A new study by the BearingPoint Institute outlines ways to enhance the OEM aftersales service through the development of a seamless, personalised customer journey

London/Frankfurt, May 9, 2017 – Authorised or independent car service centres – a number of factors come into play in the aftersales market when car owners consider this question. The BearingPoint Institute, the research arm of management and technology consultancy BearingPoint, investigated aftersales service in a new study conducted with over 1,000 premium car owners in the UK, Germany, and Spain. The study, “Connected aftersales”, highlights that OEMs are facing ever growing challenges, with the majority (42%) of younger owners of Audi, BMW and Mercedes vehicles, as well as customers with a monthly income of less than £2,500, choosing independent car service centres.  

This study should put OEMs on alert and force them to take action to improve customer loyalty. Competitive advantages could be realised by digitising the customer journey and seamlessly integrating customer touchpoints offline and online. OEMs need to actively adapt to changing customer preferences and demands. One component of this is to propose personalised and digital offerings and develop long-term customer retention by offering excellent service

Sarah-Jayne Williams, Partner, BearingPoint

The BearingPoint Institute analysed the interactions of OEMs with customers and developed a blueprint covering the five phases in the aftersales customer journey.   

The five phases of the customer journey

The first phase lays the foundation for a proactive customer relationship. At this stage, car owners are being informed when a service is due. With the help of new technologies in connected cars, this information can be received in real-time so the car owner is being informed via email, phone or App about the upcoming service centre visit. In our research, a clear majority (70%) of respondents say they value personalised offers for their vehicle.

In the second phase, full transparency on booking costs and the service offering are critical decision factors for customers. Almost three in four survey respondents (71%) say they want a detailed estimate of costs before they book a service. 64% of younger drivers (up to 25) wish to compare offers prior to scheduling an appointment. With the help of data collection via diagnostic systems in connected cars, OEMs could give their customers a quick and easy overview and therefore offer additional value.

The next phase focuses on the service quality and personalised solutions for customers during their visit. When choosing an authorised OEM service centre, customers - particularly in the premium segment - expect to be attended to in a pleasant atmosphere and advised by personally on their specific needs by a customer consultant. In the UK and Spain, the service experience is being ranked as the most important criteria when choosing a service centre, whereas in Germany the distance to the service centre is the decisive factor.

The fourth stage of the customer journey illustrates the potential for OEMs to anticipate customer requirements based on connected car data. Today’s vehicles can predict maintenance requirements, and as soon as OEMs receive information that service is or will be needed, they can pre-order required parts and save their customers time.

Even after a service centre visit, there is still more work to be done by OEMs to build loyalty and ensure repeat appointments. The study suggests a follow-up communication keeps the customer happy and helps with improvements by gathering feedback. One in two respondents (51%) consider the opportunity to give feedback important, and this is particularly the case for younger drivers.

The study results show that OEMs need to hold their ground in the tough competition with independent service centres. OEMs must digitalise the end-to-end journey, integrate with the dealer network and enhance the experience by harnessing customer and vehicle data. Through connected cars, a much richer data set is available for OEMs and dealers to create a personal and relevant relationship with customers.

Sarah-Jayne Williams, Partner, BearingPoint UK

The full report can be found here:

About BearingPoint

BearingPoint is an independent management and technology consultancy with European roots and a global reach. The company operates in three units: Consulting, Solutions and Ventures. Consulting covers the advisory business; Solutions provides the tools for successful digital transformation, regulatory technology and advanced analytics; Ventures drives the financing and development of start-ups. BearingPoint’s clients include many of the world’s leading companies and organisations. The firm has a global consulting network with more than 10,000 people and supports clients in over 75 countries, engaging with them to achieve measurable and sustainable success.

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