A new study by the BearingPoint Institute shows how to boost OEM service centers via a seamless, personalized customer journey

London/Frankfurt, May 9, 2017 – An authorized or independent car service center? 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 Germany, Spain, and the UK. The study, “Connected aftersales,” underscores that OEMs are facing ever-growing challenges, exemplified by the finding that 42% of younger owners (aged 26 to 35) of Audi, BMW and Mercedes vehicles as well as 44% of those with a monthly income of less than €3,000 choose independent service centers.

The study should put OEMs on alert and force them to take action to improve customer loyalty. Competitive advantages could be realized by digitalizing 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 personalized and digital offerings and develop long-term customer retention by offering excellent service.

Matthias Loebich, Global Leader Production Industries at BearingPoint

The BearingPoint Institute analyzed 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 informed when a service is due. With the help of new technologies in connected cars, this information can be received in real-time with the car owner informed via email, phone or App about the need for a service center visit. In the current research, a clear majority (70%) of respondents say they value personalized 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 booking 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, thereby offering additional value.

The next phase focuses on the service quality and personalized solutions for customers during their visit. When choosing an authorized OEM center, customers, particularly in the premium segment, expect to be attended to in a pleasant atmosphere and advised personally on their specific needs by a customer consultant. In UK and Spain, the service experience is being ranked as the most important criteria when choosing a service center, whereas in Germany the distance to the centers 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 visit to the service center, 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 car service centers. OEMs must digitalize 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: https://www.bearingpoint.com/en/our-success/thought-leadership/connected-aftersales-towards-a-new-customer-journey/

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 organizations. 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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