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How customer data can help fuel innovation in the automotive industry

John Kelleher Profile picture for user jkelleher June 18, 2020
Driving data use for the automotive industry in the 4IR is essential, says Salesforce's John Kelleher.

(Pixabay )

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the lines between physical and digital worlds are becoming increasingly blurred, transforming the ways we live and how all industries operate. Added to this is the context of the current Coronavirus pandemic, forcing an urgency to innovate not just for the good of businesses, but also the wellbeing of customers and communities.

The innovative technologies such as cloud, mobile, cognitive analytics, and the Internet of Things which are driving this change are also empowering customers who increasingly seek unique and value-added experiences. Huge amounts of data from products, services, manufacturing, and customers further adds to this complexity, requiring a certain amount of agility from businesses to respond and satisfy changing consumer needs. 

Over recent years, we’ve already seen much of the automotive industry re-imagined - specifically in the shifting relationship between consumers and cars, and how the intelligence gained through data is transforming the customer experience. Consumers today, connected across multiple channels, have come to expect personalised, effortless, and portable experiences as the norm. And during, and after this pandemic, these expectations are only going to rise; if automakers are to stay ahead of the competition, they’ll adapt fast. 

The importance of ecosystems 

The digital revolution has shifted us from traditional sales to a new era of mobility services. The number of connected vehicles on roads continues to rise as automotive manufacturers commit to embedding cellular technology in future production vehicles. Indeed, by 2021,  International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that 20% of major cities will have put in place implementations to support automated vehicles.

The development of mobility ecosystems are key to the delivery of new services, as are automotive ecosystems to enabling integrated and convenient cross-channel experiences for customers. This is why we’re seeing new options for urban mobility - including ride-sharing, car-sharing, and micro-mobility services - exploding across the globe. The huge amount of data that has become available is fuelling this innovation, helping create new businesses and, ultimately, improving the customer experience. It’s also presenting new opportunities for the automotive industry to engage with customers. 

The importance of customer experience 

Customer demand for unique experiences and the need to innovate products at a faster pace requires constant connectivity, analytics, and improvement. A major part of delivering a customer first approach comes from understanding the profile of each customer. This is made possible by looking at the data available on each customer at each touch-point along their journey - from sales to service. 

Luxury car manufacturers for example, recognise that customers expect a personalised experience that singles them out as individuals, and wants to embrace new ways of connecting with its customers. Using Salesforce, industry leaders can create dynamic and unique content for both customers and prospects

Having a 360-degree view of your customer has the potential to transform future product design, the car buying experience, aftermarket service interactions, as well as the offer and delivery of additional services. The opportunities this presents to companies and customer are huge - from developing profile-driven customer experiences to enabling Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) in smart cities.

As the technologies of the 4IR continue to transform the automotive industry, increasingly leaders are recognising that it takes an ecosystem of suppliers, dealers, fleet operators, and customers themselves to deliver the best customer experience possible. Where huge amounts of data used to overwhelm businesses, today they’re using it to their advantage, getting to know their customer better, and keeping ahead of the competition.

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