Unilever and Marriott put customers at the centre of business

Doing good is now just a part of doing business says the two brand during Salesforce Dreamforce

Doing good is just part of doing business today for Unilever and Marriott, which featured in the Dreamforce keynote as examples of putting customers at the centre of business. 

The companies, both of which use Salesforce to connect with customers, said doing good is now just a part of doing business. For global chief commercial officer of Marriott, Stephanie Linnartz, taking care of the associate, means the associate takes care of the customer, and they come back again.

“Technology will never replace the human touch in hospitality. But a warm smile, coupled with technology, is a double win. All along the customer journey we were able to enhance the journey, using technology,” Linnartz said.

Marriott is the world’s largest hospitality company and is still growing, opening a hotel every 14 hours. The group uses Salesforce to do everything from live chat with customers, to ensuring customer preferences are updated globally, creating digital keys, enabling voice in hotel rooms, and offering recommendations and bookings for upcoming stays. 

“The more people travel, the more it break down barriers that keep people apart,” Linnartz said. “We have been going through a lot of change for personalisation. We are using Salesforce to anticipating guests’ needs and deliver personalised experiences to them. 

“The challenges are big right now, and start at acquisition. We have millions of customer interactions every day. We believe the human experience will always be the heart of hospitality, but technology can certainly enhance it."

In addition, Marriott has rolled out Service Cloud to 6700 hotels to manage all customer engagement and contact centres. Linnartz said it's now able to load customer information and preferences all around the world. 

“It can be frustrating for consumers to tell us the same preferences again and again. They should only have to tell us once, and now they can," he said. "We’ve also deployed Apple Business chat on the Salesforce platform so our associates around the world can communicate with guests via the mobile application in real time.” 

Similarly, Unilever global CIO, Jane Moran, said empowering employees gives businesses the tools for success. “We need to give them the data they need and the technology with the agility required, while everything is changing so quickly,” she said. 

“The heart of our strategy is to build sustainable brands, and to do this we need to adapt very quickly.  We have 170,000 employees in 200 countries, over 400 brands, so you have to be able to scale quickly."

Moran said group also recognises its obligation to help people live better lives, and noted over 2.5 billion people use Unilever products. Seeing the need to move from a project-based way of working to a platform approach, the group has deployed Salesforce technology as a means of dispersing power to more people across the organisation, she said. 

Unilever chief digital and growth officer, Peter ter Kulve, added the aim is to decouple growth from environmental impact, and improve social impact. “If you can marry your values and beliefs to that of the organisation your work for, you will be more successful and happier. Everyone wins,” he said. 

“Regardless of the brand, Unilever aims to delivery personalised, relevant experience to every customer.” 

Using Mulesoft and Salesforce, Unilever has taken 50 different systems and brought them together to serve insights to 92,000 employees globally. 

“Every part of our value chain gets disrupted through new technology. So we went back to the basics and undertook a wholesale redesign the business," he said. 

“We want to make sustainable living common place. What do we have as a company? Trust. What is the opportunity this new technology offers us? The ability to truly connect with our people and customers. 

“We previously did mass marketing, but that is talking at people. True friendships, true relationships, come when customers can talk back.”

Vanessa Mitchell travelled to Dreamforce as a guest of Salesforce.

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