AM Online

Guest opinion

  • Opinion 30 Mar

    With the UK government considering whether to bring forward a ban on the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars to 2032, Ana Ramirez Aguirrezabala, international head of auto at market research company Simpson Carpenter, argues that the UK’s political leaders need to do more to persuade consumers to give electric vehicles (EV) a try.

  • Opinion 27 Mar

    Professor Jim Saker is director of the Centre for Automotive Management at Loughborough University's Business School and an AM Awards judge. He has been involved in the automotive industry for more than 20 years.

  • Opinion 23 Mar

    Agile and innovative companies are marked by their ability to react to change in markets and environments and that has never been more true than during the current COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

  • Opinion 20 Mar

    While Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is still producing cars in the UK (for now), the rest of the UK mass auto industry has effectively shut down, as the devastating economic effects of coronavirus unfold across Europe, disrupting supply chains and dramatically reducing demand.

  • Opinion 18 Mar

    With the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic impacting global supply chains, concerns are growing that some automotive OEMs could be forced to switch components or find alternative sources of supply.

  • Opinion 17 Mar

    As the ‘social distancing’ measures introduced to help limit the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus start to bite, it is inevitable that those vehicle showroom and workshop facilities that remain fully open will experience a reduction in consumer footfall.

  • Opinion 3 Mar

    Maximising social media as a customer service channel, guest opinion Automotive companies were early adopters of social media, and historically were in pole position for promoting their products through these platforms. Yet research from SocialBakers reveals that they may have been slow to realise their full potential as customer service channels, with just 30% operating a dedicated social media service account. This represents a missed opportunity for the automotive industry. Working alongside other service channels, social media can form a key part of the customer experience mix, as a key tool in supporting the customer journey. In addition to helping to generating loyalty, it also has the potential to boost the bottom line – companies that do leverage their social channels see revenue per contact improve by 6.7 per cent year-on-year through up-selling, cross-selling and overall reduction in customer churn. Managing the customer journey: from awareness to advocacy Through simple steps, social media can be an effective means of nurturing consumers through the key stages of the customer journey, through from awareness, purchase, retention and brand advocacy. Here are five potential scenarios where social media can make a difference: 1. Build awareness Make it easy as possible for customers to find information about your products and brand. In the earliest stages of their journey, proactively sharing features, hints and tips is a simple way of boosting brand awareness. Social is also a space to be creative – sharing varied, multimedia content, such as videos, infographics and images, carries strong visual appeal, and is a simple way of boosting higher engagement by ensuring you stand out to potential customers. Channel-specific strategies can deliver even stronger results. Working with Instagram influencers, for example, provides an opportunity to leverage the power and reach of social media. A high-profile figure sharing a positive experience will achieve broader cut-through and a more diverse audience than the brand’s channels alone. 2. Encourage consideration through a product launch Customers regularly turn to social media to help them make a purchasing decision, checking product reviews and asking questions to brands directly about particular products. Building anticipation through a new offer or launch within a dealership, and offering incentives to engage and learn more, can help strengthen the bond with potential customers. 3. Capitalise on opportunities to up-sell Customers will often share positive experiences or their love for particular brands and models on social media. Engaging with these posts – for example through arranging an appointment with a dealership, or offering a test drive – is an easy way to boost the chances of purchase. 4. Boost retention through effective complaint management The customer journey doesn’t end with purchase – engagement and support after a sale is crucial to maintain loyalty. This is particularly true of complaints, where a negative experience risks permanent damage to a customer relationship. Speed is of the essence here – customers expect any query made via social media to be answered within 30 minutes, but SocialBakers research show the average for the automotive industry is 12 hours for Twitter, and 48 hours for Facebook. 5. Drive proactive engagement to build a community of advocates Social networks are a community – and this is an opportunity that automotive brands should capitalise on. Through sharing interesting stories and engaging with fans, it’s possible to build a network of advocates to amplify positive messaging. Maximising impact through at 360-degree view Social media is most effective when used as part of a suite of customer service tools, and plays a key role in forming a ‘360-degree view of the customer’. This enables dealerships to provide the highest quality customer experience through bespoke, personalised communications, developed through capturing data from across every customer touchpoint across every channel and interaction. Hosting social media channels as part of a centralised customer services platform, underpinned by artificial intelligence (AI), allows brands and dealerships to build a holistic profile of customers with details from buying history to vehicle preferences, and even details such as family size. AI can then be used to generate ‘next best actions’, recommendations aligned to objectives on how best to serve customers. This in turn helps to inform social media interactions, allowing them to proactively tailor the customer journey through positive and productive dialogue, and make it simple for buyers to switch from one channel to another with no drop in service quality. The automotive industry is continuously challenged to demonstrate added value in order to boost sales. Effective use of social media channels is a simple means of enhancing the customer experience through consistent, personalised customer service, nurturing the purchasing journey by boosting loyalty, and building relationships that endure for the long-term. Our approach to social media customer service and the key steps for ensuring success are detailed in our recent whitepaper, along with an in-depth case study of the work we have delivered for a French multinational automobile manufacturer. Author: Parham Saebi, customer service solutions director at Arvato CRM Solutions UK

  • Opinion 18 Feb

    The Government has recently started consulting on bringing forward the ban on petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2035...or perhaps even 2032.

  • Opinion 13 Feb

    ​Motor traders have faced a dual challenge in the last year or so, reviewing their affordability assessments to meet new guidance from the FCA at a time of economic uncertainty.

  • Market Insight 10 Feb

    January’s usual flurry of new car discounts appear to have failed to generate the “boost in fortunes” usually delivered by the first month of the new year, according to Rupert Pontin, director of insight at Cazana.

  • Opinion 10 Feb

    The period since the referendum has been a turbulent one for UK manufacturing and especially the automotive industry.

  • Opinion 7 Feb

    The internet has changed the way we act as consumers with digitally delivered convenience becoming a game-changer in how we expect products and services to be supplied.

  • Opinion 5 Feb

    ​The announcement that the UK government is bringing forward the final date for the sale of fossil fuel powered vehicles to 2035 is without a doubt a laudable commitment.

  • Opinion 24 Jan

    The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said, as part of its 2018/2019 Business Plan, it would strive to investigate the effectiveness and impact of its interventions into certain markets and industries.

  • Opinion 16 Jan

    Last month, Zoopla's founder launched Cazoo – a doorstep car delivery service offering free seven-day trials, which has all the hallmarks of being the automotive industry’s answer to Amazon.

  • Opinion 15 Jan

    This year, 2020, is essentially ‘Year Zero’ for EVs in Europe and many expect to see a rapid increase in electric vehicle (EV) production from here on in.

  • Opinion 17 Dec

    The Conservative Party’s overwhelming General Election win means that the UK will leave the EU on January 31, 2020, and enter into a transition phase. That much we know.

  • Opinion 11 Dec

    ​For years there have been prophecies of doom for franchised new car dealers.

  • Opinion 28 Nov

    The British automotive industry has again offered up a stark warning on the impact of a No Deal Brexit.

  • Opinion 11 Nov

    ​James Bond’s favourite carmaker Aston Martin Lagonda last week recorded a £13m loss for the last quarter, pointing to tough trading conditions in the UK and Europe along with disappointing sales of its Vantage two-seater sports car.