To keep up with increased customer demands, companies will need to adopt a range of new technologies, from robotic process automation and artificial intelligence to customer data platforms. Here are 10 leaders using the latest technologies to define the future of customer experience.
Clara Shih <span>Salesforce</span>
CEO of Service Cloud, Salesforce
Shih’s career at Salesforce began with AppExchange, which she helped scale before creating an application called Faceforce — a portmanteau of Facebook and Salesforce — that was one of the first social business applications. Shih then wrote the bestseller “The Facebook Era” and helped pioneer the category of social selling with her startup Hearsay. Now back at Salesforce, Shih is using her experience to lead one of the largest SaaS businesses in the world.
Mohammed Attar <span>Front</span>
Chief product officer, Front
Email has been a staple in customer communications for decades, but the platform hasn’t seen much innovation during that time. Front is trying to change that, adding workflow, automation and integration tools that surface customer conversations from text, social media and other channels, all in the familiar email interface. Attar led product and engineering for email marketing startup SendGrid, which was acquired by Twilio in 2018 for $2 billion, before joining Front to continue transforming email.
Brad Anderson <span>Qualtrics</span>
President of products and engineering, Qualtrics
Qualtrics was an early pioneer in the discipline of experience management, which treats customer, product, employee and digital experiences like a science. The company uses a variety of statistical methods to capture and measure qualitative data on every digital interaction a company has with its customers. Anderson is a longtime Microsoft vet who built the management and security functions of Microsoft 365 before joining Qualtrics to lead its product strategy.
Adrian McDermott <span>Zendesk</span>
Founded in 2007, Zendesk was an early player in bringing IT help desks to the cloud. Today the company offers an array of products across customer service and sales. McDermott joined the company a few years after its founding and is now focused on bringing new technologies such as AI, chatbots and natural-language processing into customer interactions.
Simonetta Turek <span>Twilio</span>
GM of customer experience products, Twilio
Twilio burst onto the scene in 2008 as a company building developer-friendly APIs to host phone calls in the cloud. It would go on to add text messaging, video, email and other forms of communication. Turek joined Twilio after working in support at both AWS and Genesys. Now as general manager, Turek oversees the company’s customer experience products, including its programmable contact center unit Flex.
Jaleh Rezaei <span>Blend</span>
Co-founder and CEO, Mutiny
Personalization is a hot new buzzword in the CX space, and Mutiny’s no-code AI platform is answering the call. The Y Combinator startup lets marketers personalize their websites for each unique customer based on customer data. Rezaei, an engineer-turned-marketer, worked at VMware and helped scale marketing startup Gusto before co-founding Mutiny. Today, the startup counts companies like Twilio, Qualtrics, Notion and ClickUp as clients.
Amit Bendov <span>Gong</span>
Co-founder and CEO, Gong
Gong has seen explosive growth over the past several years thanks to its revenue intelligence functions, which infuse AI into the sales process for better customer interactions. Bendov, who has worked in sales for most of his career, started Gong when he realized sales teams didn’t fully understand their customers. Now Gong is valued at over $7 billion and has expanded to include products for customer success and marketing teams.
Umesh Sachdev <span>Uniphore</span>
Co-founder and CEO, Uniphore
Conversational intelligence and emotion AI have been getting a fair amount of flak recently, but the concepts aren’t new. Sachdev has been evangelizing the two technologies since 2008, when he started Uniphore to bring those technologies into the contact center. Today Uniphore is valued at over $2 billion and offers AI, analytics and RPA software for contact centers and sales teams.
Sameer Patel <span>SAP CX</span>
Chief marketing and solutions officer, SAP CX
Patel spent years growing SAP SuccessFactors before leading marketing for the company’s customer data platform, marketing, sales, service and commerce products. Now Patel is focused on improving customer experiences across both physical and digital spaces, using ERP records paired with qualitative data to measure customer satisfaction in new ways.
John Ball <span>ServiceNow</span>
Senior vice president of customer workflows, ServiceNow
AI is all the rage in enterprise software, and the same is true when it comes to CX. Ball led the engineering team that built Einstein at Salesforce, the CRM player’s intelligence layer. At ServiceNow, Ball is focused on using automation and AI to improve the customer service agent experience.
Correction: This story was updated on Sept. 23, 2022 to clarify Sameer Patel's role.
Aisha Counts (@aishacounts) is a reporter at Protocol covering enterprise software. Formerly, she was a management consultant for EY. She's based in Los Angeles and can be reached at email@example.com.