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Managing the demands of employees and customers

June 30, 2021, 9:59 AM UTC

Good morning.

The pandemic has made both employees and customers more demanding, and the successful companies will be those who can manage the rising demands. That’s the lesson I took away from a virtual discussion yesterday with a dozen CEOs from different industries, sponsored by Salesforce. Some excerpts:

“If you don’t have employees who are engaged and connected, as you all I’m sure know better than I do, there’s no chance you’ll have customers who are happy with the interaction.”
—Alan Colberg, CEO, Assurant

“The fastest way to get customers to love your brand is to get employees to love their job. Full stop.”
—Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce

“When you have your employees loving your brands, it’s easier to get consumers to love your brand.”
—Ravi Saligram, CEO, Newell Brands

“What I found remarkable during the pandemic is that our employees found a sense of purpose. And once they found a sense of purpose, there was incredible creativity at the front linevery, very locallyto do things that we never imagined that we would do… An example was going to somebody’s home delivering groceries every week because she was 95 years old and couldn’t use the Internet and couldn’t get to a store.”
—Vivek Sankaran, CEO, Albertsons

“Employees, customers, everybody through this pandemic has learned that we want to do what is right. Just connecting that together, seeing that come through was, I would say, the most important experience that we all felt.”
—Revathi Advaithi, CEO, Flex

“What’s really exciting now is that the pandemic and all that we went through over the last 16 months is truly a catalyst towards change. We are seeing massive movements towards not only digitization and different customer interactions but a repurposing of what it is that we should be doing. Instead of just being here to pay for losses when bad things happen to people and businesses, we are working hard to mitigate losses and to use data and technology and all the tools that are becoming available to us to prevent losses.”
—Jack Roche, CEO, Hanover Insurance Group

“One of those trends [that has accelerated] is customer control. Customers want what they want when they want it.”
—Erik Nordstrom, CEO, Nordstrom

“Among our teams, vendors, partners and the communities in general, there is a real concern about social and environment issues. I don’t think people would have predicted that there was going to be an acceleration in this area as a result of the pandemic, but there certainly has been.”
—Sebastian Picardo, CEO, Holt Renfrew

“More guitarists at every level and across every genre of music have been created or inspired to play again in the last 12 months than in the prior 12 years combined.”
—JC Curleigh, CEO, Gibson Brands

“The final word is that the greatest part of our business are the employees and the customers, and it’s all about service, service, service. And if you don’t have service, you’re nowhere today.”
—Blayne Lastman, CEO, Lastman’s Bad Boy

And if you don’t believe the above about accelerating interest in environmental issues, listen to my interview with Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good on this week’s episode of the Leadership Next podcast. “There’s a crescendo around this issue,” she said.  “We felt it coming back in 2019, even 2018, as we heard more from communities, more from investors, more from regulators. I’ve retired 52 coal-based units while being CEO, and I expect to do more.” Check it out on Apple or Spotify.

News below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

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Questions are being asked about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine's efficacy against the Delta variant of the coronavirus, due to a lack of data. J&J's vaccine is famously the one that requires only a single dose, but we now know that the two-dose vaccines are much better at warding off the effects of the Delta variant after the second dose—so will J&J recipients need a booster? NBC/AP

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This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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