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Making connections to improve the brand experience

One of the primary goals of any company is synergy – connected thinking that links their business areas effectively and efficiently. For OEMs and dealerships, significant advances in vehicle technology are disrupting how vehicles are sold, owned, serviced and repaired. And at the heart of that is an explosion in the levels of connected car data – driven by a boom in EV sales – that is causing a sizeable shift in the aftersales market for OEMs. It is giving them access to information that will be truly transformative, as they transition from selling a product and service, to selling a brand experience.

Ford, for example, has just announced a collaboration with NXP Semiconductors that has the potential to reinvent how it interacts with customers and their vehicles, creating valuable data that will drive improvements across the business. NXP makes vehicle network processors that can rapidly send out OTA software updates and services and send the kind of deep data to the cloud that will prove vital in driving product improvements and supporting vehicle health management.

In 2020, global sales of EVs increased by a huge 40% compared to 2019. Even more recently, the global rental company, Hertz, has reached an agreement with Tesla to provide it with 100,000 vehicles. It’s indicative of the disruptive forces now in play in the automotive industry and how technology, and how we harness its power, is at the forefront of the new era of vehicles. It’s technology that enables ‘conversations’ – between car and OEMs/dealerships and OEMs/dealerships with consumers.

Ready access to connected car data will change the aftersales experience for vehicle owners and users by creating a set of analytics that will predict when cars require servicing or when parts are deteriorating or need replacing. This is valuable data that will help boost brand loyalty across these sectors.

An opportunity that comes with plenty of challenges

The true value of any data, of course, is not just how it’s harvested but how it is interpreted and analysed. Get it right, and it opens up new avenues to customer interaction like never before – interaction that is comprehensive, targeted and immediate. But there are multiple challenges associated with this:

  • Connected vehicles will generate terabytes of data each day. Companies will need to refine their ‘Big Data’ strategy to take best advantage of this data in order to add value to the aftersales lifecycle, like optimising parts planning, improving customer retention and reducing operating costs.
  • Real-time analysis of data is crucial, along with ensuring that security and privacy frameworks allow scalable delivery of “Information as a Service”. It means that OEMs and dealerships will need to invest in new data management plans to support increased volumes and guarantee that it remains accessible.
  • One of the biggest and most important challenges facing OEMs in this sector is making the right choice of technology partners. They will need to be data analytic leaders that also wield expertise in the aftersales field.
  • As well as choosing the right exterior partners, gathering the right expertise within the business – particularly when it comes to managing change – will be vital. Timely and widescale investment will be needed in new staff, or in creating new roles for existing staff across the aftersales functions.
  • Connected car solutions need to fit in with a customer’s connected lifestyle throughout their ownership of a vehicle. The customer experience
    will undergo a significant sea change, evolving from transaction-based engagement to always-on customer care.
  • Finally, not only do customers expect a joined-up experience, but dealership staff also desire full integration of connected car data across the aftersales ecosystem. That means finding ways to ensure that existing parts, service, DMS and CRM solutions work together seamlessly.

It’s estimated that within ten years, around 95% of new cars sold will be connected. And even as soon as 2025, it’s expected that there will be two billion connected cars on the world’s roads – cars that will ‘talk’ to OEMs and dealerships, creating data that will literally change everything for the automotive industry.

For an in-depth study into how connected cars will revolutionize the aftersales market, download and read Infomedia’s whitepaper:

Connected cars: how technology is driving new aftersales opportunities for OEMs and dealers.