Having just announced TTEC’s contract win with Volkswagen Group to deliver a five-year digitisation plan to transform CX we asked Iain Banks to tell us trends TTEC are seeing in the automotive industry.
As we head into 2020 rarely have so many challenges come together at any one time for the automotive sector. Right now, the typical manufacturer is faced with charting a course through a number of emerging issues, including increasing digital adoption, tariffs and global trade uncertainty, regulatory mandates regarding vehicle emissions, traffic congestion, and other issues, ride-sharing apps and shared ownership, and updating manufacturing processes and production methods.
Specifically the challenges we are seeing are an increasing pressure for cost reduction and improved customer experience (CX) across all channels, demand of electric vehicles to be met and ownership models shifting with the rise of the automotive ‘gig’ economy.
We have highlighted four areas of CX where automakers and dealers can greatly influence customer relationships: CX technology, analytics and measurement, associate empowerment and proactive customer strategies.
- Leverage the power of CX technology
In the European market CX software spend will increase from $34 billion in 2018 to $47 billion in 2022, and including IT services, CX spend in Europe will grow to well over $100 billion.
How is CX technology being deployed?
Initiatives such as integrated knowledge management or context-aware workflows link an OEM’s relevant back-end systems to support the provision of vehicles, service bookings and access to dealer and supplier networks. These form a foundation which can be enriched by speech applications and automation to deliver more complex self-service knowledge bases and RPA chatbots for rapid enquiry and resolution of customer issues. Companies can achieve additional benefit by offering these services through apps with gamification strategies in place to drive uptake with less linear CX.
However, launch of new technologies must always serve a business need and drive a delivered outcome and benefit. For example, bots can be an expensive asset if launched as a ‘Big Bang’ customer-facing solution. A less cumbersome and more impactful use of bots is to enable associate training first. This builds associate experience and tunes the bot’s system performance prior to the launch of the solution to customers. This builds confidence that the service can truly handle simple enquiries even before launch to ease associate workloads.
The use of technology should follow a repeatable cycle of assessment, design, testing, deployment and evaluation. This ensures any new design is fit for purpose and a proven ‘positive’ for the customer at launch.
- Move from reactive to proactive CX metrics
Data analytics around customer interactions is often limited to the assessment and reporting of operational effectiveness. Operational metrics measure efficiency, but not the quality of
the customer experience. There is no insight into why customers contact a company or what might influence them to increase share of wallet.
A more profitable use of targeted analytics is to understand customer intent and propensity to remain a customer, buy future vehicles and services or even recommend the brand to others.
Further, companies can get more predictive by deploying propensity models, measuring customer sentiment, or developing customer personas around common issues and needs. Machine learning and AI-enabled technology within customer systems may also be able to identify customer patterns across channels and business units to determine root causes of customer interactions that can be fixed. This will allow brands to prevent customers from contacting the company in the first place.
- Empower associates to focus on meaningful experiences
Automation, RPA, and AI are emerging as ways to move customer interactions to a lower-cost model of customer engagement. Aligned with this shift, the human element of customer experience remains critical. It is important to alleviate pressures upon the existing associate community to encourage them to be at their best during customer interactions.
Most associates perform against metrics reflecting production-line values; average handle time, time to answer, average hold time, etc. This results in a high burn-out rate as associates wrestle against unrealistic expectations. In addition, success is often rewarded with additional volume-based tasks. In an industry where average and seniority impact turnover rates (entry-level agents: 27%, intermediate agents: 20%, senior agents: 12%) it is critical to move associates up the value curve into more challenging roles so they are inclined to stay and grow with the company.
We recommend empowering associates with targeted training and adaptive technology so they can confidently own the customer relationship and manage transactions from receipt to closure. A mix of product knowledge, technical acumen, and soft skills are needed to create the ‘super-agent’ of the future who can serve customers in multiple digital and traditional channels with empathy and expertise.
Automation can be used for simple tasks so the associate is free to be more consultative with customers. When possible, they can also encourage the customer to use more self-service options for convenient and immediate resolutions.
- Anticipate customer needs to prioritise elements of successful CX
Enhanced use of data analytics will provide the foundation for the move to more focused and impactful customer initiatives. Create a new, layered view of the customer experience based on moments that matter to individual customers. By anticipating the reasons and timing of interactions, generated by known ‘triggers’ or events within car ownership (servicing, parts, recalls, etc.), automakers can deflect contacts to manage interactions more effectively and even prevent them from occurring with proactive outreach.
This ambitious approach to contact deflection can be aimed at reducing calls and moving towards digital channels and self-service. This can focus on moving customers into advanced vehicle usage without an increase in interactions. This movement to a proactive model of CX allows for economies of scale to be achieved.
For more information on how TTEC is driving digital transformation and omnichannel customer experiences for the world’s leading automotive brands, visit www.ttec.com/emea/