Industry 4.0 Digitalization

Industry 4.0 - what does that actually mean? Especially in your industry? What changes - not least, of course, customer-related - will result from the fourth industrial revolution? In this article, we provide answers to these questions.

Short and sweet

The 4th Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is turning product and production landscapes upside down. Customers expect a seamless customer experience, seamless service, and state-of-the-art, personalized products and services. In order to respond to constantly changing customer requirements, companies must fundamentally realign themselves. Changes are especially needed in service. Properly positioned, companies can achieve incredible efficiency and productivity gains in the age of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

But what does the term Industry 4.0 actually mean? And how can companies - especially customer service - optimally align themselves to the changed conditions?

Industry 4.0: What does that actually mean?

Industry 4.0 describes all the changes triggered by advances in artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, robotics, 3D printing and numerous other technologies.

Specifically, the term Industry 4.0 is initially understood in a narrower context to mean the intelligent networking of machines and processes in industry based on information and communication technologies (ICT). In a broader sense, however, the term is used to describe all changes triggered by a combination of advances in artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, genetic engineering, cloud computing, 3D printing and other technologies.

In addition to the classic Industry 4.0 example of the intelligent, fully automated factory ("Smart factory"), this also includes intelligent CRM systems such as Salesforce, which use the potential of data to predict future customer behavior and provide decision-makers with corresponding recommendations for action. Whether Industry 4.0 or other buzzwords such as IoT or Big Data are used, one thing is certain: the opportunities that arise for companies are enormous.

Changing customer expectations

Customer expectations are constantly changing. Meeting them therefore means viewing customer orientation as a corporate paradigm and driving a rethink in the service department.The digital transformation is automatically accompanied by changes in customer behavior. Simply producing and delivering products is no longer enough - customers expect more. Companies must always put customers at the center and design all products, services and points of interaction completely according to their wishes.

It has been proven that customers now use more than 10 channels to communicate with companies and expect a continuous customer experience across all channels as a matter of course. Of course, this should offer the same functionalities and layouts, build on previous conversations, and be optimally adapted to the given context. In order to meet the increased customer requirements and be able to offer the associated seamless customer experience, cross-company networking of customer service with other departments such as sales or order management is necessary.

The most important factors here are cross-departmental goals and targets as well as a uniform common database. A study conducted by Salesforce in 2020 showed that 84% of the service experts surveyed consider standardized customer data to be a decisive prerequisite for an outstanding customer experience. But how can companies achieve this?

Systematic collection of customer data 

About CRM systems, AI & the new role of the service department

The better companies understand the wishes and needs of their customers, the better they are positioned in competition. This requires a new understanding of service, seamless cross-departmental communication and collaboration, and a single source of truth that enables a 360-degree view of the customer.

The service department is gaining in strategic importance.

Keeping this in mind, we want to pay special attention to the service department in this context. In the course of Industry 4.0, service employees are gaining more and more strategic importance.
In order to remain competitive, it is already standard practice for many companies to use new technologies to automate manual tasks. For example, chatbots can automatically record and evaluate customer information and help customers to self-service in simple cases. Service staff can then devote themselves entirely to more demanding tasks and concentrate 100% on individual customers. Pioneering companies have already recognized this and are training their service staff to move away from repetitive customer support tasks and toward upselling products based on individual customer needs.

Furthermore, modern, digitally positioned service departments serve all channels from social networks to SMS or messenger services such as WhatsApp. Here, a huge trend towards personal voice assistants such as Siri or Alexa is expected in the next two years, with mobile chat and video support predicted to be the fastest-growing communication channels in the long term.

Employees can only meet these new demanding tasks and requirements with the right tools at their fingertips. However, studies confirm that the majority of service employees have to switch between several tools in order to find all the information they need to complete their tasks, which leads to significant losses in efficiency. To avoid this, the introduction of standardized systems is essential. This is exactly where Salesforce comes in.

The success factor

A uniform database and the use of artificial intelligence are increasingly emerging as success factors.

A CRM system such as Salesforce is software for the central management of customer data. In other words, all interactions with customers are recorded here. It can be linked to all the company's systems (e.g. ERP system) and thus serves as a uniform data source. Overall, CRM systems provide transparency, enable the optimization and automation of various processes and data-based analysis and evaluations.

A uniform database also creates the basis for the use of artificial intelligence (AI), which is emerging as one of the biggest success factors for more and more companies. AI is used to recognize complex patterns in data volumes, process information, draw conclusions and derive recommendations for action. In service, the use of AI is still in its infancy, but with the proliferation of chatbots and voice analytics, for example, a significant increase is expected in the near future. Here, AI is seen as a supplement and not a replacement for human employees.

CRM systems such as Salesforce already work with artificial intelligence. This helps companies identify business opportunities and optimization potential. The areas of application are limitless. For example, marketing and sales can use the platform's AI to predict customer behavior and provide them with targeted, personalized content and optimized offers. In service, AI can be used for automatic image recognition and thus increase the first-solution rate.

We advise all companies to always actively look for opportunities to use AI and define a clear AI strategy.

Success with multi-cloud solution

The prime example Truma

Together with Salesfive as a partner, Truma, the European market leader for heating and marshalling systems in the caravaning sector, has already embarked on this journey. Truma decided to introduce various Salesforce clouds in sales and marketing, service and a dealer portal to digitize, optimize and automate all company processes. Thanks to Salesforce, service employees can now use their mobile device as a central tool for the entire repair process, including intelligent fault analysis, processing and completion of service orders, with offline availability enabling end-to-end processing without data loss.

Read all about the Truma success story here!


Digitization and Industry 4.0 are the dominant themes of the 21st century, and the associated competitive pressure will continue to increase. In order to stay ahead, companies must constantly and actively look for new use cases and potentials of new technologies such as artificial intelligence or IoT and anchor them in their everyday business. Software tools such as CRM systems are the necessary prerequisite for any progress along the way, and customer service must be given a completely new strategic role. At Salesfive, we help you rethink your processes, fully exploit the potential of Industry 4.0, and put customer orientation at the heart of your corporate culture.

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