Demand for new organisational concepts - iic group study

iic group study: Customer-oriented, organisational structures of automotive dealers – Changing customer requirements demand new organisational concept

  • Customers call for a seamless buying and driving experience from OEMs and retailers – at all contact points
  • Changing information and buying behaviour of customers define complex requirements towards automotive retailers - retailers have to break down departmental thinking within the dealership’s organisation

Henry Ford said: “The sale of a car is not about closing a contract, but the beginning of a relationship.” Today we ask ourselves the question: How to create this “relationship” when selling a car? The answer is: By considering the customer as the centre of the organisation.

The new information and buying behaviour of automotive customers and their usage of different touchpoints when purchasing a car are the starting point for changes in automotive retail. The continuous reduction of retail touchpoints caused by longer holding periods and fewer maintenance services impede the access to the customer. The increasing use of the internet for a car purchase and the availability of information on mobile devices reinforce this trend. These new customer expectations make customer relationship management for dealers a more complex task than in the past. Although manufacturers have already started to implement new, innovative concepts in their sales organisation to match changing requirements, it is not clear whether it supports the retailers or withdraw their right to exist. This is a much discussed issue for premium and volume manufacturers worldwide.

To withstand the pressure for change and to survive in the marketplace of the future, the dealer has to focus on the customer, not the product. “A glance at the organisational structures of automotive retailers does not show the essential structural changes that are necessary with regard to the fast evolving customer requirements. New concepts that can exploit the existing market and customer potential via a stronger bond with the customer by means of personal relationships are needed” explains Thomas Hegger, manager at iic group.

The current study of iic group provides a profound analysis of the current customer requirements towards the automotive retail organisation and derives conceptual requirements of customer-centric organisation, based on interviews with industry experts. The findings generated two organisational concept approaches implementing cross functional structures on dealer and manufacturers level that both organizations are enabled to satisfy and retain customers along all touchpoints throughout the customer journey.

The results show that interface problems between sales and aftersales are the most important breaking point within the customer journey. The iic group study about “Interface-Management” already pointed out, that the greatest need for action is the optimization of the interfaces towards aftersales and service. Today, customers demand a seamless buying and driving experience over the entire customer lifecycle. “The most significant customer value at automotive retailers is the personal customer contact and the expert consultation. By applying these arguments, the dealership can limit customer fluctuation”, notices Igor Bonačić, founder and CEO of iic group. Cross-functional structures between sales and aftersales and the implementation of a new role, a centralized customer contact support adequate services and sustainable relationships with the customer. Furthermore, an organization like this needs to be based on aligned processes and IT-Systems, but also qualification methods.

To sum up: for the transmission of the customer promise (value proposition) at a dealership it is essential to set up a customer-oriented mind-set of the employees. A customer-centric mind-set is inevitable to redesign organisational structures of automotive retailers in order to ensure a holistic consideration of changing customer requirements and customer behaviour within the automotive retail organisation, which shall then be enabled to retain customers during their entire customer lifecycle at the dealership and the brand.

For now, the study exists only in German language. However, if you are interested in further details on the topic, do not hesitate to get in contact with iic group via: info@iic-group.com.

Your Contact

Thomas Hegger
Senior Manager / press contact
Tel: +49 89 248866-300