In the Spotlight: Building a better user support experience

Our guest this week is Dean Robison -- the Senior Vice President for Global Services at salesforce.com. Dean is one of the leaders of the organization handling user support and we took this opportunity to ask him more about where the support experience is headed and how the ongoing changes will affect you. Don't hesitate to ask Dean any follow-up questions in the comments section of this post.

DeanBlogShotWhat is your professional background?
Prior to joining salesforce.com in 2002, I worked at Aspect Communications and Nortel Networks in various Customer Administration, Sales Operations and IT leadership positions. Prior to settling in Silicon Valley, I was an artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps. I left the Marine Corps as a Major.  

Currently, I’m the SVP of Global Services at salesforce.com. My organization is responsible for Technical Support, Escalation Management and Incident Management worldwide.  

Your organization is also internally known as CFL...what is this?
CFL is an acronym for Customers For Life.  It is an organization led by Maria Martinez, but also it is a philosophy for how we conduct ourselves in business.  We live and breathe making our customers successful.  We are responsible for the programs and processes that happen after the sale…Strategic Services, Partner Programs, Support, Renewals…all geared towards providing our customers, large and small, with a Social Enterprise experience that will create lasting business value.

What are your goals for the CFL organization this year? What would you be working on?
We are seeing that the needs of our customers are evolving beyond basic customer relationship management.  They need to quickly master that, but they are now looking at ways to accelerate the adoption of new business strategies, especially around social and mobile technologies.  They have asked us to guide them in this transition and invest the required resources, manpower and time to create individual blueprints that will solve their specific business issues.  The CFL structure for this year will enable us to better support our customers and help them achieve their business goals and objectives via a more efficient infrastructure that allows us to scale our capabilities; increase our level of expertise; and deliver outstanding service.

On February 2nd, CFL rolled out some changes in its Standard and Premier Success Plans. Can you tell us more about what were those?

 

(You can find the password reset video here.)

How will those changes affect our users?


Where is our support org headed in the long run and what can the users expect?
I’m very excited about the future of our support experience for our customers.  In the coming months you can expect to see a better portal experience including localization in numerous languages for our customers around the world.  We will be able to track entitlements with greater granularity and offer a more personalized experience for all of our customers using the portal, targeting content for how you use our service…whether you are a system administrator, developer, partner or power end user. Ultimately, we look to have one seamless, consolidated post-sale web experience where all of our vibrant communities, customer forums and support expertise blend together.  We believe this will truly give anyone who needs answers and expertise the most efficient and effective experience possible.

You are a very avid Chatter user and a fun person to follow...what is your take on Chatter?

Anything else you would like to add or share with our readers?
Please share your stories and suggestions.  This is not a one-way conversation.  If you have ideas on what we can do to improve, please let me know.  @garlicdr is my twitter handle.

What do you love about your job?
The people, both internal and external.  My colleagues are some of the smartest and funniest people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.  Our customers provide incredible motivation to do well and make them successful.  There are challanges, no doubt, but they keep me on my toes, keeps the adrenaline flowing and I’ve never been bored in 9 years.  Never.  

A lesson you have learned while at salesforce.com?
I’ve learned to be a better listener.  I’ve learned to keep my mind more open to ideas.  Spending a good part of my adult life in the military, following orders and living by very strict rules and regulations, this fast-paced environment of innovation and countless customer use cases has forced me to toss my old mindset and be much more creative.  Just when you think you have mastered something or you think you have seen it or done it all, our product team will create something incredible that you need to learn or a customer will throw a challenge at you never could have imagined.  Gone are the days of strict dogma and checklists.  Guidelines, frameworks and nimble operating models are the way today.

A fun fact about you?
Everyone in my family…me, my wife and my two boys, we are all black belts in taekwondo.  Nothing relieves stress like kicking a heavy bag for hours.  I also live on a small farm of 3 acres, complete with John Deere tractor, 2 goats, 4 chicken, 4 dogs and a large garden/fruit orchard.