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Salesforce.com: The customer revolution is here

Salesforce.com Communities launch will help businesses get closer to their customers, company claims.

We're entering a new era where the customer remains King and only firms that truly tap into their wants and needs will survive. 

So claims Salesforce.com, which used its Cloudforce event in London yesterday to talk about the start of the customer revolution and the fact that companies must undergo radical change in order to keep pace.

"It's a new [era] where we can create a richer, deeper, more authentic relationship with our customers,"George Hu, the company's chief operating officer, told the conference attendees. 

"We all care about our customers, but something is missing," he adding, using the opportunity to officially launch Salesforce Communities, the company's solution to the customer-focus challenges ahead. 

"The customer revolution is about an engaged customer, a connected customer, a customer that is not alone, that is part of a community," Hu said. 

This revolution is not just about technologies, but also about trust. Only companies that can build the currency of trust are going to be successful.

Salesforce Communities is heavily entwined with enterprise social network Chatter and will enable businesses to make use of data and processes to create viable and valuable social communities for their customers and partners, according to the company. It also boldly stated the solution's arrival "marked the end of the legacy portal software era."

"We're just beginning on this journey. There is much more to come," Hu teased. 

Companies must change their mindsets around five key areas to be successful in this customer-centric age, Hu advised. 

1) The ways in which they market products and services to customers;

2) The ways in which they sell products and services to customers;

3) The ways in which they service customers' needs;

4) How they can innovate quickly on a single customer platform;

5) How they can transform the way in which they, as companies, work with a major focus on employee transformation. 

The need to morph into a customer-focused company applies regardless of business size, sector of geography, according to Hu. 

"The heart of all of this happening is thanks to the power of the cloud. This revolution is not just about technologies, but also about trust. Only companies that can build the currency of trust are going to be successful," Hu said. 

"We think that when you add all of this together, it is a fundamental change. Our world needs growth and these technologies and the customer revolution are all about growth."

Salesforce Communities pricing will start at $500 per month when it becomes available this Summer. 

"Over time, communities will evolve with processes associated to the community becoming embedded in core business workflow processes," said Vanessa Thompson, research manager of enterprise collaboration and social solutions at analyst firm IDC. 

"Salesforce Communities is able to build on the strong base of Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud to extend specific workflow and enable an ongoing conversation with customers, partners and suppliers."

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