Innovating For the Internet of Customers

Every fall San Francisco seems to get a little “cloudy.” And I’m not just talking about your usual Bay Area fog. When rolls out the blue carpet, you know that the Bay Area is getting ready for the always-anticipated Dreamforce, the world’s largest cloud computing conference. This year’s conference has drawn over 120,000 attendees from more than 65 countries and the buzz of what’s to come over the next four days was enough for any techie to think Christmas came early.

At Dreamforce 2012, CEO Marc Benioff  talked a lot about his company’s transition to a “social enterprise.” This year the company is touting the concept of a “customer company” and signage around the event welcomes attendees to “the Internet of Customers.” The notion of being a customer focused company is nothing new, but the concept certainly has bigger implications thanks to the advent of the social customer and the volume of connected devices that have infiltrated society.

This year, Benioff joined Dropbox CEO Drew Houston for a conversation entitled, “Disruptive Innovation.” As an intro to the session, a few employees discussed innovation and challenged companies to not just assist their customers in learning how to use technology to their advantage, but really think about the problem the customer is trying to solve with the technology. They even went so far as to say that 90 percent of a company’s time should be spent thinking about the problem or question they are pondering and only 10 percent about the solution.

Benioff drew from this to ask Houston about his first meeting with the late great Steve Jobs. The CEOs agreed that Jobs hit the nail on the head when he said focus groups aren’t what you want because people don’t know what they want until they see it. You don’t ask the customer what they want, you watch them and use your own understanding to figure out what they need and evaluate. That is where innovative ideas come from.

We embrace this innovation concept here at LiveOps, as we have developed our products by focusing on the customer interaction problem first. When we say our technology was built with both the agent and customer in mind it is based on the problems that we’ve seen both parties facing. That’s how we identified the customer service pain points stemming from multiple channels and developed LiveOps Engage®, an integrated, multichannel agent desktop. With Engage we have empowered agents, easing their struggles and enabling companies to create their own fleet of “Super Agents.”

During the conversation, Houston talked about his obsession with Pearl Jam and used music as an analogy to technology and innovation. Houston cited the veteran rock band’s originality and authenticity, noting that he likes them because they “didn’t sell out.”

“Like musicians, great innovators are in it for the right reason. They know the next idea will come, like a new song,” stated Benioff. “In the spirit of technology there is this unfolding. It’s actually one of the best things about the tech industry. To achieve success, companies must have faith & belief in this continuum and remain authentic.”

One things is for certain: With innovative technology, will come new challenges for brands when it comes to delivering a superior customer experience. We at LiveOps say bring it on.

Stay tuned for more from Dreamforce….

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