Magazine article CRM Magazine

From Wreckage to Revival: Imperatives for CRM Leaders in the Automotive Industry

Magazine article CRM Magazine

From Wreckage to Revival: Imperatives for CRM Leaders in the Automotive Industry

Article excerpt

IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, transformation in customer relationships is creating an imperative for change in CRM strategies and capabilities. The shift is from distant relationships mediated almost exclusively by the dealership to intimate relationships achieved through multiple channels and constant interaction.


The challenges are considerable. But so are the opportunities.

Today's B2C customer is hyperinformed and hyper-influential. In the I auto industry, however, the customer makes a purchase only once every five or 10 years, with maybe a handful of buys in a lifetime. Thus, while the control wielded by the auto OEM is less than ever, the stakes are higher, due to diminishing opportunities for sales transactions.

The reason customers have achieved such empowerment is that they have become hyper-connected. The imperative for B2C industries has been--and continues to be--enabling communications and transactions across store, voice, portal, mobile, and social. Those industries have developed insight as the basis for personalized treatment.

Within automotive, hyper-connectivity creates an additional challenge: fulfilling customers' expectations that their vehicles will become extensions of their digitally connected lifestyles. In other words, the vehicle is no longer merely a transportation platform but also a commerce platform.

Enabling the connected vehicle raises technical challenges, but also commercial ones, in getting customers to cover the attendant costs. Technical solutions and commercial models are, however, available for overcoming these challenges. As they are implemented, the OEM (and/or its partners) can achieve control over the components of the vehicle, obtaining insight for product development and extending new service offerings to customers.


While in-vehicle customer interaction may be unique to automotive, omni-channel, knowledge-based interaction is not. CRM leaders in all industries are developing strategies and building capabilities to reach their customers across the range of available channels for communications and transactions.

In the automotive industry, however, success at commanding attention and securing investment from the organization is a new development. …

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