Looking Beyond the Almighty Incentives

What strategies should U.S. automakers consider now that ultra-low car prices and massive incentives are no longer motivating people to buy? Manufacturers intent on building market share without cannibalizing profits are looking past the almighty incentive and are forcing themselves to invest in stronger relationships with their customers, according to research led by Mark Peacock of Deloitte Consulting.

What strategies should U.S. automakers consider now that ultra-low car prices and massive incentives are no longer motivating people to buy?

Manufacturers intent on building market share without cannibalizing profits are looking past the almighty incentive and are forcing themselves to invest in stronger relationships with their customers, according to research led by Mark Peacock of Deloitte Consulting.

After looking at some of the world's top automakers, Deloitte found that while many OEMs have remained focused on cost-cutting over the past 18 months, some are beginning to target customer service and retention to win the competitive industry race.

Key findings of Deloitte's survey of auto makers' Customer Assistance Centers (CACs) include:

  • Evidence of a renewed commitment by OEMs to personally handle customer complaints, which have traditionally been dealt with primarily by dealerships. Some assistance centers are creating more opportunities to talk to customers, rather than having everything resolved by self-service. Since studies show the single greatest driver of customer loyalty is effective complaint resolution, a movement of replacing automated calls with human voices is now emerging.

  • Some centers have successful suggestive selling pilots underway, including Mitsubishi, which claims to have influenced $3 million in new-vehicle sales over 6 months. Suggestive selling differs from up-selling by using personalized information to get closer to customers.

  • Most OEMs are not leveraging valuable, real-time “voice of the customer” data captured by the centers by sharing them with business units such as product development and service.

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