1. Find out what customers value:
Take a thorough look at consumers: What types of experiences do they expect? What companies do they believe deliver the best experiences? How do consumers prefer to learn about vehicles?
In terms of information sources, the Internet, personal networks, and social media platforms rate highly, and much higher than traditional information sources such as television, radio, and direct mail. In fact, more than 70 percent of consumers use the Internet while shopping for new and used vehicles—more than double the usage of any other information source.
This reflects consumers’ growing desire for an objective resource of trusted information. Increasingly, analysis shows that consumers are relying more and more on their social media networks and trusted connections for guidance on vehicle purchases.
A primary conclusion to draw from these trends relates to control and influence: The most influential ...view middle of the document...
What’s more, the customer experience lifecycle features many more touchpoints compared to what existed 10 or 15 years ago. Each of these touchpoints should be managed in a consistent way.
In terms of changing expectations, consider how customers are treated when they step into an Apple store to make a purchase or make a service request: An iPad-equipped store employee (some of whom are trained to reach the status of “Genius” with Apple products) greets them, expertly addresses their issue, and can even complete a transaction (via the point-of-sale app on the iPad). Now consider your most recent trip to a dealership’s parts or services department: How long did it take for a warranty issue to be resolved or a part to be located (and ordered)? When was the last time a dealership employee could access every single piece of necessary information about you and your vehicle at the tap of a tablet?
The reality of this touchpoint proliferation is that OEMs must develop a more intentional and comprehensive approach to managing each customer touchpoint, as well as how they should work in tandem to create a cohesive customer experience journey. OEMs should start by mapping out the ideal consumer experience—from the consumer’s perspective. Use this outline to identify every single customer touchpoint that occurs throughout the entire ownership life cycle, from initial research to the purchase. Once these customer touchpoints are plotted, they must be managed in a consistent manner.
3. Re-examine policies and procedures:
After mapping out the ideal customer experience across all touchpoints and throughout the ownership lifecycle, OEMs should determine if and how their existing policies and procedures need to change to support a more customer-centric approach.
Supporting customer strategies with formal policies or employee guidelines is a must in this era of empowered customers. Doing so provides decision-makers not only with a more holistic view of a company’s operations, but also with a better understanding of how the behaviors and needs of specific customer groups will shape future revenues and profits for the automotive manufacturer.