How to use data to create the ideal customer experience

Chanice Henry

Image of automotive customer

At the Omnichannel Exec Forum, Marion Humeau - Global Head of Customer Experience and Digital Innovations, Groupe Renault explored how data can be used to create the ideal customer experience.

Marion pinpointed the stakes are high for generating customer loyalty within the automotive industry as each year 43 per cent of automotive clients switch car brands.

Customer data and analytics

Internally people can speak in different languages when it comes to customer experience, but it is important to have a clear, common and simple vision outlined for the end to end business.

When they analysed customer journeys to build a common reference system, Renault discovered a non-linear mix of interactions offline - online - instore etc. The manufacturer embarked on keeping things simple with key experience markers, breaking internal silos and building an engaging experience. Focus was set on how to target, engage, convert and build loyalty.

Once the clear vision was set, it became important to conduct a deep dive to prioritise elements so they could strategically differentiate on the points that mattered the most, allocating a level of superiority to each touch point.

For this they evaluated customer expectations for their brand at each touch point. This was compared to what their competitors were providing, to highlight where Renault was over-performing or underperforming and so maybe needed to catch up with the competition. This analysis also revealed: opportunities to differentiate, investment optimization, where to increase reactivity, unnecessary investments, untreated high potential data and other elements.

We spoke to Marion to find out more.

What has been the biggest challenge for providing a great service or customer experience?

Marion: “The automotive industry is very old and very product centric. We are struck in full force with this new requirement from the customer and we know they will change brands if they don’t find the easiest way. They don’t understand why it is more complicated to buy a car than an apartment for instance.”

You mentioned in your session each year 43 per cent of automotive clients will switch car brands

Marion: “Yes, exactly. So one challenge is presented by new commerce. Digital marketplaces which offer a really smooth omnichannel experience and also services which sell service and usage only. We know they are giving a more seamless, convenient customer experience. So we have to differentiate and build a customer experience that maximizes the perception of the utility of our brand and product.

“To do that, we must have a common corporate vision and build the end-to-end customer journey. With each step of the journey we must associate a specific business objective and prioritise, because we have a lot to do, limited budget and have to prove the return on investment.

“Deployment is another key challenge when it comes to rolling out a corporate vision across various countries and partners. We are the manufacturer, but then we have external parties like suppliers and dealers. We are faced with the question of: how do we deploy this so every salesman in every dealership in every country is on board?”

New disruptors are certainly shifting expectations. So where should businesses be in 2019 looking at omnichannel? What is the baseline customers expect?

Marion: “There are three main expectations. The first one is efficiency. The customers want to have clear answers for their questions, for this we need to have dynamic content, dynamic pricing, offers and etc. Artificial intelligence systems can anticipate and automate the response needed.

“Then it’s a question of emotion. Why should the customer pay €25,000 for a car? Well they need to be engaged and really buy-into the investment. For this we have the personalisation challenge and how to strengthen engagement at each step instead of just focusing on the transaction – whether they bought or not. It’s taking things that step further to see how much engagement was built, to boost loyalty.

“The third part is the desire for trust and transparency. Relating to GDPR. The customer has to understand why they will give over their information and they must trust the provider. We know that in the automotive industry, we have to be really clear on the information we give and be trustworthy at each step.”

Read: How to be a CX leader: Lessons from LinkedIn

Do insights reach the relevant units and get democratised to the people that need it at Renault?

Marion: “It is one thing to capture feedback, but you also need to set up global governance structures inside the corporate divisions. The customer experience is not a problem to be solved by merely one department or stakeholder. As a business you must run towards a common vision and common goals.

“At Renault, we have quarterly meetings to prioritise campaigns, follow the roadmap and celebrate CX successes. Here we refer to customer feedback and data. We started from the traditional point of qualitative and quantitative surveys and then progressed to a scoring technique to evaluate ourselves against our competition.”

Yes, I found that fascinating in your session that you identify the points in the customer journey where you are underperforming or over-performing against your competitors to pinpoint if there is an opportunity for differentiation.

Marion: “Yes. Then, moving from surveys to observations and data, we tried to build a real-time barometer. At each point of interaction, we ask our prospect/consumer to supply very brief feedback: What were your expectations, did you get the information you needed easily, etc.

“We also analyse the verbatims to track improvements with on convenience levels, the effort score and the satisfaction of our prospect and consumer.”

Have you seen any customer experience trends, demands, expectations that are unique to customers within countries in EMEA?

Marion: “We mapped the customer journey with the qualitative, quantitative survey in different countries to spot any differences. We looked at France, UK, Italy, Russia, Brazil and China. The first finding was that the steps in the journeys are indeed the same, but the weight of the steps are different.

“For example, in Italy and France, the exploration, research phase is longer and more important for customers in comparison to those based in the UK. This is because in the UK the duration of car ownership is lower, so the investment is lower and the research phase is seen as less crucial. 

“In Russia, they buy their car on stock – they want the car now. So the information relating to delay of delivery or the stock availability is very, very important because this is where they make their decision.

“In China, the connected services on board are crucial for customers, sellers in this country you need detailed information on this.

“The steps of the customer journey are the same, but the importance is different depending on the location of the prospect.

“Interaction habits can be different also. For example, it’s much more interactive in Brazil and China, with apps like WeChat customers are happy to chat with sellers. This is completely different to the more traditional interactions we saw in France, where customers visit the seller’s premise and don’t chat with sellers on messaging apps.

“Finally, the sensitivity of the data privacy can be different. For example, Germany it is very stringent, but data privacy is not a big problem in China.

“These elements can alter the solution, the tools, and the delivery that is best suited to that customer. Yes you have to leverage and take extra care at the steps that are of more importance for that region, but the global vision of the customer journey are the same.”