The great thing about working on customer experience mentoring and programme management is how transferable ideas and initiatives are across different sectors. Customer is a constant regardless of sector so ideas transfer and inspiration can be taken from other sectors. It’s quite unique in that way. Clients are keen to see examples from other sectors to help stretch the thinking within their own.
With that in mind, here are 5 examples of customer experience initiatives from the automotive industry. So if it’s your sector; hopefully you can take direct lessons from these. And if you are in a different sector, let them inspire your lateral thinking.
Ownership drives customer- centric approach at Jaguar
JLR asked Engine Service Design to help them design the customer experience around the purchase and, critically, the ownership of the C-X75. Engine explored a range of complex needs around ownership and driving experiences to develop the customer experience. Engine translated the insights into a set of principles and service personality to guide both the C-X75 experience and also the wider JLR experience.
“The dealership experience is as old as the car industry, roughly one hundred years old. While cars have changed, the retail experience is much the same as it was one hundred years ago,” says Dr. Ian Robertson who oversees global sales and marketing for BMW.
BMW leaders studied brands outside of the car industry to create BMW’s “future retail strategy.” According to Robertson it led to “a complete redevelopment of BMW’s digital world, the physical experience at the dealership, and how our people interact with customers in the sales process.” With an obvious nod to the Apple Store, BMW decided to create a new role in its dealerships—the product genius. The BMW product genius is a non-commissioned expert who will spend as long as it takes to educate car shoppers about their choices. “The product genius is not encumbered by the sale process and is not motivated to sell a car,” Robertson responded. “His motivation is customer satisfaction.”
BMW has already recruited about 900 people for its product genius positions and will hire a total of 2,000 over the next 12 months. The dealerships will also offer a seamless multi-channel transition from the digital store to the physical one. Robertson made an observation that applies to most business ventures in today’s digital economy: “What we have done in the past is definitely, definitely, definitely, not good enough for the future.”
Employee engagement to drive customer experience improvements at Lookers
Lookers recognises that a motivated and satisfied workforce lies at the heart of its success. It enhances its ‘Customers for Life’ company strapline and ethos. It revolves around Lookers NICER values: Nice, Informative, Caring, Enthusiastic and Responsive (driven by customer relationship drivers).
Paul Bentley, Director of CX said, “It’s that simple really. Happy staff makes for happy customers. The customer experience is the ultimate differentiator in the modern car retailing business and we are keen to make sure we deliver the best there is”. Areas of improvement targeted include customer and staff engagement, where regular appraisals, customer and staff surveys and improved internal communication are made a priority through regular analysis and measurement.
Audi uses customer experience to turn satisfaction scores around
Audi’s 2020 vision is to leave customer’s delighted. But 21st out of 23 in the International Aftersales Customer Satisfaction (IACS) rankings meant they had work to do. service issues and poor comms drove Audi customers elsewhere. A ‘Driven to Delight’ programme reached out to all 132 Audi centres from valet to sales translating ‘delight’ into behaviours.
A mobile entertainment unit took a roadshow taking everyone on the journey towards ‘delighting’. Starting with negative customers and finishing with a premium customer experience showroom once customers were turned into more loyal and profitable fans from receiving a better customer experience.
Where customers were satisfied was the foundation built on. But using a ‘Total Reality’ the appointed Brand Biology consultants worked with staff to figure out improvements. Staff bought in and committed to deliver improvements. The following years IACS results ranked Audi eleven places higher at 10th.
A differentiated customer experience the Mercedes Benz way
After sales is key for premium car sales. External market forces have levelled the playing field with the independents stealing share on price. Mercedes Benz looked to differentiate their offer.
Time was spent with dealers and customers to understand what great looked like when it came to after sales. Competitors that were praised were mystery shopped too. all insights were mapped across an organising vision. A suite of end-to-end concepts and experience enablers were tested using desktop versions to full scale prototypes. Five service principles were arrived at and MyMercedesBenz after-sales vision was born. Which features several core propositions such as My service booking apps.
Workshops were used to drive staff engagement. And a pilot was developed wit every aspect of the experience; comms, behaviours , interactions with 3rd parties and environment revised to align to the visions.
Satisfaction rating rose by 50%. Retail visits jumped to 8.1% against national decline of 3.1%. Average spend up £18. MyMercedesBenz has rolled out to 25 regions with 25 more and collected a host of prestigious industry awards.
I hope these have been of interest to you, whatever sector you are involved in.
Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden
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