Last week, the KIA CEO made a significant announcement, with a commitment to 'putting the customer at the heart of our discussions and actions'. This signals a profound change for a business about to break away from the traditional manufacturing model, significantly reinforcing the statement with a new brand identity, even going as far as changing the company name.
Though new products and services headlined the announcement, perhaps more significance can be read into the impact of taking control 'throughout the entire purchase and ownership journey, focused on the customer', will have on traditional ways to sell cars. Success suggests new retail models and a move beyond the current default best practice of providing multiple sales channels, to an omnichannel view, owned by the OEM and organised around an ongoing conversation with the customer through initial purchase and beyond.
A new approach featuring omnichannel customer journey optimisation will be required to bridge the gap left by a traditional single-channel mindset, encouraging meaningful conversations with the brand and helping to break down silos that customers are often left to negotiate.
Providing the right technology, currently supporting existing sales channels has a pivotal role in helping customers throughout the buying stages, ensuring smooth handoff between channels and interaction points, removing the requirement for customers to decode the monologue currently supplied by car brands. This will enable a dialogue with the brand, using a fair exchange of information to build lasting relationships as they go.
Insights currently available in the data can help understand how to support the customer as they navigate the car-buying journey, made up of many starts and stops, with interactions often carried across different channels over long periods.
Building on the fact that individual interactions might be well optimised in isolation and enabling a great transition to the next interaction point, insights can also provide the best place to start for KIA – use data science to understand who this customer is, what they enjoy or struggle with today, and how to help them in future.