As I write this, I know there are countless mysteries about the future of business that we’ve yet to unravel. That’s a process that will never end. When it comes to customer success, however, I have achieved absolute clarity on four points. First, technology will never stop evolving. In the years to come, machine learning and artificial intelligence will probably make or break your business. Success will involve using these tools to understand your customers like never before so that you can deliver more intelligent, personalized experiences. The second point is this: We’ve never had a better set of tools to help meet every possible standard of success, whether it’s finding a better way to match investment opportunities with interested clients, or making customers feel thrilled about the experience of renovating their home. The third point is that customer success depends on every stakeholder. By that I mean employees who feel engaged and responsible and are growing their careers in an environment that allows them to do their best work—and this applies to all employees, from the interns to the CEO. The same goes for partners working to design and implement customer solutions, as well as our communities, which provide the schools, hospitals, parks, and other facilities to support us all. The fourth and most important point is this: The gap between what customers really want from businesses and what’s actually possible is vanishing rapidly. And that’s going to change everything. The future isn’t about learning to be better at doing what we already do, it’s about how far we can stretch the boundaries of our imagination. The ability to produce success stories that weren’t possible a few years ago, to help customers thrive in dramatic new ways—that is going to become a driver of growth for any successful company. I believe we’re entering a new age in which customers will increasingly expect miracles from you. If you don’t value putting the customer at the center of everything you do, then you are going to fall behind. Whether you make cars, solar panels, television programs, or anything else, untold opportunities exist. Every company should invest in helping its customers find new destinations, and in blazing new trails to reach them. To do so, we have to resist the urge to make quick, marginal improvements and spend more time listening deeply to what customers really want, even if they’re not fully aware of it yet. In the end, it’s a matter of accepting that your success is inextricably linked to theirs.
Marc Benioff (Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change)