Strong Telematics Requires Strong OCM
Customer Experience (CX) is a combination of three key items:
The delivery of products and services that customers use
The processes in which they engage
The people they encounter via delivery channels.
CX interactions are increasingly being delivered by a human-machine interface (HMI) instead of via in-person interactions, and most frequently on a mobile device.
In an industry that is already struggling to maintain meaningful, regular, and frequent contact with customers, there is a real risk of losing control of key opportunities to define a unique brand experience. User experience (UX) on mobile and in-car devices is supposed to enhance engagement with the brand. And given the ubiquity of these interactions, delivering meaningful telematics solutions is an integral part of the overall customer experience.
When the emotions these brand encounters generate are ones of bewilderment, disappointment or sheer frustration, they create negative perceptions and barriers to loyalty that are hard to overcome. This is especially true when customers’ expectations of what should be possible with technology outstrip the telematics and infotainment system offerings of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
When telematics doesn’t deliver, the finger pointing starts!
There are many reasons for the misalignment of customer expectations and telematics solutions. Some relate to the speed with which mobile technology development is overtaking OEMs’ new product development cycle. Others relate to safety and privacy issues that impede the deployment of telematics technologies that are otherwise technically feasible.
The fact is that the telematics world is not a perfect one. Connected technologies of varying and rapidly changing capabilities are now a permanent feature of the landscape. It therefore behooves all those responsible to work together and proactively manage technology integration into the automotive customer experience. In order to accomplish this, all telematics functions at manufacturers, vendors, and dealers need to be sharpened. Otherwise, OEMs face disillusionment and dissatisfaction that damage both revenues and brand reputation. The key to delivering an effective telematics program within this landscape lies in effective resource management.
Resources across the organization must be created, mobilized, and engaged effectively to address problems sooner rather than later. Only then will the huge telematics investments being made be effective in the marketplace. However, even with proper resource alignment there are still challenges that must be addressed in order to deliver strong telematics solutions.
First, there is a skill-and-will issue among dealers. Dealer staff churn (particularly in sales departments) works against building in-house subject matter expertise and product knowledge at dealerships. Moreover, dealers have yet to experience the promised benefits that telematics will eventually offer in terms of driving revenue. In fact, for many dealers, telematics is seen as a hindrance to their business – at best something they tolerate and expect others to take care of.
Underlying this is the second and more systemic problem of aligning OEMs and their vendor partners with the goal of creating strong telematics user experiences. Telematics has grown increasingly complex as a result of expanding service offerings and vendor choices, but this has often come at the expense of value to the end customer. To combat this trend, OEMs need to align teams that have typically existed within functional silos.
Align for success
The Organizational Change Management (OCM) needs for all stakeholders are huge, but all too frequently overlooked or ignored by management. This is generally because establishing strong OCM is a daunting task and doesn’t fall under the purview of any one department or executive.
Even though OCM is a big issue to tackle, failure to take action is guaranteed to undermine OEMs’ abilities to achieve their telematics goals. By contrast, those OEMs who embrace the challenge will dominate customer mindshare and assume a position of industry leadership. Here are five focus areas to align for success:
Assess technologies from the customer perspective to understand where they fit in the customer journey and where they create value. Formally mapping the customer journey will identify pain points and opportunities to create brand-defining telematics experiences.
Equip yourself with strong diagnostic and collaboration tools to enable development of customer-centric solutions. Build customer collaboration environments to co-create solutions with customers that are guaranteed to be well received in the market. Then, utilize performance monitoring systems and metrics to examine and refine in-market performance of your products and solutions.
Appoint a leader of the Digital Customer Experience who is empowered to work across R&D, Product, and Operations silos to address market needs. This role will address the current gap between brand promise and the digital experience. Leaders in this space must have responsibility and authority to align corporate priorities and resources.
Dedicate time and resources to educating dealers on your telematics strategy, their role in defining the telematics customer experience, and the business benefits to them. Dealers are the spokespeople and first interaction points between customers and your telematics solution – neglect them at your peril.
Invest in outsourced partnerships for telematics elements requiring a level of specialist support that in-house teams are unable to provide. This encompasses technology, process, research, and marketing partners. Leveraging partnerships will enable you to consistently deploy the necessary resources and expertise to address telematics issues while still allowing in-house resources to focus on core business activities.