtful vision around digital. He talked about the experience that a lot of plumbers have with their brand. A plumber will show up to their sales rep with a supply list written on a 2×4 and walk out with supplies. There’s not really even a transaction, because these relationships between the plumbers and sales reps have been going on for thirty years. They’ll figure out the technicalities later. Ultimately, these genuine, personal relationships are the foundation of their business. Ferguson’s vision is to capture the human element of that transaction, digitally. Or as Michael said, “I don’t want to be the best in digital. I want to digitize what makes us great. I don’t want to lose that personal connection we have with our customers.”

Ultimately, these genuine, personal relationships are the foundation of their business. Ferguson’s vision is to capture the human element of that transaction, digitally.”

Bret Taylor, President and Chief Operating Officer, Salesforce

Trailblazers like Shamim and Michael inspire me. They’re using 2020 as an opportunity to transform, rather than just a series of crises to respond to

We know the future is an all-digital, work from anywhere world. We know we can do it, because we just did. In the face of extreme adversity.

Now it’s time for us to see what we can do next, together.

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