Nissan drives trust, transparency and proactivity for CX excellence
“I believe there’s an equation we need to solve: the speed of interaction plus the quality of the interaction plus the quality of the answer will bring customer satisfaction,” explains Nissan’s Guillaume Langle.
“I think speed will be linked to simplicity,” said Guillaume Langle, General Manager – Customer Quality and Training at Nissan Europe, on the move towards greater speed of interaction within the automotive industry.
Langle is responsible for sales and after-sales retail processes for 2100 European dealers across 22 countries. He is tasked with upholding customer service quality for Nissan Europe, leading a Pan-European contact centre in Paris.
In this interview for CX Network, Langle talks about not focusing on a survey score but rather on customer satisfaction on the back of it.
SEE ALSO: The global state of customer experience 2018 [annual survey]
Zarina de Ruiter (ZDR): One of the challenges within CX today is that of survey fatigue. Customers get too many and they arrive at the wrong times. How do you measure customer feedback at Nissan?
Guillaume Langle (GL): The way we’re managing customer surveys and use their score is currently wrong. We should be surveying the customer for the sake of the customer’s benefit and not just to reach a score. Rather than having the score leading us to make decisions on paying bonuses.
By doing those surveys and putting money behind the score, you’re putting too much importance on the score itself and not enough on how to satisfy customers; we’re managing the mass rather than managing the individuals.
We are collecting a group of surveys and we are feeding back a score. But you get no leverage to go and fix a customer issue. The way we put money on surveying customers is jeopardising the way the scores are built. You probably have been asked when you were in a retailer: if you’re happy, it’s worth a ten; it’s not a nine, please put a ten.
There are even some data manipulations. You have dealers who only send data for the surveys from customers that they know would provide a good score, or they would put an opt-out on a customer they know would put a poor score.
The industry is lying to itself. After 40 years of having done that, it’s potentially time to go somewhere else. And technology and speed enables that. I believe there’s an equation we need to solve: the speed of interaction plus the quality of this interaction plus the quality of the answer. That will bring customer satisfaction. If you miss one of those three, then you’ve failed the customers’ expectations. That is something we need to really look into.
“You’re putting too much importance on the score itself and not enough on how to satisfy customers; we’re managing the mass rather than managing the individuals.”
ZDR: What technology or helpful tools are you using to be able to help the customer, rather than just get a score for the business?
GL: Firstly, it’s a matter of people. The tool is an enabler but the prerequisite is the people. With the same experience one customer could be happy, yet another one could be unhappy, because it’s very subjective.
If a customer says they’re not happy, you need to assess why they’re not happy. Is it due to the brand, is it due to a dealer’s experience, or is it due to a person in the dealership? Because you could have some people saying, yes, I like the experience but there was no fit with the employee because, again, we’re talking about subjectivity.
When a customer feeds back on the experience, then you can assess if it’s a corporate concern or if it’s a dealer concern. If it’s a dealer concern, the dealer has to fix it. If it’s a corporate concern, corporate has to help the dealer fix it. But, ultimately, the dealer needs to take ownership of solving the customer issue.
The dealer is the front end and we need to find ways to empower that front end to be able to fix those customer issues. How to empower the front end? We’ve got our customer service centre that works very close with the dealers. When I say it’s a matter of aligning the people, it’s the people from the call centre and the people at the dealership that need to talk to be able to provide the customers with the answer or fix the issue.
“When a customer feeds back on the experience, then you can assess if it’s a corporate concern or if it’s a dealer concern.”
ZDR: In addition to surveying customers, are there are any other ways in which you measure that feedback to inform that opinion on what the customers are actually feeling or doing with the organisation and how you should potentially change that?
GL: We are checking verbatims. We receive feedback from the call centre that sends through verbatim analytics and through our internal organisation called total customer satisfaction (TCS). A TCS team will run through the analytics to understand the customer’s feedback on production consideration and experience consideration.
They feed this intelligence back so that we can make proper actions. We then share the information internally with various departments. You can also measure your customer satisfaction through your cost of your warranty.
If you identify that on a specific product you have an increase on warranty costs on an item of your car or your product, then you know that potentially when this breaks down, customers are not happy. You don’t have to ask the customer if he’s happy or not, you know that he is not.
“We receive feedback from the call centre that sends through verbatim analytics and through our internal organisation called total customer satisfaction.”
ZDR: No, it’s just logical thinking.
GL: Exactly, because of on the product failure, we get this feedback from the warranty side, and then when we get sent those types of alerts, we crosscheck with verbatim at the call centre, and then we make a case. We’ve got to set up a structure where we meet cross-functionally and make a decision to fix that issue broadly. It’s not a one-to-one dealer/customer, but it’s with the tech there’s an issue, and we fix it.
That could mean doing a recall campaign; that can mean doing a technical service campaign, or giving some incentives to the dealers to do that servicing while the customer is maintaining the car and doesn’t know that potentially he could have this failure.
ZDR: Finally, what do you think is a big buzzword or trend that is impacting the industry today?
GL: I think the speed of interaction is going to increase. I could now buy something on my mobile phone and get it at home tomorrow. And then you go to a dealer, you pay €20,000 and then you need to wait for your car – it’s not prepared.
I think speed will be linked to simplicity. I would say the word is cleaning up the mess that we’ve created over the last years in many industries. When you see the complexity in many forms of retail business wherever you go; it’s very complex.
“I think speed will be linked to simplicity.”
ZDR: Do you think that level of speed is possible? People are getting these very high expectations because they order something from Amazon now and they can have it tomorrow, but that is not necessarily an experience that is translatable to buying a car because it’s a larger investment and there’s more involved.
GL: I think the customers understand that they can’t buy a car and get it delivered tomorrow, although I guess one day that is going to happen. What they don’t understand is if they’ve been waiting for the car longer than expected and they talk to the salesman, who tells them, ‘the system can’t tell me’, that’s something they don’t understand.
ZDR: So it’s about communication?
GL: Exactly, the way we communicate to the customer. It’s about building trust; it’s part of transparency, it’s being proactive with the customer.
ZDR: Building communication is where you can improve the speed of interaction. Is that what you’re currently doing as well, improving those communication channels and making it simpler for the customer?
GL: Not specifically in that way, but I think making our business with the dealers simpler.
ZDR: That makes sense, because you have that extra step?
GL: Exactly, it will then help the dealer be simpler with the customer. It’s really a cascading effect.
“It’s about building trust, it’s part of transparency, it’s being proactive with the customer.”