The Best Strategy for Customer Experience in the Automotive Industry Starts with Product Quality

Workers collaborating at an automotive manufacturing plant

Collecting real-time customer feedback is one of the most effective ways to improve product quality and optimize customer experience in the automotive industry.

Customer experience (CX) in the automotive industry is more important than ever. Brands that excel at meeting and exceeding customer expectations take the lead when it comes to driving loyalty and repurchases, and recently, many are turning to customer experience data to help better understand how quality impacts the ownership experience and company ROI. 

A customer’s perception of product quality is a top driver of brand loyalty and repeat purchases within the automotive industry, yet original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and dealerships often fail to understand the customer’s view of how quality impacts the ownership experience — problems that have the potential to lead to increased warranty and goodwill spend, more calls to contact centers, damage to a brand’s reputation, recalls, and lawsuits.

It’s not for a lack of caring or interest in what customers are experiencing. For some brands, it comes down to properly linking all the tools at their disposal to the product quality processes and systems they have in place. If they’re not optimizing available data, technology, and analysis, these organizations may be driving in the dark — without enough insight to pinpoint key areas of customer friction.

Traditional quality measurement touchpoints typically occur later in the customer journey, generally do not reflect a customer’s perception of quality, and only focus on break / fix solutions. As a result, many OEMs are not considering customer feedback, resulting in potential customer turnover and lost revenue.

How Capturing CX Insights in Real Time Helps Automotive Brands Accelerate Product Quality

Customers provide a wealth of feedback about product quality issues in conversations with dealership team members, over social media, and via contact center channels like customer support phone calls and live chat sessions. The problem is, most brands aren’t able to listen to these conversations at scale and uncover meaningful, actionable ownership insights in the moment to combine them with traditional quality measures and improve the automotive customer experience.

Collecting real-time insights across channels offers a competitive advantage for CX in the automotive industry, including:

  • Improving product use and ownership experience faster
  • Cutting operational costs
  • Reducing customer churn
  • Enhancing dealership employee training

The faster brands are able to quickly identify product challenges that are impacting customer use and the overall ownership experience — inclusive of warranty and recall-related issues — translates to operational cost savings from a manufacturing perspective and a positive impact on the ownership experience. In turn, this means greater revenue potential and lower customer churn rates.

Cost of quality problems can build over time as more customers use and face issues with products. Listening to and acting on customer feedback in real time can help to accelerate the discovery of quality issues, which helps manufacturers fix issues earlier and results in fewer customers ending up with the problem in the first place. Not only does this add up to savings, but it also improves customer perceptions of the brand.

In addition to identifying — and fixing — problems with product design and manufacturing faster, when brands capture real-time automotive customer feedback, these insights can also be used to improve training for dealership employees so they can effectively instruct drivers on how to optimize a vehicle’s features. It’s much easier to make updates to dealership employee training than it is to change a car’s overall design, giving brands the opportunity to improve product quality problems at a much lower cost and drive more positive ownership experiences.

7 Strategic Solutions Enhancing Customer Experience in the Automotive Industry

The world’s leading automotive, recreation, and powersports businesses are leveraging best-in-class customer experience and employee experience (EX) management solutions to create an exceptional, consistent, and differentiated product ownership experience across the entire customer journey to save on quality costs, build loyalty, and encourage repurchases.

Here are some of the top tools and capabilities that these savvy automotive brands are using to fuel CX efforts:

1. Real-time customer feedback capture and analysis of indirect signals from customer interactions across channels — conversations with sales, via social media, and the contact center — to break down organizational silos and get a holistic understanding of the customer journey.

2. Real-time customer feedback capture and analysis of direct signals via forms and surveys across digital, mobile, voice, video, and in-car customer engagement tools to learn what’s causing customer satisfaction (and dissatisfaction).

3. AI- and ML-powered speech and text analytics to analyze customer interactions across phone calls, emails, SMS, social media, live chat, and more to optimize interactions, ensure the best customer service experience, conduct root-cause analysis, and make intelligent recommendations about best next steps to improve the customer experience.

4. Employee dashboards to democratize access to automotive customer experience insights, empowering departments and employees with the information needed to solve root-cause issues.

5. Experience orchestration to personalize customer interactions at scale, fostering strong customer relationships.

6. Employee and customer idea crowdsourcing and collaboration tools to gather  innovative opportunities to differentiate products and services while maximizing marketing effectiveness.

7. Comprehensive, 360-degree customer profiles based on centralized customer and employee experience data to increase cross-sell and retention opportunities and success rates.

Improve Your Automotive Customer Experience

Customer perception of quality helps define the value of a brand, and that’s especially true in the automotive industry. Customers trust a vehicle to be reliable and safe, and function the way they expect it to. Manufacturing a vehicle that stays on the road, out of service repair, and performs according to customer expectations is critical.

The top car brands that drivers trust and love turn to industry-leading experience management for detecting early warning indicators regarding vehicle issues and performance from customer feedback, and they identify strategic opportunities with analytics based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Automotive brands must pay attention to the feedback customers share about quality across channels and touchpoints, long before repair orders and warranty claims arise. This is how they gain the power to improve the ownership experience dramatically, earning more revenue and decreasing churn as customers stay with the same manufacturers and dealerships for the long haul.

Medallia’s platform is designed to improve customer experience in the automotive industry, utilizing feedback across signals to deliver mission-critical insights. Download our guide, Lessons from Luxury: How Automotive Brands Can Create Exceptional Experiences That Build Loyalty.

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