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The automotive industry offers different opportunities how to minimise the effort of their customers – whether it is test drive at customer’s place or complementary pick up, this is certainly the way forward.

How has the global pandemic affected the way automotive industry had to adjust their customer journey?

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted economies and has affected millions of lives. It has impacted the buying behaviours of the prospective consumers and there by the automotive manufactures had to take blip or re-adjust their overall customer journey, right from the stage of awareness to taking delivery of the new car and servicing the car.

Going digital is the first and foremost thing which organisations have ventured into. The essential point of making the necessary information available to the prospect online and in an easy and understandable way. Customers prefer to do their first-hand research online to minimise the visits to the showroom. Many organisations were quick enough to re-organise their websites by facilitating customer to reserve or book the car online.

COVID-19 has also highlighted the significance of having the processes defined and being adhered to. Due to various lock downs and restrictions imposed by local authorities and government the working window have shortened there by making it more important to improve the productivity and efficiency.

Innovation is another important aspect which has become and inevitable part of the business strategy. Efforts need to be taken towards innovation as how sustainable solutions can be implemented to solve the current challenges.

Minimising the customer effort is one direction in which all the organisations have worked towards and have implemented some concrete actions which has also impacted positively on their business. Arranging the test drive at customer’s place, contactless new vehicle delivery, mobile service, complementary pick up and drop facilities are some of the few actions that would improve the ease of doing business from the customer perspective.

What are the crucial steps companies need to make when creating customer-centric culture?

  1. Defining or redefining company vision, mission & core values keeping customer at the centre
  2. Promoters or top management buy in
  3. Defining a road map [long-term and short-term]
  4. Building a core team which will be leading the implementation of the customer-centric road map
  5. Communicating effectively with the employees the vision, mission & core values of the company such that employees understand the ethos and demonstrate them in the day-to-day interactions with the customer at all the customer touch points

How to successfully map your customer journey and use the data for its improvement?

  1. The first step is to have a clearly defined customer journey in place
  2. It is important to have this journey communicated effectively with all the relevant stakeholders involved and under
  3. Define what are the key data points that need to be captured at different customer touch points and have the data capture process in place. It is important that all the data pretaining to customers are captured in one single system and every data that is captured has a use case to ensure that it is not just captured for fancy. Hence, it is important to have a CRM system in place which is utilisied by all the customer-facing stakeholders
  4. Periodic review of the data capture process and data quality audits for continuous improvement. Here comes the role of having a business intelligence tool. Such tools make the analysis very much efficient and quick
  5. Define the dashboards or reports which will display the summary of analysis of data and project them into a meanngful and actionable information
  6. There must be a process for conducting a root cause analysis and action planning to improve the gap areas identfied during the data analysis
  7. A structred and robust review mechanism is a must to ensure that Plan Do Check Act activites are happening continuously and yielding the desired results


Join Nikhil during our 8th Annual CEM and Customer Loyalty MENA Summit this November, where he will not only be sharing in-depth views on The Customer Journey: From the First Contact to Becoming a Happy & Loyal Customer but also chairing the event and facilitating the discussions!

Nikhil B KRISHNAN, Head of CRM and Contact Centre at BMW Group is a seasoned customer relationship and experience manager with 14 years of experience in the automobile manufacturing sector. Recognised for demonstrating a natural aptitude for identifying improvement areas and implementing measures to maximise efficiency. Nikhil is currently heading Customer Relationship Management at BMW Oman and spearheads the development and execution of initiatives to improve customer experience and loyalty. Nikhil has played a pivotal role in laying down the foundations of CRM and bringing the customer experience levels of BMW Oman to the global standards. He has also held leadership roles and significantly contributed to the improvement of customer relation practices during his previous stint with Toyota in India.  Nikhil strongly believes in sustainable and inclusive development for a tolerant and peaceful global community which will pave way for survival and growth of future generations.

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