Hearing the Voice of the Customer
Day 1 of Dreamforce 2019 began as dramatically as any in recent years. Marc Benioff, the founder and co-CEO of Salesforce.com made a joke about Newsweek being his second favorite news magazine (since Marc recently bought Time Magazine from the Meredith Corporation). Suddenly he was interrupted by a shouting demonstrator.
The 260,000 square feet of the Moscone South basement were suddenly filled with confusion as Marc stopped his presentation to the thirty thousand people in the room and the hundreds of thousands more in the electronic audience to confront a man dressed in black desperately trying to get his message across.
Adding to the sense of dreamlike drama, the protester was quickly surrounded by secret-service-like bodyguards complete with ear phones. For a long moment, it seemed violence might break out. If that was not chaotic enough, the demonstrator did not have a microphone, so only a few hundred of an audience of thousands and thousands could hear what he actually was saying.
Then Marc did an improbable thing. He told the protester he believed in free speech and would give him 30 seconds to voice his concerns if he agreed to leave the venue peacefully afterward. Many in the audience were struck by the graciousness of this gesture.
Taken aback, the protestor stuck on message and the protest soon ended – as so many amateur theatrics do – in awkward uneventuality.
Speaking of Voice…
Still, it was an appropriate beginning for an event dedicated to hearing the voice of the customer. Voice is rapidly emerging as an efficient interface. Nearly half of U.S. households are already using a voice-activated device for driving directions, dictating text messages, playing music, and even turning on lights and home appliances – all without a keyboard or mouse.
Hopping on the consumer bandwagon, Salesforce is intent on helping B2B businesses bring voice’s potential to transform work. Last year at Dreamforce 2018, Salesforce introduced the Einstein Voice Assistant. This year Dreamforce is doubling down.
“Voice is a huge shift for the industry and will be as impactful in businesses as it’s been in our homes,” said Bret Taylor, Salesforce’s Chief Product Officer. “With Einstein, Salesforce is bringing the power of voice to every business.”
Throughout the product line, service and sales teams will now be able to apply natural language processing to business conversations. Some examples include:
- Einstein Voice Skills can be used to build voice-powered Salesforce apps.
- Service Cloud Voice integrates telephony into a unified agent console, enabling Einstein to offer recommendations in real-time to improve customer experiences.
- Einstein Call Coaching helps managers spot trends within conversational data and provide sales reps with the best practices and insights to improve their performance.
Voice Interoperability Initiative
In September, Salesforce joined Amazon, Apple and some other companies to announce the Voice Interoperability Initiative to make voice-enabled products work together. As a result of this initiative, Einstein Voice Assistant and Einstein Voice Skills will be compatible with a variety of devices, from smart speakers to smartphones.
Jitterbit has been developing voice applications, as well. You can ask to see demos of some of our work at the #DotOrg lodge at Westin St. Francis hotel or our Integration Concierge booth at the #Trailhead zone.
At the end of the day, when it comes to voice, you have to give Marc credit for being a man who says what he means and means what he says. That was the wrap up of Dreamforce 2019, day 1. Watch this space for more details throughout the event.