A study by Salesforce indicated that 76% of customers in the automotive industry think it is vital for salespeople to help them fulfill their needs and not just make sales. To create sufficient customer experience in the automotive industry, brands need to build trust with their clients. A good customer experience benefits include increased customer acquisition, better customer engagement, and reduced cost of service and marketing.
Benefits of Focusing on Customer Experience
- Customer centricity enables businesses to understand their consumers better; hence, reducing costs used in marketing that come as a result of guessing the consumer needs. A customer experience-focused approach consists of built-in checkpoints that help businesses take a customer-centric approach in marketing. In traditional marketing, companies launch products blindly without understanding the consumer requirements, which leads to more spending in advertising and marketing. When businesses collect user data, understand market dynamics, and develop business analytics, they increase sales, lower costs, and boost customer satisfaction.
- Businesses rely on their customers to spread word-of-mouth about their shopping experiences and the business. A Nielsen study shows that 92% of customers rely on recommendations to buy a product. Businesses use their social channels to cultivate customer trust and build a long-term relationship with the client-base to get word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Great customer experiences develop a basis for brand loyalty, which increases customer retention rates. Customers are willing to pay more for a good customer experience, and businesses that provide customers with value in interaction during the purchase process earn their loyalty.
Pitfalls of Not Focusing on Customer Experience
- Businesses tend to focus on only the negative feedback from dissatisfied clients. Customer-centric companies need to also focus on positive client feedback to build on their valuable insights. Clients who give positive feedback are ambassadors to the business. Focusing only on the negative might result in a business discontinuing a product that maybe is liked by a majority of customers. Sharing positive feedback boosts the business’s self-esteem, improves business reputation, and increases revenue through more sales.
- The whole organization should be involved in customer experience strategy development and implementation. Most businesses tend to leave the job to only one department. Every section of the firm needs to understand the customer experience strategy, the dependencies, and their roles to implement it effectively.
Customer Experience in the CAT Industry
Case 1: Hart Research
- When Caterpillar wanted to introduce portable generators to consumers, they created a prototype but still had unanswered questions about market expectations. Caterpillar approached Hart Company for a customer experience strategy. Hart needed to learn what consumers thought of the Caterpillar brand to successfully launch the new CAT home and outdoor generators. Hart conducted a fact-finding assignment to inform each step of a consumer launch from product development, sales, distribution, to creating a new customer-centric firm.
- Hart company used the secondary and primary research results to segment the target audience, understand the drivers of customers’ decision-making process and establish messaging that best resonates with customers at the different buying stages. Information collected to inform the customer experience strategy included lifestyle information, media habits, shopping preferences, demographic data, and how consumers would use the products. From the research, the customer decision journey was mapped to identify consumers’ thoughts and feelings at each step of the decision-making process. This data was then used to create a brand message.
- Hart company conducted user-testing research to better understand consumer’s perception towards the use and functionality of the CAT RP Series of portable generators. It was established that some features on the prototype were not worth to be aligned to the CAT brand. The findings were used to enhance and refine the final product to maximum potential, acceptable in the market. The data collected informed product packaging, in-store collateral, displays, and “store-within-a-store concept” strategy for selling portable generators.
Case 2: The Age of Smart Iron
- The Caterpillar company launched a program called “The Age of Smart Iron,” intended to transform the heavy equipment industry through digital connectivity to improve customer experience. The Chief Marketing Officer of Caterpillar company, George Taylor, stated that the firm has always used innovation and technology to solve customers’ pain points.
- Caterpillar uses technology to connect the entire fleets, analyze data, and create services that help its consumer base run, grow, and innovate their businesses. Caterpillar used the Age of Smart Iron program to enhance the CAT Connect Technology by ensuring all engines, machines, smart devices, trucks, drones, and light towers share data on one platform. This arrangement enables users to gain the maximum benefit from their CAT equipment through the tools and resources they are provided with.
- Caterpillar also collaborated with companies that provide high-level data analysis to gain customer insights to improve customer experiences. Customer experience has improved, and Caterpillar’s clients get quick ROI (return on investment) as the Smart Iron helps them predict and respond promptly to issues that affect safety and efficiency in the equipment. The CAT Connect platform provides a user-friendly method to interact with the customer’s fleet.