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3 Reasons the Auto Industry Must Accelerate CX Efforts in 2019

Medallia: CX

With the prediction of a flat SAAR for 2019, how will you keep your team firing on all cylinders? Customer experience (CX) now differentiates brands more than product or marketing, and if you haven’t started to intensify your efforts, now is the time. But what about the value of high-brand scores? Well, all too often, high industry brand scores don’t align with actual experiences. True brand performance depends on how well you can harness customer feedback to drive operational improvements. Today, experience matters more than ever. Here are three reasons to shift into a customer-first gear to accelerate your deals.

1. Customer Loyalty & Retention

When it comes to market share, what makes you different? Let’s face it – it’s impossible for any one player to pull off delivering the best quality, price, technology etc., 100% of the time. Even if the products are dramatically improved, it wouldn’t necessarily mean success. Why?

Quality ≠ Customer Retention

Quality in the auto industry is at an all-time high. The worst cars today have fewer problems than the top-performing cars from just 10 years ago. And yet, that improvement has not translated into customer retention. In fact, a significant decrease in vehicle problems between 2003 and 2012 had no effect on the customer retention rate. According to a recent article by Edmunds “nameplate loyalty no longer holds the same weight”

Certainly incentives can play a role in brand loyalty and retention. That, however, can also be expensive, plus it is hard to quantify incentive driven loyalty over the long term. Brands looking to pull out in front of their competitors must focus efforts where there’s always room for improvement — customer experience.

What are you doing to create and maintain customer relationships?

2. Customer Connection isn’t an Optional Feature

It’s not rocket science. It’s your relationship with your customer. One hurdle a number of automotive CX programs face is tying high dealer compensation to “scores of satisfaction.” Unfortunately, these programs often become incentive programs rather than customer experience programs.

One hurdle a number of automotive CX programs face is tying high dealer compensation to “scores of satisfaction.” Unfortunately, these programs often become incentive programs rather than customer experience programs.

More Than a Score

When technology enables employees to connect and talk with customers they can take the appropriate actions and close the loop. But if your technology focuses on “scores” alone it could be getting in the way of relationship building, and you may want to consider making an adjustment.

The good news is there’s a lot of room to innovate and improve CX, and the brands recognizing and capitalizing on the opportunity are fast tracking to the top.

Knowing who your customers are is key. The latest figures from IHS indicate that customers are keeping their vehicles almost seven years. Brands and dealers could easily have more intimate relationships with customers purchasing the second most expensive item they’re likely to buy. We frequently hear dealerships struggle to recognize/identify repeat vehicle buyers walking into their dealership. As CX outpaces and replaces CRM, dealers can now see the history of transactional feedback with customers and build long-term relationships.

Are your customers seeing an end-to-end experience consistency through each area of your dealership? Or does each department feel like a totally different dealership?”

3. Maximize Customer Touchpoints

No matter where your brand is in its CX journey, it probably feels like you are just starting out. In a recent survey conducted by Hotjar only 12% of respondents felt as though their companies were in the mature stage…so there’s still time!

Customer Research

For many, the experience starts digitally and that interaction informs perceptions they have of your brand. Potential customers shape their opinions based on researching your site. Is it a space that matches customer expectations, or does a chat window pop up at an inopportune time?  Do you respond timely to leads and quote prices, or do you try to mandate a visit to the store to talk price? What are your previous customers saying about you? Are you monitoring your online reputation?

Sales Process

Improving customer experience can future-proof your brand. Disruption and sweeping change are common themes found in many papers concerning the next 5-10 years of the automotive business. Regardless of what happens down the road, focusing on CX now will put you in a better position to deal with short-term bumps and help you create long term relationships.

Have you recently reviewed your customer process? Are you closing the loop and reducing friction and pain points?”

Post-purchase Expectations

The importance of the sale is obvious, but the after-sale period is where relationships are maintained and enhanced. Or harmed and could become irreparable. This is where a focus on the customer is its most visible. It starts from the minute they call and set up an appointment for service, are towed in, or drive up.

In most instances a positive dealer service experience hinges on ‘time.’ The more sensitivity shown to the value of the customer’s time, the more likely they will become return customers, advocates and promoters. Do you provide timely status updates on their vehicle, or are they left waiting and wondering? Do you offer payment options so they don’t have to wait in line for a cashier, like paying as the service personnel is completing the explanation of repairs?

How will your organization handle these three areas over the next year and onward?  At Medallia, we’re solving these issues with customers every day. We can help your CX program get some real traction in 2019.  Contact us for a demo today.

Join us at Experience ‘19 from June 3-5, where the automotive customer community and Medallia Automotive practice leaders will discuss best practices to drive customer loyalty and, ultimately, market share from customer feedback at dealerships.