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.

Time to read: 5.6 minutes

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, iconic auto company Ford realized it 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

As you can see here, creating a better experience for customers also involves invaluable improvements to efficiency and bottom line.

Here’s a deeper look at how Ford is doing it with Einstein 1.


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, Data Cloud, 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.

Ford knows that simply applying new technology to old ways of doing things wouldn’t cut it. It knew it had to take the discussions beyond tech, systems, and processes, and engage in a true shift in its collective mindset.

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.

Many aspects of Ford’s transformation inherently make the company more efficient. But key to the entire shift is being able to measure, in real time, just how much more efficient Ford is becoming.

CRM Analytics will make it easier for Ford teams across sales, service, and marketing, and dealers to make data-driven decisions, with insights that are actionable right within the workflow. Using CRM Analytics, Ford built a dynamic dashboard to measure the business value of its transformation in areas such as customer engagement, status call deflection, and campaign management and maintenance.

After four months, the company could see that email click-through rates jumped by 48%, and that it’s taking four fewer days to maintain campaigns.

4. Spot new opportunities to help customers who run their businesses from the road.

Sometimes rethinking your business opens your eyes to new opportunities. Ford saw a need for a new digital toolbox to help small business owners – such as plumbers, electricians, caterers, and landscapers – who are running their businesses from the road and need to reach their customers from anywhere.

Ford recently launched VIIZR, new field service management software built on Salesforce that offers tradespeople – even those that aren’t Ford customers – a complete solution for managing mobile workforces and providing onsite support. With real-time job scheduling, digital invoicing, and streamlined coordination of field technicians, VIIZR will help entrepreneurs boost their productivity, work more efficiently, and ultimately save money in this new, work-from-your-truck world.

“One of the things that was so important for us at Ford Pro was to create a one-stop shop of all these disjointed services,” Cannis said. “We wanted a tool for everybody, so they could stop with all the paperwork.”

5. Give customers proactive updates on the status of their order.

Here’s a customer question you may have heard more and more through the supply chain crisis: “Where’s my order?” One of the first things Ford did with Salesforce was eliminate the need for customers to call and ask about the whereabouts of their new car. Using Marketing Cloud and Sales Cloud, Ford now proactively provides customers with real-time updates of where their vehicle is every step of the way, from reservation to delivery. Each update has personalized banners, a custom image of the vehicle they purchased, and their VIN number.

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.

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6. Let the car communicate and provide just what customers need.

The order updates are just one step in Ford’s larger shift toward becoming a company that anticipates customer needs and interests and communicates with them in a more personal, proactive way. Imagine receiving, based on data from your current car, a notification on your FordPass app that you have an oil change due in 500 miles.

With Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, CRM Analytics, and MuleSoft, Ford now has the platform capabilities it needs to connect the customer experience across shopping through purchase, accessories, onboarding, and maintenance.

“The bet is, if we have that continuous loop with the customer, we’re adding value. This is a promise and a challenge inside the company to produce that value to the customer every day, which is totally different than the last 119 years.”

Jim Farley, CEO

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