Lately, we’ve received many questions about whether customer relationship management (CRM) vendors, specifically Salesforce, can do the same things that customer feedback management (CFM) platforms and voice-of-the-customer (VoC) specialists can do. The short answer is no. They can, however, complete some of the actions.

When Salesforce acquired Tableau back in June, the acquisition wasn’t a big surprise since so many technology vendors are hopping on the customer experience (CX) bandwagon. This is evidenced by SAP’s acquisition of Qualtrics and Cisco’s acquisition of CFM vendor CloudCherry.

In addition to these acquisitions, the VoC market has continued to see a consolidation of vendors over the last few years — for example, SurveyMonkey acquired both Usabilla and GetFeedback in 2019, and Qualtrics acquired Delighted in 2018 (only to be later acquired by SAP). Now, for many buyers, CRM and VoC vendors have begun to sound the same — even when their offerings are miles apart. This confusion is making it difficult for buyers to find differentiation and identify the right vendor to achieve their objectives.

CX buyers who are looking for a technology to support enterprise VoC programs traditionally are looking at these technologies:

  • CFM platforms.
  • VoC specialists.
  • Unified analytics tools/aggregators.
  • Insights and engagement communities.

CX buyers expect these tools to integrate with their CRM because insights pulled from CRM (and other systems) help companies deliver better customer and employee experiences. This is the reason why SAP purchased Qualtrics and is taking some of the actions it is today, as well as why Verint purchased ForeSee, OpinionLab, and others that can integrate into its broader customer engagement solution.

Salesforce, however, is a different case. Tableau is a business insights solution. It is not a VoC solution and should not be confused as one. It is used to access, combine, and cleanse data from different sources — which often include VoC technologies. It allows users to visualize and explore data to uncover hidden insights, spot trends, identify opportunities, and drive thoughtful decisions.