Posted on Dec. 2021 08:00:00
Avik explains how brands will need to shift from customer satisfaction to consumer advocacy in the years to come.
At the turn of the millennium, the biggest thing that attracted all automotive marketers was “customer satisfaction”. It was the gold standard for comparing brands on things like service quality, sales quality, and build quality. Measures like JD Power may not have gained a place in the minds of customers, but have certainly helped automakers improve service standards and vehicle quality.
Twenty years later, standards and metrics will change with changing decision-making and purchasing behavior.
The key pillars of this standard are “who” is measured and “what” is measured. Previously they were the “customer” and the “satisfaction”. Over the next 20 years, they will be the “consumers” and the “representatives”.
Consumer vis-à-vis the Client
Yesterday, you had to own a product to have an opinion on it. Tomorrow, opinion will be the result of factors beyond, such as word of mouth, opinions and content created around a brand and its offerings. Yesterday, it was about buying a product to find out. Tomorrow, it will be a question of consuming it to form an opinion. Yesterday was on the product. Tomorrow will be the solution. Yesterday, it was about a buyer, or a customer. Tomorrow it will be the consumer.
Yesterday, the aspects measured were directly related to the buying process or to the ownership. Unless you bought a vehicle and / or had it repaired, your opinion wouldn’t matter. Tomorrow your experiences will be measured without forcing you to buy a product. Your experiences such as road tests, shared mobility, and even vehicle displays will decide how you feel about a car brand. Yesterday it was about your own vehicle. Tomorrow it will be a member of your family or your network.
Advocacy for Satisfaction
Yesterday, you asked a customer about their level of satisfaction. The comment forms featured varying degrees of “smileys” to express your comments. Satisfaction is now a table stake without which a brand cannot survive. Tomorrow it will be a question of whether you will become an active advocate for a certain brand, putting your reputation on the line. Yesterday’s comments contained multiple questions on various aspects of satisfaction. Tomorrow it would be just a question: “Will you recommend this brand to your closest friends?”
Brands will first be tested and then owned, if at all. Brand advocacy will be the result of not only products and solutions, but also the ecosystem around them, for both prospects and owners.
Yesterday, it was all about customer satisfaction. Tomorrow’s success will be measured against consumer advocacy and the automotive marketer must prepare for it today.
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