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Salesforce Fiasco – Pride before a salesfall

September 23, 2019

Along with many of their customers worldwide, I have been having some trouble with Salesforce recently.

My issue began prior to the worldwide outage last Friday. It was a familiar case of arrogance from a Goliath-like supplier toward a small, though loyal customer.

To cut a long story short we were approaching our annual renewal and assessing the value of the £800 plus per-user fee. Discussions in the months leading up to renewal confirmed that there was no negotiation or more economic alternative.

A week ahead of renewal we noticed that a small business package was advertised at just $20 per month!

This is where the fun or should we say misery started. We told our account manager we’d like to switch and received a series of what can best be described as obstructive messages back, effectively saying we’d have to leave the service altogether and then rejoin, risking data loss in the process. All this took several days, causing significant interruptions to our day to day operations.

Then a week later the service fell over, not for the first time. A similar incident occurred in May.

There seems to be a pattern here, that market leaders would do well to observe. Tesco had to throw its weight around somewhat more gently following the horse meat and false accounting scandals, Volkswagen’s once solid resale values reversed when they thought they were big enough to fool the regulators and Uber has had to reinvent itself following its founders forced exit.

Leaders, investors and even customers of dominant brands would be wise to adopt a ‘not if but when’ attitude toward the risk of scandal resulting from arrogant behaviour.

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