Opinion: Worth a measure!

    Avik talks about how brands will need to shift focus from customer satisfaction to consumer advocacy in the coming years.

    Published On Dec 29, 2021 08:00:00 AM


    Opinion: Worth a measure!

    You no longer need to own a product to have a valuable opinion about it.

    At the turn of the millennium, the biggest thing that turned on all automobile marketers was “customer satisfaction”. That was the gold standard to compare brands on aspects like quality of service, quality of sales and build quality. Measures like JD Power might not have earned space in the customers’ minds, but definitely helped automakers improve service standards and vehicle quality.

    Twenty years later, the standards and measures will change based on evolved decision making and buying behaviour.

    The key pillars of this standard are ‘who’ is measured and ‘what’ is measured. Earlier, they were the ‘customer’ and ‘satisfaction’. For the next 20 years, they will be the ‘consumer’ and ‘advocacy’.

    Consumer vis-à-vis Customer

    Yesterday, one had to possess a product to have an opinion about it. Tomorrow, the opinion will be an outcome of factors beyond, like word-of-mouth, reviews and content created around a brand and its offers. Yesterday, was about buying a product to know about it. Tomorrow, will be about consuming it to have an opinion. Yesterday, was about the product. Tomorrow, will be about the solution. Yesterday, was about a purchaser, or customer. Tomorrow, will be about the consumer.

    Experience vis-à-vis Ownership

    Yesterday, the aspects measured were directly related to the purchase process or ownership. Unless you actually bought a vehicle and/or got it serviced, your opinion would not matter. Tomorrow, your experiences will be measured without forcing you to purchase a product. Your experiences like test drives, shared mobility and even vehicle displays will decide what you think of an auto brand. Yesterday, was about your own vehicle. Tomorrow will be about one in your family or network.

    Advocacy vis-à-vis Satisfaction

    Yesterday, you asked a customer about his/her level of satisfaction. The feedback forms had ‘smileys’ of varying degrees to express your feedback. Satisfaction is a table-stake now without which a brand cannot survive. Tomorrow, will be all about whether you would become an active advocate for a certain brand, putting your reputation at stake. Yesterday’s feedback contained multiple questions on various aspects of satisfaction. Tomorrow, it would be just one question: “Will you recommend this brand to your closest friends?”

    Brands will be first experienced and then owned, if at all. Brand advocacy will be an outcome not only of products and solutions but also the ecosystem around them for both prospects and owners.

    Yesterday was all about customer satisfaction. Tomorrow’s success will be evaluated on consumer advocacy and the auto marketer must prepare for the same today.

    Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.



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