When the luxury car manufacturer Audi launched their first model of the new A series, the sales figure reached a completely new height. What was quite interesting for Audi to notice was an increase in sales for almost 60% within a gap of five years, of which 40% were repeated customers. What was the story behind their success? It started after a research work that showed they ranked last among all the luxury car makers who had satisfied and loyal customers. In order to stand strong and come back in the market, the senior management realized there has to be a change, and tried to reinvent the brand. The result is the stunning sales figure of the Audi A series and a dramatic turn around with superior customer satisfaction.
However, even though the customers were highly satisfied with all the vehicles that left the Audi factory, they were far from being happy with the service that dealers provided at Audi in Greensboro NC. While working on it, they realized, that creating consistent service across the network of franchised dealerships was key towards establishing the dependability of the brand for all the customers spread wide across. In order to make this particular program successful there wasn’t any need of intensive study or preparation, instead, what was needed was consistency in their service, and focus on the key areas that would help the customers get engaged with their services.
Most of the service centers now can be approached and appointments can be taken anytime during the operational hours. When the owners pick up their car, it is delivered in pristine conditions, and a detailed Audi repair carried out by certified technicians who even receive industry specific training. Once the dealers started having the Basics down, Audi immediate shifted their focus on building customer engagement- a strategy that could build a solid relationship with all their customers. It meant, not to just take care of vehicles, but also those who drove it to service center.
Audi had tracked down a long way to measure the parameters of Quality Work, and this rating system was actually intended to trigger the technical abilities in each of the workshops. It was an overall measuring system which reflected the customer’s feeling while having their cars serviced. Managing the expectations of customers do not require a huge amount of financial investment or even an expensive customer relationship management. All it needed was an attentive staff at every customer touch point. Finally, Audi was successful in highlighting the human dimension of customer experience, and a perfect combination of technical capabilities with humane behavior actually helped in keeping the brand’s promise.
The focus on managing the expectations and good communications at every customer touch point ensured a program at each of the dealerships to put substantial effort towards customer service. The new emphasis on communication had the practical implications for all the members working at the dealership, as they kept struggling with the impatience of their customers. Audi always knew that this straightforward formula of ultimate customer satisfaction will work, and hence designed programs that would reflect a smooth ride for customers.
Audi in spite of being a reputed luxury car maker lacked in delivering ultimate customer satisfaction, and hence designed programs to build a stronger customer relationship and a better hold over the market.
Richard Bradford is a freelance writer with years of experience in writing on various topics. He is a car enthusiast too and has experience of working with Audi dealerships earlier.