What make car brands stand out from the crowd are no longer traditional car services, but relevant and valuable services for car owners and drivers. It is because many new and non-luxury brands have entered the market, while new technology and innovative services have changed the dynamics between carmakers, dealers and their customers. Building a relationship with owners and drivers by improving their experience of using cars is the key to achieve customer loyalty.
Car manufacturers find it increasingly challenging to maintain customer loyalty. Reasons are demanding customers, government interventions and fierce competition, just to name a few. Therefore, car manufacturers should shift towards servicing owners and drivers after sales, and build a relationship with customers towards selling the next car three to five years down the line.
Rise of new and non-luxury brands
In 2007, only three car manufacturers were among the top 50 global brands. This year, there are seven. This reflects the stellar rise of new and non-luxury brands. With less differentiation in quality and design, brands are struggling to keep loyalty in the traditional way. Good service is increasingly important in winning customers.
Actors and factors shaping customers
Government policies on car ownership, taxation and energy consumption have changed the attitude and behaviour of car buyers. A booming market of aftermarket parts also enables car owners to upgrade and improve the look and performance of cars, delaying the next purchase for many owners.
Innovations confuse drivers
In established markets, cars are no longer only transportation vehicles. Engines and dashboards are performing multiple functions thanks to advanced electronics, telematics and connectivity. While cars are smarter, they also become more complex and confusing for drivers. Therefore, customers need help and guidance to operate and maintain their cars.
Evolving brand-buyer relationship
A constant stream of technical and service innovations in the automotive industry has changed the relationship between buyers, brands and service providers. Lease companies, breakdown service providers and car-pool clubs are building a more direct relationship with drivers, and exerting a strong influence on their attitude towards a brand.
More than car servicing
Servicing customers begins when they request information and need assistance to configure the cars, all the way through getting used to the new cars and regular service schedules. At each of these touchpoints, there are plenty of opportunities to delight customers with your signature service and create an outstanding customer experience.
Build relationship with tailor-made services
Car brands make their money at the point of selling cars to buyers, while dealers make theirs through servicing the owners and the drivers. Therefore, it is important to recognise the different needs of buyers, owners, drivers and even regular passengers, in order to build relationships with them through tailor-made services that are value-added and profitable. Most of these services are around providing information, the availability of cars and lowering operational costs.
Stay with your brand
As product failures are no longer big issues in the automotive industry, customer experience is now based more on servicing owners and drivers. Shifting the focus from vehicles to owners and drivers reveals many opportunities to influence your customers to buy and stay with your brand.