Cars, Costs, and Customer Experience Management
April 24, 2014
By: Paul Barner
2014 has already been brutal for the automobile industry.
Multiple millions of dollars have been paid out to settle lawsuits about faulty equipment.
A billion (yes, with a “B”) dollar fine has been imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for covering up product defects.
Recalls, which have become the lesser of two evils in comparison to the potential fines, are on a record-breaking pace for the year, with over 13 million units recalled so far.
To say that product issues have been costly for car manufacturers is a severe understatement.
But what if there was a way to detect problems earlier and prevent those excessive fines while protecting your brand ? Listening to customer feedback can act as an early warning system. Notes from customer contact centers and dealership repair centers may contain the first whispers of an issue. Complaints might start to creep in on review sites like Car Talk, Edmunds.com or Kelly Blue Book. Unhappy customers will certainly start to talk about their problems to their friends and contacts over the vast expanse of social media like Twitter and Facebook.
Of course, finding those first few complaints and detecting a trend can be a challenge. One or two customers complaining about a problem at one of your repair centers might not be enough to raise a red flag –it’s not until you can see that the same problem is starting to be reported at all of your contact centers that you know you have an issue that you must address.
Similarly, it is easy to miss a tweet or a post with a negative statement about your brand’s brakes, seatbelts, or ignition, even though it is crucial to identify those sorts of problems before anyone gets hurt.
This valuable information scattered through your customer feedback is a strong argument for implementing a formal, disciplined Customer Experience Management (CEM) program that puts the tools and processes in place to listen to everything your customers are saying, in every channel, and to uncover trends and dig down to the root causes.
Having early notice of potential problems gives you a chance to take corrective action – fixing the issue, sending alerts, and, if necessary, instigating a recall – before injuries or damages become a crisis, and before NHTSA gets involved.
You not only save yourself money, but also demonstrate to customers and to NHTSA that you are doing the proper due diligence to address problems and reduce potential injuries. Having a CEM initiative, with the solutions in place to do analysis intelligently and thoroughly and then implement effective actions based on the insights garnered is the best way to avoid another disastrous year like this one has been so far.
To learn more about how a global automotive manufacturer implemented a CEM program to detect issues in our case study: Proactive Monitoring to Quickly Identify Customer Issues