Automotive CRM at the heart of digital transformation

How should automotive CRM evolve to cope with the digital transformation?

For a long time, the importance of the Customer Relationship was underestimated by automotive players, whether brands or dealerships. But with the emergence of CRM (Customer Relationship Management), knowledge of and proper management of customer relations has become a strategic issue. Faced with the digital transformation facing automotive players, this tool is once again evolving. The importance of the Customer Relationship, the evolution of CRM and the emergence of 360° CRM: discover how automotive CRM is changing in the digital age.

The automobile, a sector lagging behind in terms of the Customer Relationship

In the automotive world, the Customer Relationship was a secondary issue for a long time. There were two main reasons for this. The automotive market was buoyant and dynamic for many years. Therefore, changing the way brands interacted with consumers did not seem important. Moreover, the differences between OEMs was based more on the intrinsic qualities of each model: performance, design, brand image, etc. But when, in and around 2008, the automotive market declined and became more competitive, OEMs were faced with a major problem: how can we reach and win over people we don’t know? Once this question was floated, the Customer Relationship became a central issue for car brands and dealerships. But damage had already been done and the tardiness was proving difficult to make up for. A study by Argus in 2016 also pointed out the poor management of the Customer Relationship on the part of the automotive industry: 25% of dealerships did not have any fixed standards for customer relations; traditional channels (telephone and land mail) were still the preferred sales tools; 95% of dealers believed that it was up to the OEM to manage customer relations; social networks were used only by a tiny number of dealers. To make matters worse, the automotive world is currently facing a new change: the evolution of CRM in the digital age.

CRM, a tool that evolves with the digital transformation

Whereas customer relations were previously carried out through traditional channels (telephone, land mail, appointments in dealerships, etc.), 2014 marked a radical change in terms of CRM. It was at this date that digital channels overtook traditional channels. Therefore, social networks, websites, mobile and email have become of major importance in adapting to new consumer behaviours. A digital transformation that the automotive industry has had difficulty keeping up with. As proof, as recently as 2016, a full 25% of the groups were not running a modern CRM solution.

Moreover, until recently, handling the Customer Relationship in the automotive world consisted solely of entering information into an Excel file. But with the multiplication of communication channels, CRM has become cross-channel. This new practice consists of listing all the information relating to a given customer in order to better analyse and understand his or her behaviour. And contrary to what many dealerships may think, it is not only up to automotive groups to manage this revamped Customer Relationship: as the last point of contact with the consumer, the dealership has to have complete control of its customer relationship. To achieve this multi-channel CRM, several tools have been developed, including CRM360°.

The 360° CRM: a new tool to get to know your customers better

Faced with the digital transformation and the multiplication of points of contact with consumers, CRM must now be global. This is why a 360° approach is now the best solution to enable dealerships to fully control their customer relations. The first advantage of such a tool is the ability to create a central marketing base. By listing all the information about your customers, this tool offers the advantage of a global vision and the ability to create elaborate and precise targeting. The 360° CRM also makes it possible to carry out advanced marketing campaigns, choosing the most suitable channel and evaluating the effectiveness of the means deployed. Going even further, DataCar allows an automatic use of certain communication supports according to the calendar.

In addition to creating value, a 360° marketing database offers a better follow-up of the buying process.   From the first contact to the final sale, including the creation of the lead in the database and possible follow-ups, the entire relationship is normalized. The customer experience has become a priority for the automotive industry; it now seems essential to have perfect knowledge of the consumer in order to better target communication. This is why 360° CRM is the best way to face the digital transformation that is taking place in the automotive world.

Although the automotive world is lagging behind in terms of customer relations, the digital transformation gives the sector the opportunity to completely rethink its CRM. Offering the ability to adapt to new communication channels and even to take full advantage of them, 360° CRM now seems to be the best solution to redefine customer knowledge and customer relationship management.

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