Five customer experience pitfalls

And how to avoid them


Key takeaways

  1. The automotive industry is changing rapidly, putting pressure on players to get the most of their CX programs. Nevertheless, most CX programs have common flaws that significantly depreciate the value of intended business outcomes.
  2. In order to be a success, CX programs must deliver on three key areas: Cross-journey tracking, frontline employee engagement and data transparency.
  3. Research shows that especially five pitfalls hinder CX programs in succeeding within those areas, which, at best, results in incremental improvements in customer loyalty, and thus the value of CX programs to automotive players.

The customer experience in Automotive is more important than ever

The automotive industry is currently facing unprecedented changes, ranging from the escalating competition on EV market shares to supply chain issues and increasing competition from changing consumer preferences. In such an environment, customer experience is more important than ever for the success of automotive players.

However, many players fail to achieve the desired outcomes of their CX initiatives due to various challenges. In this post, we will discuss five common pitfalls that hinder the success of CX programs in the automotive industry, and how they can be addressed by mastering cross-journey tracking, frontline employee engagement and data transparency.


Lacking data transparency

CX programs in the automotive industry are complex. The ability to properly present the right data to the right people is key to a CX programs success, but at the same time often a challenge that automotive players are not able to properly solve.

Data spans across e.g. dealerships, models, regions and customer segmentations. Not being able to easily break down data across all parameters and present customized views to every level of the organization is a common pitfall that greatly hinders the efficacy of CX programs.

Ultimately, data transparency can lead to a more effective CX program and greater buy-in from frontline employees who get relevant data presented at the right time and can see the reality of the program reflected in the data.


Just complying with OEM CX requirements

A common pitfall for automotive OEMs is being too obsessed with the experience of completed sales and workshop visits. They have set out clear targets and bonus programs for CX on completed sales and workshop visits, but often neglect other areas that are extremely important for the customers.

The sales and workshop visits are naturally a central part of the automotive customer journey, but having a too narrow focus on these touchpoints, automotive players fail to consider customer experience the way customers do – across the entire journey.

For example, sales departments are often remunerated based purely on completed sales and the experience hereof, thus only focusing on cases where sales staff actually succeed with making the sale. Test drives and offers accounts for more than 80% of customer interactions in sales departs but are very rarely part of performance evaluation and bonus programs. Consequently, most sales departments become too obsessed with chasing incremental improvements in success cases, when in reality the truly impactful improvement areas may lie within the customers that did not purchase a car to begin with.

To avoid the pitfall of being too obsessed with individual touchpoints, a comprehensive view on the full customer journey must be adopted. Following the example above, measuring CX across across sales, test drives and offers in sales departments allows for identifying root causes to issues and in addition optimizing actual business outcomes such as conversions rates, which is not possible when only focusing on the sales experience alone.


Fragmented priorities

Frontline staff in the automotive industry navigate in an increasingly complex flow of information and requirements in CX programs.

With several brands with differing requirements and initiatives across touchpoints, they are often bombarded with an overwhelming number of improvement areas and best-practices.

Nevertheless, many automotive players fail to focus and prioritize the most important efforts and actions to take to improve customer and business outcomes.

Without a clear shortlist of the most impactful improvement areas and actions, frontline employees lack focus and lose precious time trying to do everything at once. At best, trying to do everything at once dilutes the impact of initiatives and results in mere incremental changes. At worst, CX programs demonstrate no gains in customer and business outcomes and lose sponsorship across the organization.

A central capability to succeed with CX initiatives is being able to identify efforts that will result in the most meaningful customer and business outcomes, and subsequently, prioritize those efforts on every level of the organization.


Not celebrating successes

Another common pitfall for CX programs in the automotive industry is the failure to celebrate successes. Often, CX programs focus solely on taking action to address dissatisfied customers, while overlooking the need to recognize and learn from the achievements of satisfied ones.

Learning from and addressing dissatisfied customers is important in improving the service level towards customers. After all, the greatest effect on overall CX comes from avoiding dissatisfied customers. However, solely focusing on addressing negative cases is an unmotivating experience for frontline employees that may hinder change and ultimately the impact of CX programs.

It is therefore key to also celebrate success cases with positive feedback loops and acknowledgements. For example, gamification that aims to celebrate milestones, recognize consecutive top ratings and acknowledge progress in important areas are highly engaging and motivating for frontline employees.

By celebrating successes and motivating employees to achieve their goals, CX programs enjoys more support that ultimately leads to a more engaging and successful CX program.


Failing to link CX performance to concrete business outcomes

Many customer experience initiatives are ineffective because executives fail to directly link frontline staff efforts to concrete business outcomes.

Without clearly demonstrating how a better experience will drive increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, and subsequently better business results, CX programs are likely to lose sponsorship and frontline motivation for such initiatives is likely to depreciate.

Still, being able to establish such a link is notoriously difficult even for well-established automotive players, which in turn, reduces CX programs to a game of chasing a number instead of chasing desired business outcomes.

This ability to clearly articulate how a CX effort will lead not only to more satisfied customers but also to better business results, is a skill that must often be intentionally developed.


Talk to Kasper Lykke Pedersen to learn more on how ag analytics turns customer feedback into predictive CX actions with the help of cutting-edge AI technology.

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