Unlock Efficiencies for a More Engaging Automotive Customer Experience

How Salesforce is helping OEMs increase productivity and lifetime value while reducing costs.

People love cars. We see them as a right of passage, an identity, and a marker of the milestones that occur throughout our lives. However, there is one thing about cars that people don’t like – buying them. In fact, 99% of buyers are dissatisfied with the current buying experience.

The current buying experience is clunky, opaque, and disjointed, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Companies that work to improve the automotive customer experience create opportunities to connect, establish long-term loyalty, and drive efficient growth.

Today’s consumers expect great customer service, intuitive online tools, and personalized attention. They expect their car companies to know them and understand their needs from the moment they begin researching until their decision to purchase. And, these expectations go beyond the purchase to the additional services and repairs needed throughout the life of the vehicle.

People want the ability to interact consistently across channels. Dealerships may rank as the number one resource in purchasing, but over 80% of people use online sources to research before making buying decisions. This makes a seamless experience paramount. Your ability to connect online, in-person, and partner-to-partner touchpoints across the automotive ecosystem improves not only your customer experience, but also boosts your bottom line by shortening time to value, fast-tracking sales, and creating a more efficient business operation.

Why is the current automotive journey so disjointed and inefficient? Siloed data, disparate systems, and an inability to view all the information in one place make it difficult, if not impossible, for automotive companies to provide experiences that increase sales and inspire loyalty. Unifying data enables companies to surmount this challenge. Ensuring that data is accessible and easy to use (both for your organization and your partners) creates a transparent, fully-connected, omni-channel automotive customer experience.


Learn how to streamline automotive experiences and reduce costs with Automotive Cloud.

Unify customer, vehicle, and financial data to improve the automotive customer experience.

Today, the majority (58%) of automotive companies admit not all their data is accurate or updated in real time. This makes it difficult to anticipate customer needs, proactively solve problems, and maximize operational efficiency. Making data accessible across your organization and to your partners allows you to increase sales, provide better service, and capitalize on every opportunity.

When you centralize, standardize, and unlock data, it becomes possible to use customer information and behaviors to create personalized marketing journeys that enhance the customer experience. A customer who searches extensively for SUVs on your website might later receive an email all about your various SUV offerings. You can also use customer information and behaviors to create distinct customer segments to target with more specific and personally relevant messages. For example, a young, urban woman with a demonstrated interest in electric vehicles (EVs) might get a set of emails highlighting compact cars with hybrid capabilities, whereas an older, suburban woman with children might get a different set extolling the benefits of minivans or highlighting safety features. We know that 73% of customers expect personalized experiences from automotive companies. This allows you to deliver on those expectations. And, because these efforts are more targeted, they’re more likely to increase sales.

Easily accessible data also increases productivity across your customer service and call center operations. Service agents can tap into information garnered from any past interactions, negating the need for consumers to retell their whole story, and making service calls faster and more productive. Having all the data in one place also eliminates the need to toggle between screens, which minimizes mistakes and reduces the time spent on manual efforts.

Uniting multiple departments and partner organizations can be challenging, but Salesforce’s Automotive Cloud can help solve these common pain points.

Automotive Cloud also helps you streamline operations. It makes it easy to track vehicles being manufactured or delivered, to keep tabs on open service cases, and to ensure customers are notified of expiring warranties. It guides employees with easy-to-follow processes that create a more consistent customer experience. Tying customer, vehicle, and financial information together makes it easier for employees to visualize, analyze, and act upon it. This leads to more supported employees and a more efficient operation.

Ensuring that everyone across your ecosystem has access to and can benefit from shared information creates a culture of data-driven decision making. This will drive sales and increase revenue by making it possible for you to:

View customers in context.

Data such as what vehicles a customer owns, the vehicles other household members own, any vehicles driven on a business account, service appointments, and financing details will all be accessible on one screen. This view enables you to personalize outreach and drive smarter engagement. For example, your dealers could be aware of life events that might require a new vehicle. This would allow you to work with them to create targeted marketing campaigns advertising “new car” deals when a customer's child gets a license, a household member gets a new job, or a new baby is born.

See every interaction a driver has with your brand over time.

Use rules-based alerts to highlight key milestones like warranty updates and service appointments. Customers would automatically get reminders of upcoming maintenance appointments or notifications of a warranty expiration. This type of engagement feels proactive, personal, and relevant which goes a long way toward enhancing the customer experience and establishing long-term loyalty.

This type of automation also allows OEMs and dealers to work together to ensure everything is tracked and managed well. It also allows them to collaborate on how they might use this information to upsell, surface new products, or proactively build more meaningful customer relationships.

Understand the buying patterns across regions. You can see if customers in a certain region are more likely to purchase a specific car part, or type of car, so that you can be sure your retailers in that area are well-stocked and able to fulfill customer needs efficiently.

Alert drivers of recalls.

Use a single, integrated view to proactively manage the health of your in-market vehicles, and ensure that customers are informed and kept safe with notifications in the case of a recall. And, because the system can unite both vehicle and customer data, you are able to alert the right drivers even in the case where the current owner of the vehicle is not the original owner.

Obtain feedback about car performance.

Access data from the vehicle. Salesforce’s partnership with major industry players is helping to not only drive more value from connected car data, but also power exciting new in-car experiences. Salesforce Genie Customer Data Cloud, enables automakers to deliver these immersive in-car experiences in real time. For example, a consumer might receive a maintenance alert through their car’s infotainment system warning that their tires are wearing down. They can then use that same infotainment system to find and schedule a service appointment at their preferred local dealership, and even order and pay for new tires – all without leaving the car.

Automakers can also use these tools to help increase sales by targeting the right customers at the right time. For example, they can drive adoption of their software subscription services by automating an offer for a trial of their new park assist feature — right before the customer attempts to park. This ability to deliver real-time, immersive in-car experiences allows automakers to orchestrate across marketing, sales, commerce, and service at scale.

Create efficiencies that improve collaboration.

Manual processes are killing productivity. Sales reps must spend time filling out paperwork, customers need to call with questions instead of getting easy answers on your website, and you need to hunt down information across individuals and departments.

The lack of automated processes or a central data location makes it hard for internal departments and partner organizations to easily collaborate or share information. It also makes it difficult to provide customer portals, tailored marketing journeys, and proactive communications. This hurts both the bottom line and the customer experience.

Things like portals, easy self-help capabilities, and the ability to tap into the customer journey anywhere, at any time rely on automated workflows. These types of streamlined workflows enable teams to more easily work together. Step-by-step, standardized processes increase efficiency and productivity which reduces costs. Guided workflows standardize operations and make it easier to manage things like leads, dealer performance, and end-to-end document needs.

Efficient, transparent, and consistent processes also make it easier to create one connected customer journey, no matter how many partners are involved. This enables the development of joint action plans that maximize partner performance. For example, marketing teams can use data garnered from partner organizations to further segment customers to create uniquely relevant marketing journeys. Sales reps at the dealership can see what vehicles a buyer has previously owned and speak to the servicer about issues the customer may have had. And, because all this information is stored in the central system, a customer's journey is easily accessible and already known before they even enter the dealership. This relationship-building between sales and service creates a more cohesive partner ecosystem with the ability to consistently market, sell, and provide enhanced customer service.

Enable a standards-based data foundation across partner organizations.

Automotive Cloud follows set data standards used globally across the automotive industry. Because our solution adapts to industry best practices and uses standard definitions (like the definition of a vehicle, best practices around lead sharing, etc.), collaboration across the ecosystem is easier.

Serve B2B customers with fleet management.

B2B customers need proactive management that includes dedicated service center reps who know and understand the nuances of their needs, as well as a way for their drivers to communicate with automotive manufacturers, despite the fact they are not the owners of the vehicle.

Painting a comprehensive picture of each fleet allows you to not only provide great service, but also maintain proper oversight. B2B-specific customer portals, step-by-step on-screen workflows, and service center call scripts help fleet managers to effectively:

  • Create, manage, track, and analyze fleet agreements
  • Forecast revenue and vehicle volume more efficiently
  • Manage fleet health
  • Be proactive about maintenance
  • Ensure customer satisfaction

Increase productivity and reduce costs with automotive-specific automation.

The auto industry is changing fast. This means your employees need flexible tools to work with. It is unrealistic to assume that manufacturers can undertake a large-scale, expensive IT project every time new innovation occurs. Automotive Cloud allows automakers to remain competitive and flexible with new innovation delivered three times per year.

At present, the customer experience is largely dependent on the actions of individual employees. Automation changes this. It takes the onus off employees and provides a more consistent customer experience. Built-in, step-by-step guides minimize manual effort and ensure all necessary information is captured early. These automated progressions also catch issues that might cause problems in the future. For example, if a customer is in the process of buying a car that is no longer available on the lot, the system would flag it so that the dealer could proactively address the issue. Or, if a manufacturer received maintenance or usage data about a specific car part or accessory, they could easily alert the service provider (or dealer) to contact the customer to bring the vehicle in for maintenance. This not only minimizes risk, but also saves time, energy, and resources for both the customer and the employee.

Power faster sales cycles with AI.

Automotive Cloud's data processing capabilities enable valuable in-the-moment decision making which allows auto manufacturers to proactively deliver a great customer experience. Artificial intelligence (AI) gives you insight into each touchpoint across the individual customer journey, as well as larger-scale insight into things like broad regional patterns specific to certain vehicles. For example, gain insight into the purchase decisions and habits of an individual household or which B2B accounts require most assistance. Or, go broader and track metrics across specific vehicle models, dealerships, or regions in order to refine business processes or marketing efforts.

The AI combs through all the customer data and provides "next best actions" tailored to each customer. It can track online behaviors that indicate someone may be in the market for a new car, and offer personalized messages they are more likely to respond to. This type of interaction speeds up the sales cycle, creates opportunities for you to surface other vehicles or add-on services the customer may be interested in, and maximizes the value of their purchase.

Build a foundation for success – now and in the future.

Automotive Cloud is unique in its ability to unite data, automate processes, and enable deep collaboration across the automotive ecosystem. It enables OEMs and their partners to work together to better serve customers in a way that's modern, flexible, and cost effective.

The end result? Happier customers, more productive employees, and increased revenues. Automotive Cloud makes it possible for companies to deliver the best customer experience, shorten time to value, and increase customer loyalty, at scale. Whether at the beginning of the relationship or a bonafide loyal customer, Automotive Cloud ensures that each customer journey is personal, relevant, and consistent – every step of the way.


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