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The 2008 global financial crisis hit banks and other financial institutions hard. The deep disruption catalysed many companies into action, adopting agile ways of working and creating exciting new digital customer experiences we now take for granted. Consequently, the financial sector is well placed today to deal with future disruption, particularly the new players that came into the market.
Fast forward to 2021, with the Coronavirus crisis continuing to batter car dealers, the similarities are there for all to see. What can dealers learn from earlier business crises?
Innovate quickly, improve constantly
The fundamental lesson is that staying competitive depends on innovating rapidly and improving continuously. That’s why many organisations are shifting to agile, flexible, iterative processes, which are proven to transform business operations and deliver new capabilities.
Originating in software development, agile ways of working can now be implemented in sales, marketing, supply chain management, human resources or any other business function. With business agility, everyone involved in providing solutions uses agile processes to deliver innovative and high-quality products and services faster than the competition.
New digital customer experiences needed
In the car retail market, the health crisis has sharply accelerated the trend towards digital channels and superior customer experiences in the digital space. Many customers dip in and out of the physical and the digital expecting a seamless purchasing journey, reflecting the need for smooth, efficient and integrated omni-channel processes.
While many dealers have ramped up their adoption of digital technology, much more can be done. By transforming their systems and business models to focus on the end-to-end customer journey from both a technology and business model perspective, dealers can substantially improve all their major sources of profitable growth: new car sales, used car sales, after sales, service and mobility services.
Four streams for transformation
For many dealers, the journey to transformation will begin by addressing four streams:
- Make key data work harder by unifying, simplifying and analysing it: Cleansing, enhancing and consolidating data will enable better customer insights, save marketing costs and enable the flexible targeting of offers.
- Enable digital customer experiences through digital marketing: Creating personalised, real-time customer experiences calls for close management of channels and touchpoints.
- Revitalise sales processes for more personalised, successful end-to-end customer experiences: By redefining the engagement and sales process at every customer touchpoint, dealers can identify points of friction and create more innovative customer experiences.
- Transform business models to become more customer-centric: From the highest levels of management, an agile mindset needs to be encouraged.
The dealer landscape is changing, with ongoing consolidation, new sales and communication channels, new forms of mobility and rising customer expectations for more innovative products and flexible offers such as subscription-based services. Against this backdrop, dealers today enjoy significant entrepreneurial opportunity to develop a compelling data-driven business in all car sales processes.
While adopting full business agility is a major undertaking, the process can be broken down into discrete stages that achieve significant benefits along the way. The time to begin the journey is now.
As one of the world’s leading business and digital consultancies, NTT DATA has many years of experience of helping organisations in many different sectors navigate today’s world of fast-growing technological complexity, ever-rising customer expectations and rapidly changing business environments. You can read NTT DATA’s full white paper ‘Transforming the Car Dealership Customer Experience’ here. If you are interested in finding out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.