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  • May 31, 2022

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Customer-centric approach is the new key to automotive success

In today’s highly digitalized world, the auto industry is going through a remarkable shift in the terms of manufacturing and overall customer experience. In the not-so-distant past, car manufacturers focused completely on selling their marque products packed with the latest innovations and engineering capabilities and ensured: reliability and superior performance for the customers.

These features are relevant even today and matter to the customers, but they are not the only thing that a customer wants. Especially OEMs are facing a new battleground where high-tech innovations like AI and tech-enabled electric vehicle companies have an upper hand: Customer Experience.

Post pandemic the world has transcended to a more digital way of doing their day-to-day chores. From ordering groceries, and medicines online to having digital interactions with car showrooms they look for easy reliable alternatives. According to Google Trends, around 60 percent of buyers under the age of 45 are likely to purchase their next car online.

They are also interested in online services and contactless sales. The majority of these customers do not want to go through the tedious process of going to service centers and car showrooms for mundane services. Rather they prefer to choose real-time customer service and switch to other brands in no time if they don’t get a seamless experience across channels.

The world’s leading EV companies like Tesla have successfully tapped into the zeitgeist. The auto giant sells direct to the customers and allows them to buy a car with fewer than ten clicks. Its high-tech website provides every minuscule detail of its range of cars to the customers and allows them to pick their favourite with no price haggling. Similarly, China’s NIO also sells direct to customers through its website and app.

Both of these companies follow a strong customer-based model and offer a range of services including add-on, and convenience where just a click on the app can bring someone to charge the vehicle on the spot.

All these advancements have altered the customers’ behaviour where they are no longer looking for buying cars that will last for 5 years or so, but a smart device on wheels that caters to all their needs ranging from work, socializing, and entertainment.

With the world moving rapidly towards electric, autonomous vehicles, OEMs need to bring this considerable change if they intend to keep pace. There is no denying the fact that company transformations are slow and hard. At present, they are even harder when the future is uncertain and resources are very limited to know where they can place bets.

Many OEMs find it difficult to bring an overnight change to their approach toward customers but they will need to rapidly discover and provide their customers with high-tech refined solutions that thrill the customers and provide them with new avenues of revenue generation.

The CEOs and CXOs of leading OEMs need to come together and bring a policy change and find ways for reaching new scales. They need to be more data-driven and capture customer experience in detail, measuring it more accurately than they ever did. All these changes cannot be avoided if OEMs want to make a steady lead from engineer-driven products to customer-centric innovations.

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