In-dealer Customer Experience Improvement
All the small Big things
The challenges facing the auto sector today are numerous and complex. The responsibilities of promising and delivering a distinctive and compelling Customer Experience are split between the manufacturer, its regional offices/importers, and its dealers.
This paper is based on the firm belief that there is no “silver bullet” way of achieving perfect consistency, but that customer experience is made up on innumerable physical and emotional details that combine to have significant positive or negative impacts – small Big things, if you will.
The big issues
Almost every driver has a horror story about their experience with a car dealer and it’s easy for manufacturers and importers to just blame their distributors for failing to deliver on the shiny promises made in their marketing.
It is also apparent that all dealers are not ‘bad’, but there is a spectrum of competence, capability and delivery to be managed and optimised.
The key issues can therefore be summarised as follows:
- How can you ensure that your brand promise is delivered and your customers’ expectations are met by your dealer network?
- How can the in-dealer experience be consistent with your promises and customer expectations whilst retaining a local personality and not making the customer feel ‘processed’?
Benefits of ‘raising the game’
Sales are made to two broad categories of customers – repeat buyers (of the same brand) or conquests (first-time buyers or brand switchers) – and the delivery of the customer experience is a key component in the conversion and ongoing relationship management of both types.
The ‘raising the game’ approach assesses dealer competence in key aspects of whole-lifecycle Retention and Acquisition customer experience management (CEM), and then identifies ‘quartile’ performance – what the top 25% are achieving, 2nd 25%, etc.
Rather than trying to get everyone to improve x%, this approach then puts in place actions to uplift the performance of the 4th quartile to that of the 3rd, who in turn are stimulated to achieve the levels of the 2nd, etc. The upper quartile is left alone to perform – and perhaps act as role model/coach. This approach generates real results, and is a realistic improvement proposition. It also allows franchise management resources to be focused where they’re needed.
How can this be achieved in real life?
WCL and our partners Springboard Commercial provide a team of experts to assess your dealers’ strengths and weaknesses in CEM (via our bespoke tool, called CxP), and then to work with your team to create a road map to swift and achievable improvement.
The approach is designed in discrete stages, with the ability to hand the roll-out across for the field force to adopt as part of business-as-usual dealer development. It can be fully resourced internally via a CxP license, or delivered with ongoing independent external assessment support.
For a pdf version of this paper please click here, or for more information and a presentation of this approach, please contact Peter Lavers.
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Peter Lavers, 15/10/2010