It’s Time to Climb out of Our Customer Experience Measurement Box


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Recently, Maritz held a summit with representatives of almost every automaker selling in the North America regarding the automotive customer journey. During this conference we presented results of a study we conducted to assess customers’ unmet needs throughout their journey.

The results are eye opening. At every stage of the journey a large proportion of customers say they need help from the dealer or the OEM and are not getting it.

Early in the journey right after purchase, one in five customers say the dealer never called to check in on them. During the middle of the journey, more than one third say neither the dealer nor the OEM has checked in to see how things were going, and just under half of them needed or wanted contact. The real kicker was at “end of term” when customers are coming to the end of their lease or the maturity of their loan. Three in four customers say they did not hear from their dealer or OEM during that time. This is very surprising since dealers and OEMs know when leases are ending and loans are maturing for the vehicles they sold.

purchase study graphic

The results show that customers who are not getting the engagement level they desire are considerably less likely to repurchase from the dealer and the OEM.

Check out more detail from the Maritz Automotive customer journey study.

So, are the OEMs and dealers really not contacting customers? Let’s answer that question a little indirectly. There is little doubt that pretty much all customers have received a CEM survey ostensibly to check on their satisfaction. It is also quite likely they have received a variety of emails or direct mail pieces from the OEM and dealer CRM systems. So what’s missing?

Three things:

1) Communication is not always engagement – contact with customers whether from CEM or CRM is one way dialogue today. Customers who are contacted are not really asked what they need. Most often CEM is asking them what the company wants to know and CRM is offering what the company thinks they need. Customers need to be engaged in a better, more personal way.

2) Focus on the entire journey, not just touch points – CEM has for the most part been focused on a few touch points with the dealer, particularly post-delivery of the vehicle to check on the sales process and after their vehicle is serviced. But what about the rest of the journey? Vehicle owners in the US drive an average of more than 13,ooo miles per year. That’s a lot of engagement with their vehicle. Do we think customer perceptions of the OEM, the dealer and the vehicle are impacted by their use of the product every day? We need to start thinking about the customer journey, not just touch points.

3) More relationship thinking is needed – customers want something more than CEM and CRM departments are giving them. They are looking for more engagement that helps them at different stages of their journey. This engagement will not only help customers when they need it, but as the data shows, also has a significant impact on loyalty and repurchase. In an age where senior management is more focused than ever on understanding the ROI of marketing and CEM investments, wouldn’t it be great to focus on the customer journey and help to build real relationships?

For CEM professionals this should be a wakeup call. As people who care about customers, there is a significant gap in what we are doing to help the customer. Our programs are focused on touch points for good reason. Dealers need to be assessed, salespeople need to be coached and rewarded. And while the journey is long, first impressions are important, but this process-focused approach is not helping customers that engage with us directly. An additional program is needed that is focused more on understanding how customers are doing through the journey and helping them along the way.

In CEM we worry about metrics, representativeness, and not using data we collect to “sell” the customer. Customers don’t care about metrics or representativeness, and they engage with you because they hope that you will improve THEIR customer experience.

Engaging with customers to make sure we are doing a good job throughout the journey and with the express purpose of helping them have a better journey one by one is now needed.

To accomplish this, CEM professionals will need to get outside the box that has been the boundary of our efforts for the last 50 years.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michael Allenson
Michael is Founder of CXDriven. Formerly he was Principal CX Transformation Consultant at MaritzCX where he led a global team that consulted with clients on how to better leverage their customer experience management programs to drive business success. A frequent writer and presenter, Michael is passionate about helping companies leverage customer intelligence to take action that creates lasting customer relationships and sustainable improvements in growth and profitability. Over a 20+ year career, he has consulted with numerous Fortune 500 companies and their leadership teams on how to uncover superior insights and turn them into action. Prior to his role at MaritzCX, Michael was a Senior Consultant for Maritz Research, Technomic, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants and Leo J. Shapiro and Associates.


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