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May 1, 2017
Posted by: Dealer

In a competitive marketplace that sees shoppers using the Internet as a major research tool to guide their purchase decisions, as well as a platform for sharing customer experience and feedback, it makes sense for the automotive sector to tune in and stay engaged.

In today’s information-intensive climate, automakers and dealerships must also continue to use data to better understand the needs, desires, and journeys of their customers.

Here’s the good news: according to new research by Forbes Insights and SAS, automotive businesses are taking the lead in embracing data and predictive analytics to enhance the customer experience. Currently there’s a strong push within organizations to:

  • Gather real-time insights based on customer data;
  • Systematically develop data and analytics capabilities to improve the customer experience;
  • Achieve a more complete or unified view of the customer in order to increase levels and quality of engagement;
  • And present enterprise information to key decision-makers in a format that’s accessible and highly integrated.

Entitled “Blazing the Trail From Data to Insight to Action”, the Forbes Insights report is based on a survey of over 100 executives of large global organizations. Here are some key findings:

  • Automotive (66 percent), along with manufacturing and industrial, is the leading industry group in terms of “providing a superior customer experience through a well-developed and designed enterprise data analytics effort.” (It even ranks ahead of the tech industry and retail.)
  • 63 percent of respondents said that data analytics allow them to more accurately predict customer needs and desires. 60 percent, meanwhile, turn to data in order to improve customer service, and 55 percent do so to gather greater feedback essential to product and service innovation.
  • Automotive execs agree that other top benefits of data analytics include seeing managers and employees become more confident about their decisions (50 percent) and enjoying greater collaboration between departments (47 percent).
  • The top five data sources being used by companies to better understand and manage the customer experience are: 1) customer databases, 2) digital channels (website, mobile, apps, review sites, etc.), 3) customer relationship management (CRM) systems, 4) point-of-sale systems, and 5) social media sites.
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Customer experience is the key to creating value in automotive

While the process of enriching the customer experience through data analytics is still considered as being in the infancy stage for majority of global organizations, executives have found the results of their early initiatives to be extremely positive.

For the automotive sector, this new focus on understanding the customer signifies an important shift in perspective — from a “fascination with chrome” to a “fascination with people,” as brand and growth expert Felix Stöckle described it.

  • It’s no longer just about the product

    “Until recently, if you had asked a senior manager at a car manufacturer the three most important things as far as cars were concerned, he probably would have answered: ‘First, the product. Second, the product. And third, the product.’ This mindset is increasingly becoming a thing of the past,” Stöckle wrote in an analysis of how the automotive industry is reinventing itself.

    “The automotive industry has recognized the sign of the times… trying to avoid mistakes that have been made in other sectors. (Previously), sales funnels were attempted at the outset to fuel desire through emotional advertising, and the actual sales process began in the minds of the managers when the potential buyer arrived at the dealership. Now, the auto industry has recognized that it needs to build relationships with their customers beyond the average four-year upgrade cycle to the latest model, and that they cannot leave this to the dealership. Customer experience and customer relationship management become a crucial factor in succeeding.”

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