How mobility is changing the automotive industry – part two

2 April 2014

Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a mobile phone? Probably not. How many people do you know that don’t have a car? Probably not many. You put these together – the phone and car – you have the potential to positively change how customers loyally interact with brands. That, at least, is the thinking of Audi, BMW, Land Rover and other manufacturers.

Not surprisingly, the automotive industry has openly embraced new technologies such as mobility in an attempt to get closer to customers. Yet, building apps for the sake of building them isn’t productive.  And this is what I have seen over the past few months as I visit clients and prospects around the world.

Every retailer and OEM is focused on creating a memorable customer experience across all touch points, from websites and showrooms to call centres and beyond. Connecting touch points is pretty straightforward from a company’s perspective.  Build a website, add a few call to actions and WAM – a seamless marketing exercise, right? Wrong. What is difficult is connecting these touch points from a customer’s point of view. This is also where brands repeatedly fail customers. 

In part one of this blog post series, I talked about the importance of connected data – bringing together multiple data sources and systems, including retailer DMS, customer relationship management (CRM), finance, service, warranty and digital.  Without connected data, retailers and manufacturers will always have an incomplete view of customers. This, in turn, puts the brakes on giving customers what they want – a truly seamless and personalised brand experience.   

To date, though the industry has rightly focused on building slick mobile apps, they are limited in functionally and value for both the customer and the brand. The reason is the underlying data used to power the mobile app is not connected to the plethora of information customers expect to have access to 24/7, such as, when it’s time to service a car. 

The same goes for sales, services and finance teams. Retailers and manufacturers are sitting on a gold mind of data that, if connected, and accessible by employees, would give them single tool to support and retain customers throughout the lifecycle of buying, owning and servicing a car.  

It sounds all good to be true, to be honest. Yet, it’s a reality. Today, for the first time, here is mobile app that works by connecting the customer and data from the customer’s car to a dealership’s internal information management systems. This gives retailers and OEMs a single view of the customer using one of the most popular technologies used by customers – the mobile phone.

Before I conclude, I thought you may find of interest an analysis of the mobile app market in the automotive industry. This visualisations shows you the sort of mobile apps brands have developed and for whom.  


What we have done is bring multiple apps into one. This has been possible because we focused on building a complete view of the customer using data, not technology. We also, most importantly, looked at the user experience of what customers seek in terms of information and services followed by what sales, services and finance teams require in order to live up to the expectations of customers. In doing so, brands are able to provide not just a superior customer experience but create uncompromising loyalty. 


About the author

Tom Cregg has been in the automotive industry since 1983, having started with Mercedes-Benz at its UK headquarters.  Since then, Tom has occupied a number of senior regional operational and management roles including with Daimler-Chrysler and SAGE Auto Group in the United States. 

Passionate about connecting automotive manufactures with their customers, Tom has been involved in developing some of the industry’s most intelligent business tools and e-commence systems designed to provide sales, marketing and services teams with a single view of customers.

Tom is a sought after industry expert, helping clients develop business strategies and technological capabilities to better identify and convert new prospects into loyal customers.   He believes the industry has much to learn from retailers including how to engage consumers across multiple touch points and channels including the internet, showroom and service centres. 

Tom is currently spearheading the development of an industry-wide business intelligence tool to connect multiple systems including customer relationship management (CRM) to change the way dealers create and manage sales and service customer experiences so brand loyalty drives sales.  

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