As the connected customer experience continues to evolve, Cagemini today released the 16th annual global automotive study, The 2015 Cars Online “The Selfie Experience”. Phones have become “the” selfie device, now this study shows consumers want that same personalized experience as a segment of one. Something that can be difficult to pull off in real-life, customers expect seamless communication over all channels, including both physical and digital touch-points. In this study, over 7,500 consumers who were were “in-market”– planning to buy or lease a car in the next 12 months participated. The study spanned the globe, including Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US).
So what do consumers want in terms of a personalized customer experience? The study showed:
- A wider variety of online sources are utilized when choosing a car, with dealer/manufacturer websites (49%), search engines (43%) and traditional dealerships (48%) now supplemented by web forums (19%), social media pages (12%) and smartphone apps (9%)
- The use of more varied and non-traditional online information sources is particularly driven by the Asian markets (India/China), where 80% are significantly influenced by positive social media comments.
- The physical dealership still plays a critical role for consumers, with 95% visiting one or more dealerships before purchase as people still want a tactile experience when buying a car.
- Consumers want instantaneous personalized online services when buying a car and for post-sale experience too, where 95% expect a response to requests within 24 hours; for growth markets, 69% want one in less than four hours.
While consumers desire more personalized on and offline services, 45% have concerns over data privacy. There is a strong correlation between customer satisfaction and loyalty particularly for dealers:
- Only 10% of customers, not satisfied at all, say they would likely or very likely buy their next car from the same dealer.
- 87% of highly satisfied customers would purchase the same brand again and
- 85% would buy from the same dealer.
In addition, customer do want a seamless experience across the lifecycle of buying a car. the study showed that there is much for OEMs to think about, including:
- New entrants are a real threat – One-half of customers are interested in buying a car from a tech company like Apple or Google.
- Customers expect more and more from OEMs and dealers – When they’re talking to a dealer about buying a car, they value technical expertise rather than a pure sales approach.
- During ownership, customers want more and better contacts – They want more explanations about (for example) technology and how to use it, together with offers that are relevant to them.
- Satisfaction is not enough – When it comes to repurchase, high levels of satisfaction are needed to create strong feelings of loyalty towards a manufacturer or dealer.
MY POV: The customer experience is something that customers want and have wanted it to be personalized, special, consistent and relevant. That’s always been the case. And we finally have technology that can deliver a more seamless, consistent and personalized experience.
The bigger issue? The internal structure of corporate America. It has developed into silo’d departments not used to collaborating or having each other’s back. But that has got to stop and stop now. Why? As I speak to customers, I see two types of leaders. In one segment of leaders, they are doing the same thing they did 20 years ago. They aren’t disrupting their silo’d organizational org chart, departmental separations or if they are doing something along these lines, it’s mostly lip service.
And then there are the leaders that truly get what has happened to the world. It had been stood on it’s head. It’s changed and changed a great deal. It takes a while sometimes for these things to show up on the bottom-line, it will.
And for those leaders and their companies that “get” what is happening to the customer experience via the digital disruption, they will make it through this major transition in corporate operations. The others? They will wake up one morning and all (or most) of their customers (and revenue) will be gone and they won’t have any idea what happened. But they can look back at this blog post and see that there was a weather bell that rang to give them a warning that one thing is for sure: Things are going to change and change they have.
Which camp is your company in? The ones that get the value of the customer experience or the ones that think it’s all fluff and silly kumbaya?
VP and Principal Analyst, IOT of Customer Experience, Constellation Research