Lack of Communication Causes Frustration for Auto Buyers

Well, after nine long months, my bun­dle of joy has final­ly arrived! No, my wife did not have anoth­er child—my car-buy­ing jour­ney is final­ly over and I’ve got­ten my car! Not sure if you can catch my sar­casm here, but need­less to say I am less than thrilled about the wait time. How­ev­er, even being made to wait a stan­dard preg­nan­cy term for my vehi­cle would be bear­able if the OEM and the leas­ing com­pa­ny would sim­ply com­mu­ni­cate more.

Dur­ing my nine months of wait­ing I lit­er­al­ly had no proac­tive con­tact from either the OEM or the leas­ing office that han­dled my pur­chase. Now I’m not talk­ing proac­tive con­tact in the form of prod­uct rec­om­men­da­tions, ser­vice offers, or trav­el incen­tives, as men­tioned in my pre­vi­ous post on lever­ag­ing assem­bly wait time; I’m talk­ing about not receiv­ing basic sta­tus updates on vehi­cle assem­bly. I was left in the dark won­der­ing where my new baby was, and if it would ever be deliv­ered. It was always on me to con­tact the leas­ing agent for updates, and it left me increas­ing­ly frus­trat­ed as time wore on.

Not hav­ing infor­ma­tion on the sta­tus of one of the largest pur­chas­es of a consumer’s life erodes the trust that the con­sumer devel­oped with the brand dur­ing the dis­cov­ery and pur­chase phas­es of the trans­ac­tion. All the mar­ket­ing dol­lars spent to lure and close a cus­tomer have now been wast­ed as they tran­si­tion from being a full-on advo­cate for the brand to being skep­ti­cal of the brand and its com­mit­ment to sat­is­fac­tion. The cus­tomer feels used.

The cus­tomer must come first. Even after a pur­chase is made through a leas­ing agent, the OEM is still respon­si­ble for ensur­ing that the brand expe­ri­ence is a pos­i­tive one. This can be accom­plished through high­er stan­dards of cus­tomer com­mu­ni­ca­tion for leas­ing agents licensed to sell a spe­cif­ic brand, with in-depth train­ing and guide­lines as to how meet those stan­dards.

The OEM also needs to own the col­lec­tion, analy­sis, and dis­sem­i­na­tion of infor­ma­tion about the cus­tomer to the leas­ing agents. It needs to enable them with the back-end data and con­nec­tions to proac­tive­ly reach out to cus­tomers with rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion and offers. The leas­ing agents do not have the bud­gets, tech­nol­o­gy, or end-to-end online con­tact with the cus­tomer to accu­rate­ly obtain or ana­lyze their behav­ior, so this must be pro­vid­ed by the OEM, along with guid­ance on how to use it suc­cess­ful­ly.

Final­ly, the OEM must be will­ing to reach out to the cus­tomer direct­ly, par­tic­u­lar­ly when it comes to delays or oth­er prob­lems with the vehi­cle pur­chase. This can go a long way in pre­serv­ing the cus­tomers’ pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence because they feel val­ued by the busi­ness and the brand.

This. Is. Urgent!!!

Busi­ness­es need to act now as peo­ple will not wait patient­ly for months on end with no com­mu­ni­ca­tion what­so­ev­er on their new pur­chase. Con­sumers already expect bet­ter inter­ac­tions, more fre­quent updates, and more per­son­alised involve­ment based on brand inter­ac­tions in oth­er areas of their lives, and they are show­ing fatigue with the auto-pur­chase expe­ri­ence.

OEMs need to pro­vide the dig­i­tal foun­da­tion to allow leas­ing agents to get cus­tomer-spe­cif­ic data and com­mu­ni­cate it in a time­ly fash­ion. This is impor­tant to address all of the pain points described in my pre­vi­ous blog, “Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ence in the Auto­mo­tive Indus­try,” which cov­ers some of the issues cap­tured in the joint study by Deloitte Dig­i­tal and Adobe.

Brands that adopt new tech­nolo­gies to address these pain points will see huge suc­cess in the com­ing years, where­as those that fail to adapt to the consumer’s pre­ferred busi­ness expe­ri­ence will expe­ri­ence a loss in sales, reduc­tion in cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, and a decline in brand loy­al­ty. The time to act is now—not in nine months.

2 Responses to Lack of Communication Causes Frustration for Auto Buyers

  1. Kalyan Krishnan says:

    A wise per­son once said we need to be more objec­tive ori­ent­ed rather than object ori­ent­ed. We are not in tech­nol­o­gy for the sake of tech­nol­o­gy but for solv­ing real world prob­lems and mak­ing cus­tomers hap­py. The hap­pi­er our stake­hold­ers, the more pros­per­ous the busi­ness. In a sit­u­a­tion where Sales/Marketing are apply­ing pres­sure to main­tain rela­tion­ships with their accounts and when engi­neer­ing is receiv­ing requests from mul­ti­ple cus­tomers, the role of the prod­uct own­er becomes crit­i­cal as a leader to dri­ve pri­or­i­ties, align team goals and deliv­er val­ue while main­tain­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions among all stake­hold­ers.

  2. Total­ly agree. Same expe­ri­ence here. Not even one email from the OEM dur­ing wait­ing time. How­ev­er, the deliv­ery meet­ing was straight for­ward and well orga­nized.
    In fact the car itself is being pro­duced with­in three days. The time before is the wait­ing quere before actu­al pro­d­u­ca­tion, this time after is trans­port.

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