Customer knowledge is power

Customer feedback provides manufacturers and fleet companies with the vital data they need to drive their customer’s care, make them feel extra special and to generate more enquiries and increase conversions, says automotive research and insight company APD Global Research.

With many company car drivers and fleet managers moving much of the decision-making process online, and manufacturers having little contact with both business users and private individuals who drive their vehicles, keeping track of the customer experience has become much more difficult.

APD Global Research chairman Paul Turner said, ‘As standard specification on vehicles becomes increasingly sophisticated and the cost of motoring is now viewed in terms of monthly expenditure – incorporating everything such as fuel and insurance as well as the funding figure – customer care has become the fundamental differentiator.

‘Whilst feedback and the five-star rating system is widely familiar, for large corporations, such as vehicle manufacturers and leasing companies, the real pieces of insight into customer care is in the survey data which enables granular detail on an individual basis and overall trends to be identified. Being able to identify urgent issues and taking immediate action will ensure a potential detractor becomes a brand ambassador whilst the ability to see the bigger picture, analyse the data and take appropriate action has an overall impact.’

He identifies five ‘golden rules’ of customer care which can be followed if use of CRM and CX systems are maximised.

The first is keeping in contact with customers. If a customer is only contacted when their vehicle agreement comes to an end, any early warning signs of any imminent departure will go undetected.  Extracting data to determine purchase patterns, product usage and feedback means personal recommendations can be made throughout the ownership cycle increasing the likelihood of retaining the customer.

Customers can also be identified and ‘clustered’ into groups to receive targeted information, while software revealing which accounts and individuals are responsible for generating the most revenue can be used to help businesses reward their most profitable customers.

Meanwhile, strong relationships are cemented because each party has a deep understanding and connection with each other so keeping customer information up to date is essential.

Businesses can also use CRM and CX platforms to renew contacts, respond to a requests, or keep a customer informed.

Keeping in contact with customers, whether it’s during the course of acquiring a vehicle, whilst a vehicle is in the workshop for the day or throughout the ownership cycle, is essential, but only if it’s relevant, meaningful and compelling.