How providing a complete customer service experience can help to drive brand loyalty in the automotive sector
- With the average length of car ownership now more than seven years, automotive manufacturers need to create a complete customer experience to encourage brand loyalty
- Companies that deliver a complete customer experience see a rise in revenues and retention
Read time: 4 minutes
We all know that brand loyalty has eroded significantly in recent years, with research from global consultancy firm McKinsey finding that only 13 per cent of consumers now class themselves as loyalists that don’t shop around.
This poses a challenge for brands that need to differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded market. But for automotive manufacturers the stakes are even higher, and customer expectations and wants are shifting up a gear – and fast.
Consumer behavior has also changed. People are now less likely to visit their friendly dealer when looking to purchase their next car, with the time spent in showrooms falling by two thirds in recent years. Instead many people now start their car buying journey online where there is a wider range of choice and information.
The rise of vehicle-sharing and ride-hailing apps also means that there is no longer a need for people to own a car if they choose not to. This poses a significant challenge for automotive manufacturers across the globe that need to make consumers want their products and believe in their brand to drive sales and growth.
So how can automotive firms make sure that consumers remain loyal long after they’ve driven off into the distance?
Providing a complete customer service experience
We’ve previously discussed how providing excellent customer service can give brands the competitive edge, especially when handling an issue or problem. In fact, research from Dimension Data shows that 84 per cent of companies that cracked the code for providing excellent customer service have seen an uplift in revenue as a result.
But with the average length of car ownership now more than seven years, the challenge for automotive brands is how they encourage loyalty long after the vehicle has been purchased or a problem resolved.
With 82 per cent of consumers stating that they prefer to buy from a brand that they have a strong emotional connection with, the key to enhancing loyalty is to make consumers feel wanted and valued. This comes from creating a complete customer experience – for automotive firms, this means from the moment a customer starts to consider the models out there to long after they’ve driven off the forecourt.
We recently worked with one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers to help them to design a complete experience package for its customers, when it was looking raise its brand profile and awareness of its new SUV in the highly competitive Indian market.
As well as providing an exceptional level of customer support, it realized that it needed to stay connected with customers, creating a club of brand ambassadors that would be willing to promote its products amongst family, friends and on social media.
To do this we worked with them to launch a program of guided adventure treks. On the treks SUV owners can take their cars into the wilderness, allowing them to push their vehicles to the limit and take part in a range of experiences that they wouldn’t get on their day-to-day commute.
Engaging with people in this fun environment has proven to be hugely successful for the brand. Customers have driven away with a greater understanding of their vehicles, and the company saw an increase in repeat custom and referrals as a result.
But it’s not just the automotive sector that can benefit when providing this level of personalized service. Research from Forrester has found that brands across all sectors that integrate a complete customer experience into their business see an increase in both customer retention and revenues.
Customers can now pick and choose which brands they engage with, seeing their purchase of a product as a brand endorsement rather than a simple transaction.
But to gain their trust, businesses need to work harder than ever before, creating an outstanding end-to-end experience for customers that makes them feel like a valued member of a brand’s community. Do this successfully and the benefits could be great, but fail to do so and customers may just drive away into the sunset forever.
Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.