Car Dealers Learn from Tech

What Car Dealers Can Learn From the Tech Industry


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.


Con­tact details:

Philip Harmer

SOURCE:  Storm­catch­er



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