“It’s Time to Enter a New Era”
Carsten Wreth, Vice President, Customer Experience Europe, talks about exciting customer experiences,
employees as our most important customers, and his first car – a Kadett D with a individual sound sytem.
1. Mr. Wreth, I would like to know how you would describe a positive customer experience.
Simply put, what makes a customer’s experience a positive one is when his or her expectations are met. I myself firmly believe that most of our customers are very realistic in terms of what they expect coming in. There should however be one or two instances where their expectations are exceeded, when they are pleasantly surprised. That’s what is needed to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the experience.
2. Is it no longer enough to ‘wow’ consumers just by offering them a great car?
Expectations have changed over time. Every brand offers a high level of functionality. This means positive customer experiences have to do with much more than just the product itself. It begins with how the brand is positioned, no matter where that may be. Surely, dealers play a major role here. What can I expect to find at the dealership when I stop by the first time? A row of cars with not a salesman in sight? Or am I greeted by staff ready to serve me?
3. Seeing as you just recently joined Opel and still have a relatively low profile, I imagine you have gone to check out the situation firsthand for yourself…
Yes, that I have indeed. I am actually just now in the process of buying an Opel for my wife and me. I visited dealerships in various towns and have to say that the level of service they offer varies from location to location. At the first dealer all that I awaited me was a row of cars parked side by side at an angle to each other. After a bit of searching, I was able to spot a few salespeople, but they were busy with other customers. After fifteen minutes, I drove off the lot without anyone coming to see if they could be of any assistance to me.
4. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Opel. That being said, we aren’t the only ones facing this problem. The same could be said about our competitors’ dealerships as well…
Well, that’s good to hear.
5. Pardon me?
What I meant to say is that it’s great to hear that I’m coming into a situation where I can really affect change. Let me explain. I come from the telecommunications sector where everything is much more customer-centric. Companies know a lot more about their customers and use this information to present them with new service packages tailored to meet their needs before they even come to them asking for it and before their contract is up. A strategy like this should work in the automotive sector as well. What do we do in the six to eight weeks after the customer has placed his order and is sitting at home waiting for his new car to arrive? Absolutely nothing.
6. And what could we be doing in this time?
We could notify customers that their car is set to go into production today. Or that the vehicle is now at station A and will then be moving on to station B where component C will be installed. We could also send them actual photos. That’s definitely within the realm of what’s technically possible at present. All this heightens the customer’s anticipation for the arrival of their new Opel and makes for an exciting experience in my eyes.
7. How good is our service app?
Apps like MyOpel are great. They provide customers with all they need to know about their vehicle. There you can find user manuals or schedule a service appointment. The only group of users not overly enthusiastic about apps is older buyers. That being said, they are keen Internet users, reflecting a general society-wide trend. This all means we have to continue efforts to further develop both platforms, i.e., the website and the app.
More at the link above.