Integrated Customer Relations System Provides Product and Market-focused Information to Improve Customer Experience

Business Challenge
A leading participant in the highly competitive luxury segment of the automobile marketplace was looking for ways to effectively manage, track, report and respond to customer service issues, product quality and market trends. They were dealing with manual processes and lacked an integrated customer, product, and market-focused information system across the entire support network. When product quality and service problems were identified through the customer service process, they were treated as isolated incidents because there was no way to analyze historical data across multiple systems in dealer support, customer service and product engineering.

Data Warehouse Center Solution
Data Warehouse Center partnered with the client to design and develop an integrated customer relations system that would provide customers, dealers and employees with a coordinated customer service experience. A team composed of Data Warehouse Center professionals and the client’s personnel developed a comprehensive plan, which, over a two-year period, delivered an integrated, worldwide, customer service database to provide real time, actionable, information to the client’s customer service personnel and its dealer network.

The system managed the logging and tracking of customer cases. Access to vehicle, warranty and parts information residing on an IBM mainframe was combined with information stored locally on a SQL Server database. Customer “cases” were initiated either by a customer telephone call or letter to the client’s customer relations department. Customer complaint letters were scanned into the system and electronically attached to the case. When a new case was opened, the appropriate dealership was notified about the case, the vehicle and its service history. This notification was transmitted both by facsimile and electronically through the third party Dealer Communication System.

Once the vehicle was serviced by the dealership, the information is passed through the Dealer Communication System to the client’s system where it updated the Customer Relations Database. The Customer Relations Database was also linked to the client’s engineering and manufacturing facilities where the information was used to improve vehicle reliability and quality.

The Customer Relations System also integrated mailing, labeling and reporting capabilities and was linked to the client’s credit division. These features were used for written follow up to customers. In addition, the client’s marketing communications department was able to target current customers whose leases or vehicle loans were expiring.

A significant feature of the Customer Relations System was its Executive Information System (EIS) capabilities. The EIS provided statistical reporting on customer service, identifying customer complaints by region, by dealer, by vehicle model and by model year. The EIS used graphical presentation techniques to provide users the ability to identify high-level complaint trends and then “drill down” to review the actual cases for action. Multiple departments now use the EIS to proactively improve the customer experience.

Return on Investment
Since implementation of the Customer Relations System, the client’s customers have experienced a dramatically improved ownership experience, documented by industry survey results. The client improved its customer experience standings in the industry and unit sales increased. The Customer Relations System has significantly increased the quality of the client’s interaction with its customers while lowering its customer service costs. The customer now experiences a coordinated Dealer/Client service effort. The economic value of the Customer Relations System has been estimated in the millions of dollars with a return on investment of months.