HOW TO BY THE EXPERTS ON AUTOMOTIVE DIGEST
LONDON, September 2014
Car manufacturers and dealers are on the cusp of reporting the ‘best year’ since the start of the 2008 banking crisis and the biggest sustained period of growth for a decade; the challenge now is to find and develop new ways to maintain and build on it.
As with many things these days, the Tech Industry has a solution; not from their microprocessors and computers, but from their corporate culture.
Corporate Culture, at least when it is working correctly, is often ‘cited’ but rarely ‘sighted’ and often talked about, but rarely identified; what we do know about is its impressive and far reaching effects.
Tech firms have evolved not just a different way of thinking about their corporate culture, but have undergone a complete lifestyle change; one which assesses, measures, benchmarks and reacts to behavior holistically, indiscriminately and in tune with real, measurable causes and effects, embodying an ethos of Corporate Social Responsibility. At the risk of over simplification; it’s about ‘loyalty.’
Tech firms view loyalty as a two way street and a matter of mutual, free informed choice; a source of exponential growth and opportunity running through both ‘internal’ customers (employees, their friends and families) and ‘external’ customers.
As a result, within Tech firms, staff turnover, dissention, disengagement and disputes, along with external customer complaints are seen as serious business and the cause of urgent enquiry. Not just to mitigate the risk of internal ‘brain drain’ but in order to understand, quantify and reduce the loss of customers, recommendations, morale, referrals and reputation. It is not a route to reprisals, but a source of information and a Key Performance Indicator.
In effect, Tech firms focus ‘benchmarking’ towards the circumstances surrounding ‘when things go wrong’ together with, or, dysfunction as a forward thinking measure of potential capacity and capability; the very opposite of ‘Car’ firms who benchmark using historical information of what they think they’ve done right. For example, Tech firms benchmark the reasons behind why customers don’t make repeat purchases and the percentage of non-loyalty, whereas Car firms benchmark the percentage of loyal customers who make repeat purchases.
When we realize this difference, it’s easy to see how the ‘Car benchmark’ becomes a glass ceiling focusing on what ‘we did to get 35–50%’ and trying to do more of it, rather than the Tech view of understanding why there has been a 20–35% loss of loyalty and doing less of it!
For Car firms, a change in the way that they benchmark successes and failings are a real ‘Customer satisfaction’ survey, reaping tangible, quantifiable benefits which will translate to a potential 50% increase on 2014 within two buying cycles- five to six years.
About the Author:
Philip Harmer is a Partner at Stormcatcher LLP, Barrister, International Commercial Arbitrator, Mediator and Corporate Culture Architect. Author and Speaker on Corporate Culture with expertise in the Automotive, Retail, Construction, Property and Financial Services industries.