Customer Experience Featured Article

Mercedes-Benz CEO Gets Tougher on Customer Service

 
May 01, 2014



Good customer service really does matter for companies that want to retain their clients. Many businesses now understand that not only a more efficient service, but also a good customer relationship management (CRM) is important to improve business processes, gain clients, retain existing customers and expand business. In fact, most companies rely on repeat business from satisfied clients and on positive word-of-mouth about their firm.


Whether in a call center or in another workplace, poor customer service can negatively affect a business in a variety of ways: It might alienate current customers or prevent from attracting new ones due to the delivery of sub-standard service levels. Customers who experience poor service often turn away and tend to warn others about their bad experience. Consequently, this may cause a loss in profits and could lead a company not to meet its financial goals.

Consumers are influenced by the type of customer service experience they have; therefore, the CRM experience should be the No. 1 focus of an organization that offers services and/or sells products. Customer satisfaction just happens to be a priority for Mercedes-Benz, the renowned luxury Germany automaker company, one of the best-known and established automotive brands in the world. This company not only focuses on delivering a product that meets customers’ expectations, but also strives to deliver quality customer service knowing it is key to long-term company sales.

The Mercedes-Benz dealers do what they can to provide customers with a seamless ownership experience. However, according to a post on Automotive News, disclosed on Monday of this week, although Mercedes-Benz finished with an overall record year – No. 1 in the luxury segment – and is starting strong in 2014, it has yet to see improvement on the customer experience side. With such a good reputation for the products supplied by the Mercedes-Benz Cars division, it would seem that poor service could make a profound impact on future consumer purchases.

Mercedes-Benz USA is planning to tackle the customer service issue and is asking its dealers to focus on increasing customers’ satisfaction. The idea is to get Mercedes-Benz dealers to focus more on the customer throughout the sale and service; customer-facing dealer staff needs to provide better quality in customer engagement that matches the one-of-a kind automotive experience Mercedes wants to provide.

When it comes to the customer experience, the post mentions the truth about Mercedes-Benz customer satisfaction. In spite of several dealer-training programs in recent years, and Mercedes-Benz having invested $40 million in 10 programs to improve customer service, it only moved up one spot -- to No. 8 -- in the 2014 Power CSI (News - Alert) survey released this month. Even with the company’s strategy of dealer profitability to improve the customer experience – where Mercedes-Benz compensates the top 70 percent dealerships with bonus money for delivering good performance – it still lacks the desired internal customer service level requested by CEO Steve Cannon.

Cannon was disappointed with the outcome of the survey that measures customer satisfaction with maintenance and repairs among owners and lessees of one- to five-year-old vehicles, and he does not intend to accept mediocre performance. As a result, he is “taking a hard line with dealers after the brand made little progress in the latest J.D. Power and Associates Customer Service Index,” affirms the post.

To better results, Cannon visited the six largest Mercedes dealers to brainstorm a series of programs that could help increase customers’ satisfaction. A new initiative will also oblige dealers to pay a consultant to visit their stores once or twice a year depending on their ranking position in the customer satisfaction score chart.

If consumers’ support and customer needs are not met and sustained, Mercedes-Benz auto dealers might end up losing clients regardless of the quality of their automotive products. That is why Mercedes and Cannon are taking a hard stand against mediocrity and complacency in customer care.  




Edited by Alisen Downey

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