Mercedes has the money. They have the luxury automobile. They can create a customer experience. What about us poor folks? Can we do something similar to Mercedes? – I asked that question of Joe Michelli the author of a new book, Driven to Delight, In the book’s first week, it has become a NY Times best-seller.
An Excerpt from the Podcast:
Joseph: The key here isn’t how much money is spent. In fact, Mercedes didn’t spend a significantly larger amount of money on this. As much as I implied that probably in some ways, some of the things they did were just kind of crazy. So by history, they’ve been spending money saying that if you want a Mercedes Benz automobile, you’re going to get roadside assistance; cradle the grave. Whether or not you bought that automobile from the dealer or if you bought it from somebody who bought it from somebody else, you still are protected for that road assistance. Well here is the rub, those people who might have bought it from a third party and another third party, they may not have ever had that car serviced at a Mercedes-Benz dealership and all of a sudden it’s dead on the side of the road, and they call up Mercedes and Mercedes-Benz funds the roadside assistance.
That kind of money you just can’t spend in business today. Those customers are not connected to you; they’re not bringing any profitability back to your brand and so instead of using that money, they change policies around that, and they take that money and use in a very constructive way to incentivize first-time car buyers in an entry level car like the CLA. I think what it really comes down to is we have to look at every dollar we spend in every business and ask as a Lean guy would ask, is this adding value or is this waste?
I’ll put it in a little different way. Peter Drucker once said that we’re in business to create a customer, and I used to believe that, but now I kind of believe that we’re in business to create a profitable customer and to profit customers through our effort. If that customer doesn’t return anything back to us, they’re not really the customer we’re trying to create, and if we don’t create profit for them, we’re not the business they want to do business with. What I think we all have to do is say every dollar, every action has to be looked at through the filter of the value and if it doesn’t add value, let’s save that money and reinvest it in something that does.
The podcast and transcription can be found: Mercedes-Benz Journey to Customer Centric