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After financial services, health and education technology, Salesforce is focusing on the auto industry with the launch of Automotive Cloud, a dedicated product to help key industry stakeholders make the most of the data available to them.
In the digital age, the auto industry is witnessing an unprecedented transformation, with vehicles being more connected than ever and new selling and servicing models (like D2C and subscriptions) coming to the fore. The shift has increased the volume of data available to all involved parties, starting from companies manufacturing the vehicles to dealers and financers making them available to customers.
However, when it comes to mobilizing this wealth of information for customer benefit or revenue growth, companies have traditionally struggled. According to McKinsey, only 1% of automotive customers are fully satisfied with their car-buying experience, and just a quarter of automakers and dealers believe their companies have adapted well to selling online.
“The automotive industry is facing a new digital imperative amidst massive upheaval brought on by the rise of direct-to-consumer models and the dawn of the electric vehicle age,” said Achyut Jajoo, SVP and GM of manufacturing and automotive at Salesforce. “But with great disruption comes great opportunity, and companies accelerating into the digital-first future … can gain a competitive edge while simultaneously future-proofing their businesses.”
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Enters Salesforce Automotive Cloud
To make this happen, Salesforce has introduced Automotive Cloud. The product uses Driver 360, which leverages the full power of Customer 360 to create a single, real-time view of the entire customer and vehicle lifecycle for automakers, dealers and automotive finance groups. It brings together information from all available sources, including customer interactions and milestones, helping automakers not only deliver improved service and experiences, but also drive revenue through better lead conversion and collaboration.
Driver 360 offers out-of-the-box solutions with industry-specific data models and processes, including driver console, vehicle console and AI and analytics capabilities.
The driver console, as the company explains, provides service teams with a complete view of every customer interaction through continuous touchpoints and customized alerts, from car browsing and purchase history to service journeys. This enables teams to effectively personalize support, offers and sales. Similarly, the vehicle console stitches together comprehensive vehicle information, such as odometer readings, vehicle market value and real-time service and repair data, for automaker, dealer or finance groups.
Meanwhile, under AI and analytics, the Automotive Cloud provides intelligent automation with click-based configuration and integration tools to simplify the building and delivery of branded and automated experiences, such as vehicle order status updates or shipment delay notifications, to help team members complete more tasks with fewer resources. It also offers purpose-built dashboards that provide a detailed overview of sales and business performance, customer and asset lifecycle and revenue trends to drive efficiencies at scale.
Adoption already underway
Multiple auto industry players, including Astara and Toyota Financial Services, are already looking to use Salesforce Automotive Cloud to transform customer experiences. The solution will be generally available starting from October 17, 2022.
“With Automotive Cloud, we will be able to increase the competitive advantage for our entire mobility ecosystem by connecting customer data and vehicle management together within the same platform,” Antonio Rodríguez López, chief strategy and transformation officer at Astara, said. “This will allow us to deliver the best customer experience and to increase our customers’ lifetime value.
According to Salesforce’s own research, 93% of auto industry leaders think that first-party data (similar to that used by the Automotive Cloud) will help substantially improve the overall customer experience — whether during the vehicle browsing, purchasing, financing or post-purchase phase.
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