“What does it mean to be a customer company?” That’s what Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce, asked attendees in the Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria today in New York. He listed several questions companies need to ask themselves to reach that position, including “How do you listen to every customer?”, “How do you engage on every channel?”, and “How do you service customers everywhere?” 

“A customer revolution is the next logical place in our industry. It’s a trust revolution,” Benioff said, as he unveiled Service Cloud Mobile, the first “in a series of new solutions to transform customer companies for the mobile era.” Noting that Gartner estimates 1.8 billion smartphones to be in use by 2014, Salesforce feels that “Legacy call center software systems were designed for the era of landlines. Companies must become customer companies and transform their customer service to meet customers in the mobile era—wherever they are, on any device.” 

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Service Cloud Mobile is mostly available now, except for the Co-Browsing, which should launch in the second half of 2013. It comprises these new products:

  • Co-Browsing: Using technology from their acquisition of GoInstant last year, Co-Browsing lets customers share browser sessions with agents, on any device;
  • Service Cloud Communities: Mobile-optimized and branded communities lets customers find answers to their questions by“self-service”;
  • Service Cloud Mobile Chat: Chat sessions that look like SMS conversations;
  • Service Cloud Touch: Mobile versions of agent-side software that lets service agents work away from their desktop and laptop computers.

According to a press release, “The mobile revolution has created a generation of customers who expect more when engaging with companies. Today's always-connected consumer expects instant answers to questions and instant assistance when needed.” Service Cloud Mobile was designed so businesses can further their goal of being the kinds of “customer companies” Benioff aspires for them to achieve.

Mike Lazerow, CMO of Marketing Cloud and former CEO and founder of Buddy Media, talked about how Service Cloud Mobile will help social marketing efforts. Lazerow said no matter what one’s title or job description, “We are all marketers.” He continued, “Everything starts with listening, but not just listening for listening’s sake.” By building social media command centers, “Companies are able to follow real-time social dialogue and engage in customer conversation, ultimately uncovering marketing, sales, and service leads and realizing a 94% improvement in brand monitoring.” Lazerow further explained that reaching customers everywhere (in both marketing and service channels) companies were able to achieve 37% improved campaign effectiveness.

Indicating less interest in conventional metrics of page views, Lazerow said, “We’re moving from a page-based world to a people-based world.” By following a person across every touch point, companies create holistic social profiles of their customers and can retain their loyalty much easier. 

Salesforce is deployed in over 34,000 companies. Their 4th quarter earnings report will come out on Thursday, February 28.