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CEO Daily: Wednesday, June 3

Are we reaching the limits of virtual?

 

 

We had two interesting conversations yesterday with business leaders touting the benefits of “integrated” business models, that combine both online and in-person customer relationships. John Shrewsberry, CFO of Wells Fargo, talked to us about how virtual transactions are booming at his bank, but the number of branches – and traffic in those branches –is not declining. “We are absolutely convinced,” he said, “that you need a visible presence” to succeed. Moreover, he echoed a line we heard last week from Target CEO Brian Cornell: “Our best customers are the ones who use both” the virtual and the storefront channels.

 

 

Separately, Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian was in, and told us the biggest transformation he’s engineering at Hyatt hotels is not about technology, but rather about satisfying the customers’ desire for more authentic human interaction. He’s retraining Hyatt employees, who’ve always excelled at “rules based” service, to “get their head” out of the computer and show “empathy.”

 

 

The business world understandably quakes with fear these days that the big four technology giants — Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple — will use their wizardry to dominate commercial interactions and own the “customer relationship.” But it seems the customer wants at least some of those relationships to remain real.

 

Enjoy the day. And speaking of Facebook, be sure to read Erin Griffith’s piece about their forceful foray into video, which will appear in the Fortune 500 issue of the magazine, out this week.

 

 

 

 

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

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