David Hart, Kia UK

David Hart Kia UK

David Hart

Customer Experience Manager

Kia UK

United Kingdom

Overseeing the customer experience for a nationwide chain of dealerships at one of the world’s leading car manufacturers, David Hart sensed that the traditional process of gathering and acting on feedback from customers had become protracted.

Acknowledging that too much of the feedback being gleaned was not providing the company with any insight into ‘real’ customer experiences, David and his team’s mandate was to strip the process back to its core.

Gone were practices such as mystery shopping and call critiquing. Replacing these modes of “artificial” feedback, was a more robust customer voice programme, involving post-interaction surveys, online reviews, and a single tech platform used across the business that collected and analysed the 1,000s of single pieces of individual feedback being received from customers, thus providing more valid insights and trends for the Kia CX team to be able to action.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, this new mode of garnering feedback proved invaluable, as customer behaviours shifted dramatically and car dealerships around the globe were forced to shut their doors for long periods of time. The removal of a bonus/margin scheme for dealers was another CX initiative that also proved invaluable and was seen as a significant move in the automotive sector, but which allowed dealers to focus on the customer rather than quick wins driven by financial incentive.

Such significant changes have understandably been met with questions from Kia’s UK dealers, however David and his team have deployed a full time, dedicated team of CX improvement managers who work directly with dealers, and coach the importance of focusing on customer experience across the dealerships.

The rewards have begun to show via NPS/overall satisfaction, as well as reputation.com scores showing improvements in recent years. The standing of Kia within external benchmarking surveys such as new car buyers survey, driver power, and the ICS survey has also risen steadily over time. The ultimate aim is to be regularly placed in the top three manufacturers in all industry and nationwide customer service surveys, something David and his CX team continue to work towards.

The no bonus/margin initiative was controversial but has been seen as the right thing to do by other manufactures and dealer groups, and our move to focusing on ‘real’ customers has subsequently been replicated by others in the industry. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery and I am happy with that explanation.

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David Hart, customer experience manager, Kia UK. Finalist of CX Leader of the Year 2021