Technology has impacted businesses in different areas, and, consequently, many companies have found it necessary to make changes in their structures and business models to improve customer satisfaction. The objective was to quantify the effect of dynamic capabilities on customer satisfaction, through digital transformation within the automotive sector. A random sample of 42 questionnaires on 127 surveyed industries was collected during the period 2019–2020 in a pre-COVID-19 context. A structural equation model (SEM) in two stages was applied. In the first stage, two reflective models were built. In a second stage, a structural equation model was evaluated. The results obtained in this study showed that the capabilities of sensing, seizing and innovation were suitably grouped in a construct called “Dynamic Capabilities”. A positive influence of Dynamic Capabilities on customer satisfaction was found. Therefore, the companies in this industry should focus on developing dynamic capabilities to improve customer satisfaction. Once the opportunities have been identified, managers take advantage of their potential (seizing) to transform and exploit knowledge in the creation, innovation, process improvement, and definition of strategies to combine new knowledge with that already existing. The digital transformation has contributed to identify the real needs for customers, to contact them and solve their problems, as well as offering products and services by anticipating their needs.
Automotive and component manufacturing companies form a tandem of recognized prestige in terms of competitiveness and results. The automotive industry has an important multiplier effect in the economy as it maintains clear links to other sectors. It is an important sector for upstream industries such as steel, chemicals, and textiles, as well as downstream industries such as, for example, ICT, repair, and mobility services. Employment—around 13.8 million people work in the EU automotive sector. Manufacturing (direct and indirect) accounts for 3.5 million jobs, sales, and maintenance for 4.5 million, and transport for 5.1 million. From the economic perspective, the turnover generated by the automotive industry represents over 7% of EU GDP [1–3].
This sector is undergoing a profound restructuring and disruptive innovation, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic . Apart from this, customers are looking for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles, mainly hybrid and electric vehicles . Furthermore, COVID-19 is accelerating the digital transformation process. The development of dynamic capabilities plays an important role in managing the organization’s strategy [5–7].
This research opens new paths for knowledge regarding the automotive sector. Sensing, seizing, and innovation dimensions were grouped in a reliable indicator called “Dynamic Capabilities”. The relationship between the dynamic capabilities construct and customer satisfaction by the SEM modeling was the main finding of this research.
In compliance with each specific objective set out in this research, the indicators used to determine each of the dynamic capabilities were suitable. In addition, the indicators used to determine the influence of sensing, seizing, and innovation capability have been adequate for this purpose. In addition, the five indicators proposed to determine customer satisfaction through digital transformation were also suitable. Finally, the relationship between the dynamic capabilities and their effects on customer satisfaction has been quantified.
Of all the dynamic capabilities evaluated, the one that has the greatest influence on customer satisfaction is the capability of sensing, at least in this study, which could be explained because the company, having implemented the technological tools that allow closer contact with the customer, can detect what their needs and priorities are, which is the first step in making decisions that will give rise to business objectives, and from there, make the customer feel cared for, and taken into account for the decisions carried out by the organization.
Future research could delve into the relationship between the construct of dynamic capabilities with company results and the acquisition of competitive advantages by digital transformation within the automotive sector.