Don’t wait years for results – see how Ford is reinventing itself fast.
Here's how Ford adopted new tech and new mindsets to create best-in-class customer experiences.
At some point in recent history, most legacy brands have had to face the friction between how they’ve done business for decades and how they know they must do business now to keep up with quickly changing customer expectations.
At the beginning of 2022, Ford CMO Suzy Deering felt the iconic auto company was at such an “absolutely critical” juncture.
It knew the time to change was yesterday, and it pulled off an impressive adoption of new technology and new mindsets. Here is just some of what Ford did in four months to create best-in-class experiences for customers and more efficient ways of working:
- Created real-time, more personalized updates for customers on the status of their order, eliminating 650 hours’ worth of “where’s my vehicle?” phone calls
- Cut the number of approvers per email or text to customers from 21 to 2, bringing greater cost efficiency to customer interactions
- Launched a new cloud platform that will enable Ford to unify all of its customer data
Digital transformation helps Ford revolutionize the auto industry — again.
1. Bridge the gap between siloed teams with a shared view of customer data.
In early 2022, Ford split itself into multiple business units: one focused on the combustion engine, one focused on electric vehicles, along with Ford Pro for commercial and government customers. But importantly, the company also took steps toward better uniting itself. For years, departments working in silos had separate versions of customer data. They lacked the single, shared view of Ford’s customers they needed to create more sustainable, meaningful relationships with customers.
“The company was organized around sales teams, service teams, call center teams, financing teams, and none of those suites of systems worked together,” said Ted Cannis, CEO of Ford Pro, which serves government and commercial customers. “There was no single source of data.”
In four months, Ford laid the foundation it will use to unify all of its customer data under one roof, the Salesforce Platform. Now, with Sales Cloud, Customer Data Platform, MuleSoft, Service Cloud, and CRM Analytics, Ford can activate data across every channel and match customers to engagement behavior.
2. Assess how company culture and technology come together.
To move from vision to value faster, the company engaged in a strategic partnership with Salesforce Professional Services, which embedded more than 140 people with the company.
Eloise Lidell, Integrated Marketing Communications Manager at Ford, said early sessions focused on how change happens at Ford, how employees felt about it, and how to get wider buy-in.
“We didn’t jump right into developing a system. We took the time to do things that would impact the culture. The experience got us out of our norm, got us positioned for and open to change, so that we would be more open to new technologies, new ideas, and new ways of doing things,” Lidell said. “Because a lot of times it’s not just about the technology – it’s how you get there and how you deliver.”
To get the personalized technical expertise it needed to pivot quickly, Ford chose the Signature Success Plan, which includes access to a designated technical expert. Signature also provides continuous system monitoring and makes Ford aware of any issues that could impact system performance. Minimizing disruptions means the Ford team can focus on running its business.
3. Build dynamic dashboards to make decisions in real time.
4. Spot new opportunities to help customers who run their businesses from the road.
5. Give customers proactive updates on the status of their order.
Previously, customers could receive these updates only by email, but using Marketing Cloud, Ford has also enabled customers to choose SMS or email, whichever they prefer.