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AUSTRALIA’S automotive industry has continued to post disappointing results in a national customer experience survey, with the latest showing that it lags other industry sectors for the seventh consecutive quarter.

The survey, which encompasses 209  major companies across eight sectors, was held by  Australian customer experience (CX) consultancy CSBA and announced in its quarterly ‘SenseCX’ benchmarking program.

CSBA conducted extensive mystery shopping calls to evaluate automotive contact centre agent performance against its best practice SenseCX quality assurance framework. 

Its quarterly reports highlight specific areas of strength and improvement opportunities for automotive contact centres, comparing their performance to seven other industry sectors.

Its April Quarter survey said that the Automotive sector “along with superannuation, is the lowest-performing sector overall, and particularly in relation to the SenseCX index of Ease.”

SenseCX reports measure the quality of customer interactions with an organisation’s contact centre against three factors – Ease (effort expended to accomplish goals), Sentiment (how

the experience ‘feels’), and Success (goal accomplishment) – with independent assessments by CSBA specialists conducted via telephone conversations.

CSBA said that the Auto index score “is consistently the lowest among all sectors”. The benchmark is seven points lower than the top-performing sector.

In its ‘sentiment’ category – the category in which Automotive performs its best – Automotive’s score was 60 per cent in the April survey. This is just ahead of Telecommunications which is in the last position (for ‘sentiment’).

Overall, the report card said success scores for the Automotive sector “are poor.”

Automotive ranked eight points lower than the top-performing Education sector and only two points above the lowest-scoring sector, Superannuation.

With a gap of 30 points between the Automotive top performer and the overall top performer, “there is significant room for improvement across the entire Automotive sector,” CSBA said.

“Reducing the effort (Ease) required from customers during telephone interaction presents the greatest opportunity within the Automotive sector.

“Taking ownership of customer inquiries from the start of the interaction and focusing efforts on explaining key steps can significantly enhance the customer experience.”

CSBA said that while Sentiment was the highest-scoring index overall for the Automotive sector, “crucial behaviours to create a positive and personalised experience for customers are often lacking.”

“Establishing strong rapport and using the customer’s name are simple yet effective ways that the Automotive sector could elevate the customer experience.”

The scores for Success in the survey are also low for the Automotive sector.

In the five phases in the customer experience interaction process – Introduce, Clarify, Resolve, Close and Engage – CSBA said Automotive ranked last in three of the five phases.

“There is a noticeable gap in Automotive and the highest-performing sector (Education) particularly evident in the Introduce and Clarify stages that highlight areas that need improvement,” it said.

“In the Resolve phase, Automotive’s score of 47 per cent places it at the bottom amongst the eight sectors assessed, indicating room for enhancement in resolving customer issues effectively.

“Despite Close being consistently challenging for all sectors, Automotive remains the lowest performing sector with a benchmark of 28 per cent.”

In its summary, CSBA account director Tony Williams told GoAutoNews Premium that helping customers accomplish their objectives “easily stands as the primary area for improvement within the Automotive sector.”

Tony Williams

In addition, he said establishing rapport with customers to cultivate relationships was imperative for sustaining customer loyalty and trust.

Mr Williams said the continuing weak performance for the automotive industry was attributed to a number of factors.

He believed many automotive businesses had lost sight of the customer experience and are now focusing more on the product and increasing sales.

“That would be the biggest issue around the falling customer experience ratings of the automotive industry,” he said.

“Prioritising sales over service and delivering inconsistent experiences throughout dealership networks, is heavily impacting customer trust.

“Auto brands need to recognise that aside from product and price, the experience a customer has when dealing with a brand is absolutely crucial in building long term loyalty.”

By Neil Dowling

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