Luxury car brands such as Rolls Royce, BMW, Lamborghini, Porshe, Audi, Bentley etc. announced record sales this year. In the case of Rolls Royce for example, this year set the highest sales record in their 107-year history, beating the previous record set almost three decades ago. While you could almost hear the sound of the Champaign bottles opening up, one would wonder are car manufacturers ready for their biggest challenge yet – the customer experience of the after sales service.
Luxury car manufacturers have something to learn from cyclists. As an avid cyclist myself, I’ve joked with my friends that I laugh when I ride up the hill, as I know that a downhill coast will follow and I cry when I ride down thinking of the coming climb. Looking ahead, car manufacturers will have to realise that those record sales will translate into record visits to the service centres.
From our experience working with clients that serve high end customers, we know that they demand a premier service for the premier price they pay and don’t easily take “no” or “sorry we can’t do it” for an answer. While some manufacturers might think that they can handle the extra traffic by doing more of what they are currently doing, we would like to point some of the “extra” challenges they might experience.
There will be pressure on the Employee Experience
Eventually, more cars sold will mean more visits to service centres. The higher the service center volume, the greater the pressure on service center employees. If measures are not taken to improve the employee experience, there would be a risk that at some point employees will transfer their dissatisfaction to customers. “Happy employees, happy customers” should not be just talk. It needs to be a business imperative.
If managers decide to hire extra staff to tackle the extra workload, then considerations should be given to how the new recruits would fit the company culture and the importance of the customer experience should feature in their training. This might as well be a good opportunity to bring fresh “out of the box” thinking. For example, a car manufacturer we spoke recently told us that they recruited a person from a Michelin starred restaurant for their reception- rather than choosing a candidate with industry experience and that proved a game changing choice.
The little things will become much more important
The record sales have created a long backlog list of orders for some car manufacturers. In addition they will also have to produce spare parts, which have to be in disposition of the local service centres. This, as you could imagine, is very costly. Chances are that many service centres will struggle with the inventory management. So the question then becomes what could service centres do to improve the customer experience other than to increase the inventory and staff.
The answer is a focus on the little things in the experience. This approach is economical. Often little tweaks give the greatest returns. As an example, one of our most recent blogs (check it out here) discusses the emotional aspect of waiting in lines and a variety of straightforward solutions. Luxury car makers have long paid attention to every detail of their product, they now need to do the same with their service.