Complete the Journey to Get Ahead

Building a Formula One (F1) car is an intricate process; engineering, materials science, and cutting-edge software comes together as these machines are developed and designed from scratch each year – McLaren F1 team might change up to 70% of a car’s mechanical per racing season and is continually monitored with more than 200 sensors built in a car, generating 25 billion data points on a Grand Prix weekend.

Communication and collaboration of 1,000 plus member teams is integral to success, as the team continually measures, analyzes, and evaluates every detail with a maniacal focus on how the slightest modification of any part affects all other aspects and the overall performance as it rebuilds and fine-tunes these cars for a race.


Does that sound familiar?

Within a dealership, there is a magnitude of customer touchpoints which produce an abundance of data points for each interaction telling you how your team is performing.

The Customer Service Index (CSI) is an ongoing discussion in dealerships, across all brands. With this focus, you know which metrics your team members ‘drop the ball’ leaving your customers dissatisfied. When reviewing your CSI scores, the most logical next step is to create a ‘policy’ or training program around that underperforming CSI metric. However, when we do this (and only this), your team misses the big picture, and the customer will suffer somewhere along the way as the CSI metrics are all connected and impact one another. Just like the F1 team, one small change affects the performance of the vehicle; each CSI metric affects the entire journey your customer has with your dealership.


What is a Brand Experience?

I define the Brand Experience (BX) as the sum of all interactions a customer has with a brand, across all touchpoints and all phases of the customer lifecycle, including how customers perceive these interactions.

I want you to think of each CSI metric as ‘touchpoint’, or moment, in your customer’s interaction with your brand. Each one of these touchpoints affects the other, and when combined they create a start to finish journey, “the sum of all interactions a customer has with a brand”.

Ask yourself, does my team have an understanding of how each person/department/touchpoint affects the other? If the answer is yes; Bravo! If you have answered no, then you have some work to do.


Focus on the complete journey

While it is essential to pay attention to the details (or the one touchpoint that doesn’t seem to be working) you also have to look at how those touchpoints work together and contribute to the overall customer journey.

A preview of Foresters annual production report warns that in 2018 “30% of companies will see further declines in Customer Experience (CX) performance, and those declines will translate into a net loss of a point of growth”. Why? CX initiatives tackled low-hanging fruit to put early points on the board.

You will lose every time by only focusing on the ‘low hanging fruit’ or the CSI metric that is not performing; this is a ‘band-aid’ solution. Smart Dealer Principals will make CX an integral part of their overall Brand Experience strategy and identify how each touchpoint impacts each other and the Brand Experience, inclusively.


How to start the change

If you want your Brand Experience performance to be top notch and noted in that regard by your customers, you will have to work hard to ensure a seamless experience throughout their entire journey.  Here are four things your dealership can do to start the change and improve your overall Brand Experience:

  1. Review (or create) a journey map; bridge the gap between individually focused CSI metrics and a holistic brand journey.
  2. Change the conversation; When sharing CSI results don’t focus on a single metric; change the language, talk about the impact each touchpoint has on the other, not just the one ‘problem area.’
  3. Empower your team to make it right: We all drop the ball sometimes, we are human after all! It’s how we recover from the situation that will make or break the customer’s overall experience. Empower your team to ‘pick the ball up’ and make it right at every touchpoint in the customer’s journey.
  4. Be consistent! No matter what touchpoint the customer interacts with your team, be consistent with the Brand Experience you deliver! Remember this mantra: Every Customer, Every Time.

Step out in front of the competition; look at your dealership’s overall journey from 30,000 feet and bridge the performance gaps between touchpoints. And like the 1,000 member team focused on how to improve the performance of a F1 car each year, your team needs the same focus to enhance the experience you provide your customers.

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