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Case study

An Automaker Reinvents Customer Experience with a Focus on Key Episodes

NPS Prism helped ensure results were well-aimed and long-lasting.

$30 million

approximate run-rate savings

$30 million

approximate run-rate savings

The Story

A leading global automaker excelled at producing popular and innovative vehicles at competitive prices. But AutoCo’s leaders suspected there was room to improve the experience people had while shopping for, purchasing, and maintaining the company’s cars. After seeing competitors launch digital customer experience (CX) initiatives, AutoCo turned to us for a new strategy.

Over the next year and a half, AutoCo reinvented the digital journeys of its customers, modernizing the way people interacted with the company across a wide range of touchpoints. We helped AutoCo create the digital tools, organizational capabilities, and funding streams to become a CX leader in the automotive industry. AutoCo deployed our NPS Prism® solution to reveal where it met customer needs, where it fell short, what changes could make up the gap, and what those changes would be worth.

The resulting boost in profits and customer loyalty for AutoCo prove that even market leaders can collect huge amounts of unclaimed value through our analytical, customer-centered approach to improving customer experience.

Our episode-focused approach

Automotive commerce consists of a vast number of potential “episodes”—the sequence of specific interactions a customer has with a company while fulfilling their needs. Each episode is defined by the unique preferences each customer brings to it and the tools the seller provides. In AutoCo’s case, those episodes spanned everything from purchasing (researching, test driving, negotiating, financing) to owning (paying bills, getting service, navigating, adding accessories). Recent shifts in mobile technology and driver expectations made many of these episodes due for a redesign.

We zeroed in on the subset of about 20 high-priority episodes that together promised the greatest value from a redesign. For each of these, we developed detailed, end-to-end maps of the “sub-episodes”—noting the processes involved, the common pain points that diminished the customer experience, as well as the technological and organizational requirements for improving them.

Laptop displaying NPS Prism - Bain & Company's Net Promoter Score Benchmarking Platform
Analise. Priorize. Otimize.

NPS Prism®

Our cloud-based customer experience benchmarking service that provides actionable insights and analysis that guide your creation of game-changing customer experiences.

AutoCo’s use of NPS Prism benchmarking data—which builds on our pioneering creation of the Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠—enabled the company to compare itself to competitors on each priority episode, guiding its investment in the CX enhancements that would make the biggest impact.

Human-centered design and lasting capabilities

Even the most targeted investment, however, will need to be reevaluated at some point, given how quickly CX evolves. That’s why a big part of our focus was in helping AutoCo develop the specific organizational capabilities, IT enablers, and governance models it needed to continually improve the customer experience.

To do that, AutoCo needed to overcome some historical silos. For the first time, AutoCo appointed a customer experience leader who could work across functions to solve CX issues in an Agile way. We helped AutoCo design and launch a dedicated Customer Experience Office, which enables collaboration across business units and embeds customer experience goals into annual planning.

Our customer-centric design experts worked collaboratively with AutoCo to redesign customers’ mobile shopping experience. They brought design thinking to AutoCo’s new CX organization, coaching teams to understand what makes customers tick, how to discover their unmet needs, and decide which changes will move the needle.

We also identified the funding sources—partly derived from technology needs and workarounds that were made obsolete. AutoCo was able to reduce costs through adjusted ad spending, consolidated operations, and optimized vendor agreements. These efforts alone contributed to approximately $30 million in run-rate savings.

With a five-year plan of prioritized CX initiatives, AutoCo will continue to improve customer episodes in ways that result in increased sales and retention, increased repurchase rates, and a greater return on the company’s investment in its new digital tools and capabilities.

We take our clients' confidentiality seriously. While we've changed their names, the results are real. 

Net Promoter®, NPS®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

NPS Prism® is a registered trademark of Bain & Company, Inc.

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Net Promoter®, NPS®, NPS Prism®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks and Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.