A constant platform for constant change
It's creative, it's competitive and its always evolving. Fourth's aim is to help companies in the hospitality sector safeguard profitability with its cloud-based cost management solutions.
Fourth has seen significant change itself over the last decade. "We've experienced rapid growth, including four acquisitions, six new office openings and two changes of ownership," explains Simon Bocca, Chief Operating Officer at Fourth. "Salesforce has been a constant throughout these changes, keeping the business on track and helping us track and manage year-on-year growth."
Today, Salesforce provides a 360-degree view of Fourth's 1,100 customers and its business. For example, the solution helps to track 5,000 support queries every month, automatically creates 2,000 invoices a month and captures performance metrics that drive smarter decision-making.
"Salesforce is the engine driving our business forward," confirms Bocca. "It simplifies acquisitions, underpins the sales activities and helps us provide customers with the highest possible service levels."
A first for Fourth
It all started more than ten years ago, when Fourth became an early UK-based adopter of Salesforce to manage customer accounts, sales opportunities and support cases.
Fourth has continued to take early advantage of new features and functionality, including Salesforce App Cloud and Salesforce Communities.
"Our strategy is based on the premise that disparate systems and spreadsheets are not good for the business," explains Bocca. "With Salesforce we've been able to create a centralised platform for our core business processes."
All 350 of Fourth's employees from relationship managers and customer support personnel to developers and accounting staff use the solution many on a daily basis. "We have very few admin staff at Fourth, as we've automated so many processes with Salesforce," adds Bocca.
This automation starts with the sales cycle. "Leads are automatically allocated to members of the sales team, who use Sales Cloud to track every email and meeting for every prospective customer," says Bocca.
When a contract is signed, Sales Cloud initiates various workflows, such as creating an invoice, sending a welcome pack and assigning a project manager for each new customer account.
Automation and integration helps Fourth drive greater customer loyalty
The customer relationship continues to be managed via Salesforce throughout the lifetime of the contract, with all support tickets being tracked and resolved via Service Cloud.
"We also use Service Cloud to log customers ideas and requests for functionality to be incorporated in future releases of our solution," adds Bocca.
Fourth tracks whether it is continuing to meet customer needs and expectations by managing its Net Promoter Scores and satisfaction surveys within Salesforce.
"We have a dedicated team that records quotes and testimonials from customers in Sales Cloud for use on our website and in marketing materials," explains Bocca.
Salesforce is also used to manage marketing events, with tools from the AppExchange simplifying the invitation process for customer conferences and breakfast seminars.
Keeping the wheels turning
Customer loyalty is just one of many KPIs captured in the solution. Using the Salesforce1 Platform and Sales Cloud, Fourth has created a customised dashboard based on the companys 'Fourth Wheel' model.
Segmented into sales, technology, finance and operations, the Fourth Wheel provides an at-a-glance view of business performance based on KPIs, such as revenue, expenditure, customer satisfaction scores and development activities.
As well as being accessible from mobile devices, the Fourth Wheel is displayed on large format screens around Fourth's offices so everyone has visibility of business performance. "We focus our attention on red items and how to turn them green," comments Bocca. "The Salesforce dashboard provides the metrics that fuel conversations, innovations and business decisions."
Thanks to direct integration between Salesforce and its accounting systems, the Fourth team has the same visibility and control of key financial processes from invoicing, credit management and commission management.
"We don't want finance to operate in a silo," comments Bocca. "At Fourth, people can view the finance information that matters to them. For example relationship managers can check if their customer has an overdue payment pending from their mobile device on the way to a meeting."
Uniting customers and colleagues
Salesforce Chatter is also key to information-sharing at Fourth. Everyone in the company has access to the enterprise social networking tool, which is used to announce new starters, distribute documents, organise office nights and reinforce the companys values.
As Bocca explains: "We have a value-based culture founded on simplicity, quality, honesty and fun. We hashtag these on Chatter to keep us focused and highlight when an employee demonstrates exemplary commitment to these values."
Impressed with how greater collaboration has benefited its own business, Fourth has embarked on a major initiative that will touch more than 300,000 end users at 1,100-plus hospitality companies.
Using Salesforce Communities, the company plans to establish a number of private and public communities that will bring Fourth closer to its customers and its customers closer to their employees. For example, waiters and kitchen staff will be able to view rotas, swap shifts and book holiday much more easily.
"A community-based approach will revolutionise how hospitality firms communicate with their staff and us," comments Bocca. "With a more connected workforce, they will be able to provide a more connected service to their clientele."
The new collaboration features, which will be available towards the end of 2015, will also make it easier for Fourth to provide support to its growing customer user base. For example, service level agreement documentation, knowledge articles and a QA function will be hosted on Salesforce Communities, but still accessed directly from Fourths own solution via single sign-on.