Prediction: The future of CX in Automotive

What does the CX program of the future look like?


Key takeaways

  1. As the number of digital touchpoints in the automotive customer journey increases, customers place a higher importance on the few in-person interactions that are left.
  2. In a changing automotive ecosystem, one thing remains certain: Retaining your customers today will be the foundation to survive tomorrow.
  3. Traditional CX measurement systems will quickly become inadequate. The CX program of the future focuses on measuring across the journey, and will be precise, predictive and clearly tied to business outcomes.

The Paradoxical Future of the Automotive Customer Experience

Customers are increasingly demanding digital solutions throughout the automotive customer journey with brands and dealerships. Players that cannot meet this demand risk losing their customers.

In the meantime, customers value more and more the few remaining face-to-face interactions they have left. With the shift to digital solutions, however, the number of physical customer interactions is decreasing, and dealers have fewer opportunities to satisfy their customers face-to-face.

This – together with a changing automotive retail ecosystem, with new ownership models (e.g., shared mobility), and new sales models (e.g., direct to consumer) – puts dealers in a difficult position and makes them increasingly anxious about their ability to deliver 5-star customer experiences every single time.

Dealers will soon need to master new mobility concepts, further digitization, and other innovations. In the meantime, they will refine their current business model while helping usher in the next model. The good news is that enhancing the customer experience at every step of the journey is key to promoting both outcomes.

Customer Experience will play a much larger role in automotive

Automotive manufacturers have been used to compete largely on superior driving performance and vehicle reliability. An approach widely adopted by their dealerships. These qualities will naturally still matter, but they will be more of a qualifying factor. The real differentiator going forward will become the customer experience.

Dealers should perceive this as a massive opportunity. It is an area that they can start focusing on already tomorrow, and they will be sure that it will not only help them in the short term; it will be the foundation to build strong customer relationships in the new world of mobility.

In an industry that seems to be in constant disruption, one guess is as good as the other regarding which trends will matter and which will not. However, one thing remains certain: retaining your customers today will be the foundation to survive tomorrow.

The CX program of the future

If you start treating your customers well today, they will be your customers tomorrow too. This is the simple idea behind how a focus on customer experience can withstand and even neutralize some of the disruptive trends in the automotive landscape.

The CX program of the future will be characterized by the following attributes:

1. Covering the bases: Sales and Service measurements

In the automotive industry, measuring sales and service customer experience (CX) performance has been an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirement for years. Traditional CX measurement systems, however, will quickly become inadequate. The current CX measurements in the automotive industry are highly benchmark-minded and targeted towards being able to build a bonus structure. This approach will become inadequate when OEMs and dealers aim to turn customer experience into their competitive advantage.

2. Measuring performance across the full customer journey

Customers demand a seamless customer experience across the customer journey, and the CX measurement system should support this. It is simply not enough to just cover the sales- and service experience. The way of measuring sales, in particular, will change significantly. Today it is solely focused on the bottom of the funnel, i.e., those who buy a car. Here there is a need for a broader perspective that will include test drives and the offers that did not lead to a sale. This will connect CX directly to business outcomes like how it drives sales conversion, but also prepare the measurement for the future where new sales models will make bottom-funnel-only assessments less useful for the individual dealer.

3. Combining first-party data with AI to enable predictive CX

Dealers need to start leveraging the most valuable tool at their disposal: their customer data. There is a huge potential in engaging the existing customer base with a personalized approach that no competitors can match simply because they don’t have access to that very data. Having dedicated salespeople only focusing on existing customers will be the new normal. This might seem like a sales activity, and not a customer experience initiative – but it is both. The customers will perceive it as excellent service since the dealer will demonstrate that they know exactly what the customers want when they want it.

The ultimate goal is a measurement system that can identify specific operational drivers of the customer experience and enable predictive and personal actions that each employee or department should take to improve the customer experience. At that point, the CX measurements will track the transformation’s progress, revealing whether the changes made are the right ones or go far enough. It must be a continuous process, because customer expectations continuously evolve.

Ultimately, the CX program of the future will be precise, predictive and clearly tied to business outcomes. Evidence suggests that the advantages will be substantial for OEMs and dealers that going forward will prioritize creating a positive and memorable customer experience. Those who don’t will be bound to play catch-up in the years to come.


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.


The future of the Automotive Customer Experience

Watch this webinar to learn the secrets of CX success from VW Group in the Nordics. Guest speakers: Martin Nørgaard Knudsen, Head of Service & CX at Volkswagen Denmark, and Matti Sahi, Customer & Insight Manager at K-Auto.

Watch on demand >

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