Porsche Drives Up Customer Satisfaction

Customer Service
Customer Service
The automotive company has invested in strengthening its sales funnel, focusing on premium customer care throughout the purchasing journey.
Sales Force Effectiveness

Business Boost: The company has seen a dramatic increase in CRM-based sales follow-up activities, which went up by more than 70 percent, while leads without CRM-based follow-up activity decreased by around 50 percent.

Growth is imperative for organizations to remain successful. But savvy business leaders understand that sustainable growth can only be achieved by focusing on customers and their needs, both before as well as after a sale is secured.

In fact, the best companies are making it a priority to keep the lines of communication with their customers open throughout the sales journey, interacting with clients over their preferred touchpoints and sharing relevant and personalized information that will help close the sale. Such attentive communication not only helps brands improve their bottom line, but also enhances the customer experience.

Porsche AG is one organization that's committed to providing customers with the best experience throughout their journey, from the moment they first interact with the organization. In order to achieve its corporate objective of value-creating growth, Porsche wanted to refine its sales process and interact with customers with relevant and personalized communications over different touchpoints throughout their sales journey. "Our aim is to be the market leader," notes Michael L??er, Porsche's director of customer relations. "We want to grow sustainably the Porsche way-with enthusiastic customers and as an excellent, social, and family friendly employer."

Porsche values every single customer contact and strives to make the most out of the interaction. The automotive company is focused on providing premium customer care over the multiple touchpoints, including the Internet, the various Porsche centers around the world, and at motorsport events. In 2010 Porsche embarked on an initiative to optimize the utilization of every sales opportunity while simultaneously promoting customer care by improving service quality. This plan fit into its business strategy that included providing customers with a unique purchase and ownership experience.

An integral part of the Sales Funnel Excellence initiative is pairing each customer with a sales contact person who can gather information about that client, understand where the customer stands within the sales funnel, and guide customers through the process until they drive off with their new car. Secondly, the company was committed to providing premium customer care at each customer touchpoint throughout the sales funnel, helping to increase satisfaction, and ensure transparency and consistency throughout the process.

Knowing that every customer contact is a valuable chance to get familiar with the brand and an opportunity to begin, or intensify, a customer relationship, another objective was to reduce the number of unattended sales opportunities. The global Porsche CRM system C@P (CRM@Porsche) is designed to consolidate customer contacts across channels and conduct follow-up activities to create an individual customer journey that's tailored to the customer's needs. As part of the initiative, the company established a quantitative performance management system to precisely monitor and report standardized KPIs related to lead management as well as measure the amount of dealer and sales person activities directed towards both existing customers and prospects.

A cross-departmental team made up of CRM, sales, training experts, and representatives from the different markets was set up to coordinate the project with the aim of rolling the initiative out across the world and help dealers achieve their sales and customer process quality targets. The company launched a pilot project in Switzerland towards the end of 2010, with the global roll-out starting a few months later, having now covered 15 Porsche subsidiaries that account for more than 90 percent of Porsche deliveries.

A main focus of the initiative was to promote enthusiasm through a unique purchase experience that differentiates Porsche from its competition. The first step was to identify all relevant customer touchpoints and incorporate them within the sales funnel, allowing sales executives to prepare for customer consultations and focus on the specific customer situation. New and innovative touchpoints, for example a personalized booklet that displays the car configured by an individual customer, have been added. Different regions and even dealers were given the flexibility to include specific touchpoints that they wanted to leverage for customer care, for example specific mailings or events. Further, the company embarked on extensive change management within its "Strategy 2018," providing a unique purchase and ownership experience. The initiative also included extensive training of sales staff, and introduced incentive compensation schemes, all of which helped to improve customer care processes along the sales funnel. A flexible component was added to dealers' compensation schemes to reflect improvements in selected sales and lead management KPIs.

During 2012, the first full year that the initiative was in operation, Porsche saw a two-point increase in its purchase satisfaction index. The company has also seen a dramatic increase in CRM-based sales follow-up activities, which went up by more than 70 percent, while leads without CRM-based follow-up activity decreased by around 50 percent. Further, leads in operation saw an increase of more than 20 percent.

L??er notes the project exceeded the targets and created a win-win situation for both Porsche and its customers. "Professional lead management is a top priority for growth and profitability, but also for maintaining an outstanding purchase experience to our customers," he says. However, as L??er stresses, "premium customer service is not a one-time activity, but an ongoing challenge." He notes that future CRM projects will be focusing on vehicle ownership, but also on preparing customer processes for forthcoming new Porsche models.