Creating Audi Fans

To better compete in the US luxury automotive landscape, leadership at Audi of America had focused on improving three fundamental areas: the brand, the products, and the dealership. And they had made huge progress.

But according to Jeri Ward, director of customer experience at Audi of America, “The customer experience had not kept pace.”

Troubling data points made that clear: Customer loyalty was at 40%, and sales satisfaction was in 26th place out of 31 brands. But what really drove the problem home was this quote from an Audi customer: “The whole time the salesman spoke with me, he was eating Skittles out of a bag in front of me.”

Just imagine that you’re trying to buy a $60,000 to $90,000 car from someone who can’t be bothered to stop cramming junk food into his mouth. Would that work for you? I didn’t think so.

In this excerpt from Jeri’s speech at Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals East, she describes some of the tangible actions Audi took to solve this problem by creating a customer-centric culture that inspires passion for the Audi experience. The results the firm’s efforts produced are a testimony to its success: In just three years, sales satisfaction went from 26th place to 12th place, and the company has experienced 30 months of record sales.

As always, we welcome your comments! And if you're interested in seeing more great speakers like Jeri, check out our upcoming Forum For Customer Experience Professionals  in Los Angeles in October and London in November.

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Join Us At Customer Experience Forum West In Los Angeles, October 9 & 10, 2013!

It feels as if this summer is flying by. Although it seems like yesterday when we put on Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum East in New York City, it was actually back in June. And now, our Forum For Customer Experience Professionals WEST in Los Angeles  is just eight weeks away.

Like CX Forum East, the theme of our Los Angeles event is “Boost Your Customer Experience To The Next Level.” We picked that theme to showcase examples of companies that improved the customer experience they provide, whether they were just starting out, already leading their industry, or somewhere in between. 

To kick off the event, Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Megan Burns will describe the four-step path to customer experience maturity that she details in her new report. The fascinating thing about this study is that when we started it, we thought we’d uncover several paths that companies have followed to get to success. But what we found instead is that there is only one path that’s proven to work, and many paths that lead to dead ends and failure.

In addition to speeches and track sessions by Forrester analysts like Megan and my co-author Kerry Bodine, our speaker lineup features senior leaders from companies that recently made major improvements to their customer experience. These executives include the president of Days Inn Worldwide, the CMO and VP of CRM at Sears, the chief customer officer at Eli Lilly, and the president and CEO of Safelite Autoglass. 

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The Discipline Of Delighting Clients At Vanguard

Attendees at Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals East in New York saw some great speakers, including Jamie Moldafsky, chief marketing officer at Wells Fargo, John Vanderslice, the global head of luxury and lifestyle brands at Hilton, and Graham Atkinson, the chief marketing officer and chief customer officer at Walgreen.

Interestingly, the speaker with the highest audience rating was Paul Heller, managing director of the retail investor group at Vanguard. Paul spoke about how the firm creates customer loyalty by providing low-cost mutual funds that deliver long-term outperformance, combined with quality service and investor advocacy. At the center of this virtuous cycle: highly engaged employees.

How does Vanguard manage to create a culture that engages employees around providing a great client experience? In this video excerpt of Paul’s speech, he shares the secret: start with “why.”

If you're interested in seeing more great speakers like Paul, check out our upcoming Forums For Customer Experience Professionals in Los Angeles in October and London in November.

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