Reimagining the customer relationship in the automotive industry

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In our previous 2 blogs in this series about the future of the automotive industry, we have looked at how customer expectations have changed while the industry itself has been slow to adapt.

Franchised dealerships are at risk of becoming irrelevant if they do not step up to the challenge of doing business in the internet age. Customers no longer ‘need’ a salesman at a dealership to sell them a car. So, dealerships need to offer a service that adds value.

The car buying and ownership process is currently very much a transactional one. As we know, the internet offers a source of all the facts and figures a person could wish for, as well as a competitive aftersales market. Customers will visit showrooms to get something that they are unable to get online: real-life access to the cars on their shortlist.

At such a pivotal point in the journey to ownership this contact needs to be rewarding, relevant and of added value to the customer. It needs to confirm to them that this is the brand they want to buy into. Pushy salespeople and recited vehicle statistics will not entice potential customers to spend their money. Dealerships that offer their customers the opportunity to make personal connections with the brand on their own terms will differentiate themselves from the competition.

Engine Service Design worked with Hyundai to define the customer experience and staff behaviours for the launch of their new Motorstudio brand space in Seoul. The environment was designed to build brand image rather than as a sales point. The state-of-the-art features include an auto library, a premium customer lounge, an area where children can play, an art gallery and a café. All of which serve to provide an excellent customer experience.

In our next blog in this automotive series, we will look at how and why the siloed nature of automotive businesses drives a poor customer experience.

If you have any questions about how we can help or would like any further information, please get in touch: we would love to help.

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