The Big Tech giants dominate their markets by using data to improve product and experience with every interaction. Pulling on digital threads to connect data from every engagement and every touch point they ensure they capture, and keep, their customer’s attention. The automotive industry can emulate this by analysing data from every journey to improve customer experience and guide individual choices.
To do so, automotive OEMs must leverage connected vehicles, browsing behaviour and customer apps to connect to their end customers outside of dealership visits. In the traditional engagement model, the sum of all direct interaction with customers, including marketing, sales and servicing vehicles represents less than one per cent of the total customer experience of a vehicle. It is impossible to maintain a meaningful and memorable customer relationship with so little contact.
Learning from ‘Big Tech’
When you search with Google, shop with eBay
or use your iPhone, every detail of your activity is captured. Analysis of this data is used to tailor your personal experience and enhance the experience for millions of others.
This tailored and engaging approach drives interactions which creates more data which in turn leads to better engagement and personalisation.
Connected vehicles, enhanced infotainment systems and vehicle apps all provide data that can build customer insight from individual journeys. Combined, this rich set of integrated vehicle and customer data can be deployed to influence every customer’s daily experience with their vehicle brand.
A rich set of integrated vehicle and customer data can be deployed to influence every customer’s daily experience with their vehicle brand.
Start with the website
In the last few years brands have spent enormously to improve the interactivity and usefulness of their websites. Product configurators, videos, test drive booking and dealer contacts all help customers proceed through their purchase journey. Creating a digital thread that runs through every path to purchase will dramatically improve customer conversion rates. For example, understanding that people who call the dealer convert faster, you can nudge prospects to make a call as their next step. Recognising when a current customer is in the market for a new vehicle, they can be prompted to begin their search online on the brand’s website.
In the Cockpit
The second area where digital threads can connect data to improve experience and profitability is in the vehicle cockpit itself. Mobile network operators and multiple apps already covert mobility data into customer knowledge. Knowing when you travel, how frequently and where is valuable information which they leverage to improve timing and content of messaging, and to increased app interactions. Automotive companies can and should use the vast array of data created by customers in their vehicles to enhance individual experiences and deepen brand loyalty.
Modern cars have increasing numbers of sensors monitoring all aspects of performance and vehicle location. Data from these can help build a picture of how people drive, when and where they drive, and the functions and features they use. How often do they use adaptive cruise control, for how long and in what circumstances? How do they respond to lane departure warnings and other driver awareness features? Like telcos, banks and retailers
, automotive OEMs must learn to interpret their customer’s demographics, behaviour patterns and actions to tailor offers of relevant value-added services.
High volume, high margin products in the aftermarket
All modern vehicles will have ‘Over-the-air’ upgrade capabilities. With all the hardware embedded at time of manufacture, customers can choose to ‘switch-on’ enhanced features at a later date, or see new capabilities added as software improves. This opens a world of opportunity in the aftermarket, where revenue streams typically have higher profit margins than vehicle sales. Software based aftermarket offerings will have even better profit margins than parts – delivering a large incentive to increase this revenue stream. These opportunities require OEMs to capture, analyse and respond to data during, directly before or directly after individual journeys.
Combining customer data with telematics can deliver insights that allow targeted promotion of a wide range of new products and services.
Different combinations of features, services and even the way engines are tuned can be created to meet the specific requirements of discrete markets or segments. Do customers in China drive in a different way to those in Germany – and could cars be set up to better match that style and so improve the experience? Are older drivers more likely to use driver assistance features than younger drivers?
Automotive companies already have the data to answer these questions – but is locked into several different systems that prevent complete customer understanding. Connecting these varied data together as a digital thread that can transform the relationship between customer and brand, allowing interaction across 100% of the ownership cycle.
Relevance of vehicle data is not limited to the customer experience. It can deliver insights into manufacturing and even drive the capabilities and design of the product itself if used in R&D. The next blog in this series will cover how this data can be used to build new products, services and revenue streams.
Monica McDonnell is a highly experienced consultant in the field of enterprise software, digital transformation and analytics. Her career has spanned Africa, the US and Europe with time spent on ERP and supply chain planning before focusing on delivering value from data. Monica advises on how to deliver business value by combining good data governance and advanced analytics technologies. Helping automotive companies understand how to release the full potential of Industry 4.0 technologies, and dramatically improve customer experience management as enabled by the connected vehicle is central to her role. Monica earned a BSc in Industrial Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand, and a MSc in Software Engineering from Oxford University.
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