Revving up the Customer Experience Engine

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We invested heavily in text analytics and then built closed-loop follow-up boxes. Today, if a customer responds to one of our surveys by the end of the business day, and there is something in what he said or the score that he gave us, that, based on the business rules we’ve set up, triggers what we call a “hot alert,” a reason to follow up with that customer. That will be routed back to a dealer or a call center overnight. Think about the scale: We get back almost 500,000 surveys a month from our customers. Previously, few of those surveys were actually being read. Our best dealers were using them, but we had no accountability or tracking to know what percentage of those customers who were voicing concerns were actually being followed up on. Now, we are taking roughly 10 percent—in the range of 40,000 to 50,000 every month—of our customer surveys [and] sending them back to the dealer or the call center, [and] someone is picking up the phone and talking to the customer. And the feedback we get from that process is amazing. “I can’t believe that a company as big as General Motors actually read this feedback; I can’t believe the dealer principal or the salesperson called me so promptly and owned the problem.” And they reward us. We were able to link successful service recovery on those service follow-ups and found a very significant improvement in service retention. Obviously everyone who comes back to our service lane versus a third party’s is revenue to our dealers and to GM, but it’s also an opportunity for us to continue to engage that customer going forward.

The ROI was really easy to measure there. We also saw a significant improvement in Net Promoter Score in the range of 25 points just by doing that one simple act of picking up the phone to respond to a customer who took the time to give us the feedback. When we showed the company that, we got a lot of support. The sales operations teams, the dealers themselves, asked for further improvements in the platform, and we were able to continue to invest in that.

This last year we took that same platform and rolled it out globally. That’s still a work in progress, but we are live now with a common customer sales and service satisfaction survey globally in 50 countries. And we are in the process of rolling out the reporting and the tools for other countries to do what we did in the United States.

And how long do you think it will take to have that up and running?

We’ll have it done by the end of this year. We already have the surveys in market. We have corporate-level dashboards already working, and in the next three to six months we’ll roll out region-level dashboards, including field and dealers. Every individual dealer who participates in the program will have the same capability to see their survey responses in real time and follow up on those customer surveys.

Can you tell me about how Pegasystems’ CRM technology fits in here? What other technologies are you using to put it all together?

As you can imagine, we have a large portfolio of technologies that all come together to make the magic work. Pegasystems is helping us with the OnStar business unit. When a customer pushes the blue button inside the car, it activates an outbound call to an adviser. Typically the customer is looking for directions or assistance that way. We use Pegasystems to effectively route that call to the right adviser. We then prepare the adviser with next-best action. We know a lot about our customers: We know what the vehicle is telling us, and we can use that to prep the adviser. If a customer is, for example, showing signs of defection or interested in upgrading service, the adviser already has recommendations that we know should be of high value to that customer.

That similar decisioning logic is now being embedded in our mobile [app], where we’re also making offers. We’ve embedded it into our owner center platform, and we’re in the process of also having it enable technology for the head unit itself. We do roughly a million decisions an hour using Pegasystems, and frankly, we think we’re scratching the surface on what the potential is.

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