Customer Loyalty Is A Challenge In Auto Industry

by Priyanka Pugaokar    Jul 22, 2016

Jason Castellani

The after sales automotive industry is experiencing significant changes in terms of growth and market share in India. The industry is flooded with many players and hence, customer loyalty has become a crucial issue for companies to retain and increase their market share. Industries are leveraging on various technology tools to improve after sales business in order to attain maximum customer satisfaction. 

In a candid interaction with CXO Today, Jason Castellani, Partner at ATCS highlights the current trends in the automotive industry and importance of maintaining customer loyalty to grow in the business. 

Please give us a brief overview about your company and the key solutions and services you offer.

ATCS (Advanced Technology Consulting Service) is a business and IT consulting firm specializing in creating data driven decision making solutions for automotive and healthcare companies. We offer a range of services for customizing IT software solutions, creating data-driven decision-making tools, social media enterprise set up and IT staff augmentation. Additionally, ATCS specializes in designing concept solutions. This offering creates a competitive advantage for our clients, since they are now able to deal with one partner from the concept consulting stage, to design and ultimately solution development. Possessing over 20 years’ experience in our focus industries enables us to offer this full solution cycle of services.  

What are the main challenges faced by the after sales automotive industry? How do you address these challenges with your solutions?

The major challenges in the after sales automotive industry today include increasing revenues and maintaining customer loyalty. On the sales side of the business, the fight for market share has resulted in significantly decreased profit margins. Brands are now looking towards after sales for increased revenue opportunity, specifically in the parts area.  ATCS has spent the last decade assisting its clients in developing solutions that help steer the parts sales business in the areas of logistics, re-manufacturing, inventory management, parts turnover, fill rates, national accounts, captive parts, maintenance/wear and tear parts and parts target achievement.  

Market share can be gained, but if customers don’t remain loyal, it’s an exponential opportunity loss. After sales is the most important part of the automotive ownership experience in terms of maintaining brand loyalty. ATCS has worked closely with vehicle retailers and OEMs to identify areas of the business that can be improved to create the best customer experience. Our solutions emphasize efficiency in the workshop through mobile technical information delivery tools, targeted intelligent micro marketing campaign tools, social media integration, and customer survey management dashboards. 

Traditionally, the automotive industry has been process oriented leading to decades of data capturing. ATCS not only specializes in providing the tools that efficiently present this data to management in an effective dashboard, but they understand what information to display and how it should be displayed. As subject matter experts in the automotive industry, we can advise on what information drives your business, resulting in increased revenues and customer brand loyalty.  

What has been the impact of emerging technologies and trends like IoT, Mobility, Big Data/Analytics and Cloud on the automotive industry? 

All these technologies such as IoT, Mobility, Big Data/Analytics and Cloud technologies are required to be utilized today to stay ahead of your competitors. Any solution ATCS considers today, is assumed to be mobile/tablet ready whether that be a mobile responsive web design or operational specific application. Big data is a key driver in the ability to create high penetration micro targeted campaigns that not only consider captured data, but also social web data. Compiling, storing, matching and analyzing this big data in real time can better determine the most effective time, location and demographic for a campaign.  These technologies are critical to addressing the many challenges brands face to stay current with customers’ expectations. 

How are you incorporating some of these new innovations in the services you offer?

ATCS incorporates these innovations in everything we do. Mobile solutions enable technicians to operate more efficiently by feeding only relevant information to them wherever they are in the workshop. From a marketing perspective, we collect, store and analyze big data for higher penetration marketing through targeted micro marketing campaigns. Cloud-based services have become an option as companies move away from client-based installations with an eye towards lower cost IT infrastructures. Our focus is to build and deliver innovative, cost-effective, and quality solutions that ensure our clients remain competitive.

Tell us more about your focus on Social Media and Technology Staffing.

Social media is the primary area where now exists an enormous amount of external data which is considered public information. This poses tremendous opportunity to create more insightful data than ever witnessed before. There are challenges, both in terms of the breadth of information and complexity involved in creating the one customer. In the last few years, ATCS has been able to successfully develop services that not only capture the information, but more importantly match the information sources, analyze the data and produce the single customer record. With this robust customer information companies can now communicate with their customers in a much more effective manner, specifically targeting revenue opportunities in the areas of marketing and service campaigns. 

ATCS is also expert in developing social command centres, and setting up social media enterprise infrastructures that involves software identification, tool development, systems, processes, and content and communication governance.  

Today’s IT projects demand a diversity of skills to succeed in delivering critical applications. Since these skills may not be readily available internally at the right time, our highly-skilled and experienced technology consultants can hit the ground running as an extended service line to your organization.

How do you see the IT services industry evolving in the coming years and how would you position ATCS in the marketplace?

Outsourcing is not new; it has been a common strategy of organizations big and small for decades. ATCS has built a better off-shoring model to minimize these disadvantages. I strongly believe our model is dictating where off-shoring is headed in terms of improved quality at speeds often faster than what on-site can produce. 

A typical engagement with ATCS always involves a blend of on-site and offshore resources that still provides a cost advantage while including the benefit of presence. Customers evaluate their projects and pre-classify them as on-site or offshore resources based on the complexity or desire to have a ‘real’ presence. We offer a solution which creates an environment where real presence exists for those tasks that always require it, but the majority of the resources remain offshore. We are also able to consolidate the role of two vendor partners by offering subject matter expertise and IT development services. ATCS employs business professionals from the industries in which we serve. Customers can hand specifications to many development companies, but it’s not often those companies can advise on solutions from the perspective of industry business knowledge professionals. These are two examples where ATCS is helping shape the future of off-shoring. In terms of labor cost, we still view India as the primary starting point.

Your future plans or upcoming new solutions in the pipeline.

Our success has been built on innovative ideas, practices and products. In order to continue our steep growth trend, ATCS must always look ahead and give our customers assurance that they are dealing with a trend setter in the areas of IT services and development.  We meet this expectation by offering decades of business knowledge in the industries our customers reside in. In addition, we are constantly evolving to find ways to minimize the true cost of off-shoring through cutting edge business models and technology. We saw social media as a major source of customer data and channel for customer communication and developed a successful practice around it. These are all examples of being innovative, but just as important we need to also ensure that our India offices remain a top priority. To address that issue, we look to retain our current staff while recruiting new highly talented and motivated professionals.  

With this company model ATCS will continue expanding in the automotive space, focusing on our core services of consulting and development, while integrating more social media services across our product portfolio.