MRO Magazine

Getting the Customer Experience Right: Auto Industry Priorities in 2015

By Business Wire News   



MCLEAN, Va.

Today Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE:BAH) released “Getting the Customer Experience Right: Auto Industry Priorities in 2015.” From making more fuel efficient trucks and SUVs to putting the race car experience in customers’ driveways, automakers are challenged to keep pace with demand, regulation, innovation and competition.

Assembled from dialogue with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the firm’s industry research and its expertise in cyber security and data analytics, these priorities focus on the fundamental principle of the customer experience.

“Staying ahead is becoming even more challenging for OEMs as we encounter a new era of connectivity. Users expect their vehicles to join the Internet of Things, plugging into their personal ecosystem of electronic devices to improve their experience,” said Jon Allen, a Principal at Booz Allen. “This ‘Connected Society’ provides endless opportunities to redefine and enhance the customer experience,” said Allen. “Automakers that own this transformation, focus on the end user experience, and build relationships of trust will thrive.”

To keep pace with fast evolving customer demands, Booz Allen recommends automakers consider six key priorities for 2015:

 
1.

Deliver innovation in months, not model years. Customers expect vehicles to keep pace with ever-changing connected technologies. Regular hardware and software updates to connected products is the norm. Automakers must reimagine the vehicle lifecycle to adapt to customer expectations around the speed of technological change. The challenge for automakers is that vehicles have a life expectancy of over 10 years, and a design lifecycle of over five years. Balance long-term design planning with the agility to shift directions late in the process, or consider a modular plug-and-play model to provide regular infotainment upgrades.

2.

Differentiate with new partnerships to catch customers’ attention. The crush of the industry’s shifting boundaries is intense. New players are entering the market, including consumer electronics, software & internet-based service providers, and telecommunications. This creates more competition for talent, more demanding customer expectations and new opportunities for mutually beneficial alliances. Looking for the right partnerships—from Silicon Valley, or even a sworn competitor—can pique customers’ interest in a crowded market. In some cases, sharing concepts will build consensus around vision, spurring investments in the required infrastructure, regulations and relationships.

3.

Secure connectivity to reinforce a relationship of trust with your customers. Vehicle reliability and value may still top the list of customer concerns, but they’re starting to worry about the security of the data their connected vehicles collect and communicate. To address these concerns, cyber security needs all hands on deck. Adopt a product-focused approach to cyber security that sits at the intersection of information technology and engineering—with integration across safety and reliability, privacy, customer service and supply chain.

4.

Address the so what of connected cars. Your customers get it: vehicles are more connected than ever. Now comes the obvious response: so what? It’s time to pivot from touting the function to selling the experience. Explain how tech-enabled vehicles can become part of a broader connected lifestyle to gain the competitive edge.

5.

Personalize the customer experience via the tremendous potential buried in data. Learn from Internet giants who enhance their customer experience while protecting privacy. Most, including Google, sell analytics to advertisers and service providers while tailoring their own services. Today’s car buyer is waiting to see how the auto industry will address this. Vehicles can generate 100 petabytes of data per year, and capturing new data-as-a-service opportunities is a must.

6.

Find and build the market for alternative fuel vehicles. OEMs need advanced analytics to actively monitor customer preferences, competitor activity and broader high-tech trends to figure out where to bet big on alternatives. Will electric win out—or will fuel cell technology prove more viable? The answer won’t arrive in 2015, but consumer preferences will start to crystalize. Successful companies will balance shaping and responding to customer needs.

 

Booz Allen’s Commercial Solutions team recently published “The Connected Vehicle Moment,” a Viewpoint that elaborates on how OEMs can generate new revenue streams and develop brand differentiators.

About Booz Allen Hamilton

Booz Allen Hamilton is a leading provider of management consulting, technology, and engineering services to the US government in defense, intelligence, and civil markets, and to major corporations and not-for-profit organizations. Booz Allen is headquartered in McLean, Virginia, employs more than 22,000 people, and had revenue of $5.48 billion for the 12 months ended March 31, 2014. In 2014, Booz Allen celebrated its 100th anniversary year. To learn more, visit www.boozallen.com. (NYSE: BAH).

BAHPR-CO

Booz Allen Hamilton
Kimberly West, 703-377-1403
West_kimberly@bah.com

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