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Human experience in the automotive industry
Automakers' big opportunity to excel in customer service
Despite all the technological advances the automotive industry has made, the customer experience has remained largely unchanged—even though expectations haven’t. For automakers, a better automotive customer experience may rest on not just applying technology but also on forging stronger, more human connections.
Creating a better automotive customer experience
The auto industry has come a long way in the past 100 years—and particularly in the last 10 years. Technology is fueling dramatic changes in how vehicles are manufactured, marketed, purchased, and driven. Or, in the case of autonomous vehicles, not driven.
But in a world of same-day delivery and instant gratification, customer expectations have increased across industries—and many automakers aren’t keeping pace.
While cars have become ever more advanced, styled, and technology rich, purchase and service environments have remained largely the same. That’s because many automotive manufacturers have handed off the customer experience (CX) to dealers, disconnecting themselves from it entirely.
The importance of the automotive customer experience
According to Deloitte’s 2018 global automotive consumer study, 78 percent of surveyed consumers rate the customer experience as a “somewhat important” or “very important” factor in choosing where to buy a vehicle.
Yet there are still many long-standing issues that detract from the experience. Aspects of the dealership experience that US survey respondents don’t like include:
- “Too much paperwork” (57 percent)
- “Overall experience took too long” (42 percent)
- “Price issues/haggling” (40 percent)
- “Lack of stock” (30 percent)
The survey results indicate that manufacturers also may be missing an opportunity to deliver on the automotive experience promise after a vehicle purchase. Nearly half of survey respondents (48 percent) were never contacted by the manufacturer after acquiring their vehicle, and 22 percent were never contacted by the dealer.
Reevaluating customer expectations in the automotive industry
For automakers, dealerships, and financiers, the time has come to rethink the experience they provide to consumers throughout the entire customer journey—and to make it more human.
Getting the human experience right requires that automotive companies understand human values both inside and outside of the category transaction—something technology and data analytics can help achieve. Values can shift based on a customer’s mind-set and progress along the journey, making it critical for companies to understand which experiences can help drive loyalty and business results in every moment.
Creating a human experience—designed with human values in mind and enabled by programs, technologies, and interactions that deliver on the natural desires of the customer and the workforce—is the new focal point for many organizations.
Effective automotive customer service programs follow five important principles:
Automakers should be obsessed with human experiences
Embedding these principles effectively requires organizations to shift from merely “doing” customer-focused actions to
“being” obsessed with human experiences. Moving beyond doing demands that the organization rapidly evolve to deliver this automotive experience as a team sport, ensuring that every aspect of the enterprise is part of the focus on human experience.
Effectively creating a more human experience also requires that organizations change their definition of success to one that reflects the holistic customer life cycle and value from product or services relationships. Automakers, for example, could focus not on the number of vehicles sold but instead on the number of miles driven.
Companies that evaluate service based on customer lifetime value can predict patterns and uncover hidden customer preferences by leveraging technology and insights infrastructure. These insights help the organization understand which levers to pull in order to enrich customers’ lives. Notably, this approach requires the organization and its leaders to activate a winning team of employees and partners that will deliver the human experience in a seamless, consistent, global manner.
While it may be daunting, organizations that engage on a human level can create lifelong customers. Because great experiences build connections. Strong connections create loyalty. And loyalty drives business results.
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