The Audi Experience: Climbing the Ladder to Customer Satisfaction

Consider this scenario: a company invests significant amounts of money to implement what appears to be an excellent CRM strategy, but it fails miserably. Sound familiar? Well it should, because according to reports, almost half of all CRM projects fail.

But why?  Here’s a clue, the technology isn’t the problem.

When luxury vehicle manufacturer Audi launched its new A-series in the U.K back in 1995, their sales were nothing short of spectacular. By 2002, Audi had sold over 65,000 cars with an impressive 40% of sales coming from repeat clientele. More importantly, the company had grown by 60% in just 7 years. So what what was Audi’s secret?

It all began back in 1996 when Audi ranked near the bottom in customer loyalty and satisfaction. So to ensure the successful launch of the A-class Sedan, Audi had to make sure that this dismal rank was reversed and corrected. Thus, an ambitious plan was developed to revamp Audi UK from the ground up by creating a superior customer experience. This is how Audi engineered its dramatic turn-around and massive drive in growth.

Put more simply, Audi realized that creating consistent service across its network of franchised dealerships was the best way to create a dependable brand experience for its clients. This way, even if an Audi-owner traveled from Los Angeles to San Francisco and their car needed service, they wouldn’t have to deal with varying service standards or working hours.  That’s how Audi came up with the ‘Service By Design’ program; a CRM strategy that would lead to resounding improvements in the delivery of brand promises which would echo across industries.

Needless to say, at the core of Audi’s success story is the fact that great customer experience drives growth and profits. The ‘Service by Design’ program wasn’t complicated nor did it take intensive study or preparation. Sure, it did involve the use of machines, but guess who was operating them?  Similarly, your company doesn’t need a fancy CRM program with all the latest bells and whistles. Instead, what your business really needs is a better understanding of what motivates your employees and how this will in turn affect customer experience. Improving the process design and strategy to ensure your “agents of change” are empowered, energized and personally vested, will determine whether they become your brand evangelist or detractor.

Empowerment is simple, really. Just make a complete list of everything your front-line staff cannot do to improve customer satisfaction without getting a supervisor’s go-ahead. You can ask your front-line to make the list. Take your time to scrutinize the list and do everything in your power to make it shorter and simpler. Where guidelines are needed, provide them. Where training is needed, train them.

In time, your team members will learn to make crucial decisions on their own which will in turn improve customer experience along the way. If your employees make a bad decision, give them a pat on the back for trying and help everyone learn from that mistake. Given that 89% of marketing leaders are expecting to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience in 2016, leaving things as they are at your front-line is not an option if organizational success and growth are your primary goals.

 

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