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Engagement blueprints redraw traditional manufacturer, dealer, and consumer relationships

Daniel Davenport

Car ownership is changing. The younger generations view cars more as on-demand services or commodities, rather than something to aspire to own. Recent research shows millennials have a lower rate of car ownership than previous generations.

This new attitude will significantly impact car manufacturers at a time when the CASE (connected, autonomous, shared, electric) model is also driving a high rate of change in the business of personal transportation and mobility at large.

Car manufacturers need to adapt to this new customer. Our 2018 Cars Online Trend Study showed the expectations have changed radically:

  • Customers expect a fast response, but also a high quality of customer service
  • Customers want to get in touch with car makers over a choice of channels
  • Customers may appreciate being contacted proactively, but only with the right message at the right time
  • Customers are willing to share their personal data in return for a better customer service experience, but they expect transparency on what the data is used for.

The old car buying model is rapidly becoming obsolete. OEMs need to create unified journeys for the customer that connect all aspects of buying and owning a car. Even more importantly, the relationship between the manufacturer and the dealers needs to evolve to cover a broader ecosystem beyond pre-sales to sale to ownership that addresses the coming $230 billion in-car ecommerce opportunity.

This unified journey is called an Engagement Blueprint. It connects departments and develops a common language, so everyone together provides the best customer and employee experiences.

The engagement blueprint starts with:

  • Brand journey: how the brand promise supports the customer and employee experiences, and how it changes at major inflection points in the customer journey
  • Customer journey: identifies what the customer is doing on what screen or device and for what purpose. This provides insights into their thoughts and actions.
  • Employee journey: identifies what the employees are doing to support the customer experience. This includes systems interactions, departmental hand-offs, data exchanges, and direct customer contact.

Disruption and transformation are coming at a pace the automotive industry has not recently seen and the relationship between manufacturers and dealers needs to change with it. Car ownership is moving to a model of car plus services and subscriptions, which manufacturers can deliver or be left behind as hi-tech giants encroach and then dominate the space.

To succeed in this increasingly competitive environment, your brand promise needs to be meaningfully connected to each touchpoint up to and after the sales or the ride. Employees need to be engaged and supported, so they can deliver the best customer experience. And the brand should be reinforced and enhanced through emerging systems such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

Manufacturers still need to focus on engineering and quality, but they can no longer afford to be disconnected from their end customers. It is time to take the wheel for the entire customer journey.

To learn more about Capgemini’s automotive practice, contact me at