Customer Care Experience in Arabian Automobiles Company
At present, numerous companies all over the world pay more attention to customer care services, because these services enable them to determine the perceptions and attitudes of the audience to the company and its products. The current research paper will describe the customer care experience of one of the biggest automobile dealers in the United Arab Emirates - Arabian Automobiles Company. The emphasis will be put on the means of customer satisfaction and ways of its measurement, strategies for retention of customers and empowerment of employees. The major purpose of the current paper is to perform a practical analysis of a real company whose sphere of activity is related to customers care.
General Information about the Company
The current paper will provide a description of the customer care experience in Arabian Automobiles Company (also known as AAC). This private company provides various transportation products and services to its customers: selling of passenger cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles; acting as agents, dealers and distributors; offering automobile parts and accessories, and rendering repair and maintenance services. AAC was established in 1968 as part of the AW Rostmani business conglomerate that is the only distributor of vehicles and automobile parts of such companies as Nissan, Renault and Infinity in the United Arab Emirates. At present, the company occupies a leading position in the automobile sector of this country. AAC has eleven car showrooms, thirteen parts outlets, and ten service centres located in different parts of Dubai and Northern Emirates.
Nowadays AAC is a trusted company that provides high quality services and establishes long-term relationships with its customers and contracting parties. The majority of customers are represented by individuals from the middle and upper classes. They have an opportunity to use a great variety of services in the following divisions of the company: Car Parts & Accessories Division, Workshop Division, Export Division, Import Division, Customers Care Division, the Division of Economic Development, and Service Division.
The information for the current research paper was collected from the Internet: the official site of AAC, online articles from various magazines and newspapers, and reflections of past and current employees about their work in the described company. These articles are related to various topics: the performance of the company and its new projects, various aspects of customers care (for example, methodologies of measurement of customer satisfaction). The use of various sources for the preparation of current paper enables providing a clear and miscellaneous understanding and analysis of the customer care experience.
The company develops and carries out various activities in order to satisfy its customers. This includes rendering of pre-purchasing and after-purchasing services, offering car parts and accessories for attractive prices, helping customers to solve problems with their vehicles, etc. The success of the company is based on the use of the best management strategies, business practices and technological solutions, as well as hiring and retention of the most qualified specialists in the automobile industry. Compared to personal findings and the information presented to Holly Regan, the company did not pay sufficient attention to the determination of its challenges. Regan states that a successful business should be rather oriented on examining customers’ experience at all the stages of rendering of services, while AAC pays attention only to the evident issues.
Measurement of Customer Satisfaction
AAC has special department of the measurement of customer satisfaction that is Customer Care Department. The department is independent from other departments for providing impartial assessment of the quality of the organizational performance. Customer Care Department “conducts CSI surveys and handles any customer grievances”. Personal opinions, suggestions and complaints regarding customer’s vehicles, their delivery, maintenance, or any kind of other problems regarding the services provided by AAC can be sent via the official site of the company or informed about by means of the official phone number given on the site. The customers have to fill in a special form that contains the following information: name, address, contact number, e-mail, model of the vehicle, license plate No., location in the UAE, preferred communication method, and the topic of communication. The above information will help the company to communicate with customers to improve its organizational performance and provide better services. That is why opinions of customers are considered with utmost promptness and seriousness. All the incoming suggestions, opinions and grievances are scrutinized in order to determine their causes and eliminate any issues in the future.
One more strategy that is successfully realized by the Customer Care Department team is measurement of buyers’ attitudes to various models before and after test drives. This strategy enables to identify the ways of the formation of buyers’ perceptions. It is notable that it also changes people’s attitudes: “after a test drive, people were often surprised to discover how inaccurate their perceptions had been, demonstrating the power of personal experience as a marketing tool”. As a rule, positive changes are reflected in the increase of approval ratings, growth of willingness to recommend the vehicles to relatives and friends, or even to purchase them. The major aim of this survey is to highlight the most important features which influence the purchasing decisions, like “stability on the road, performance, country of origin, and interior design and comfort”. This survey is very valuable, because it shapes the understanding of the background of purchasing decisions, the extent to which communication between the company and the audience is successful, and the ways in which AAC covers customers’ expectations.
Various other strategies of measuring customer satisfaction were studied for the preparation of the current paper. These methods, unlike strategies realized by AAC, are more oriented on studying customers’ experience and identifying unhappy customers. They undermine asking additional questions to investigate customer’s attitudes to various aspects and methodologies of provided services. These questions are related to the following topics: the location of the departments, centers and showrooms of the company, qualification and enthusiasm of the staff, time of service delivery, attitude to the existing billing procedures and post-purchasing services, overall quality, extent of fulfilled needs and perceived reliability. The absence of this section in the AAC’s methodology related to the measurement of customer satisfaction makes company’s surveys less ill-founded and uncomplete.
Furthermore, the company has a considerable gap in providing customer care services because it does not determine customer’s loyalty. It can be measured by the application of Net Promoter Score. This metric is calculated by asking customers simple questions to which they should respond according to a 0 to 10 point rating scale. Scores 9 and 10 are usually considered to reflect value-creating behaviors. This means that customers are highly satisfied by obtained services and would like to proceed with their work for the company in the future. Customers who provided these scores are called promoters. Scores from 0 to 6 showed that customers were dissatisfied by the delivered services. Individuals who gave these scores are named detractors. The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. This methodology helps to determine the likelihood of the customer to work with the company again. Absence of this methodology in the Customer Care Strategy of AAC is a considerable gap, because the company cannot find out whether the customer will be retained.
Methods of Retaining the Customers
Retaining of the customers is very important for any company for its further development and success. That is why managers of AAC develop and realize various strategies to attract new customers and retain the existing ones. One of such strategies is Automania Exchange – “the limited time trade-in campaign” according to which “customers simply need to drive their existing car of any make and model, to any of the Nissan Showrooms in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates” where their vehicles will be assessed to determine their market value by highly qualified and certified evaluators. After that the customers will be offered up to AED 10,000 more for their vehicles (the amount depends on the condition, model and the year of the car’s purchase). This strategy improves customer’s attitude towards the AAC, because people obtain additional benefits from the cooperation with this company.
Besides, it should be noted that the company provides after-purchasing support to its customers to help them deal with any technical problems with their vehicles and improve their attitude towards the company. This support enables to determine the most common issues which took place after the car purchasing and manage these issues in due time in the most effective manner. These strategies show that AAC tries to retain customers after they have purchased cars from this company. However, the existing company’s strategies do not provide customers with obvious reasons for the repeated purchasing.
Compared to other strategies described in the literature, strategies of AAC are rather costly and do not provide obvious benefits in terms of people’s cooperation with the company. These obvious benefits can be represented by offering discounts for unpopular models to customers who bring their relatives and friends to buy the car from AAC and those who make the repeated purchasing in the company.
Empowerment of Customer Service Employees
AAC uses various methods of the empowerment of employees who work in Customers Care Division. As per information received from ex-workers and people who are currently employed in this company, management encourages to provide the best services to clients and cover customers’ needs in the best possible manner by means of the following: freedom of decision making, career promotion, and financial encouragements.
Compared to other strategies described in various sources, the empowerment of customer services performed by AAC has considerable gaps. The company does not put emphasis on training of their employees to investigate clients’ attitudes: “employees must have an outlet for expressing concerns, asking questions and providing feedback”. Encouragement of customers to provide their feedbacks will provide a better understanding of their needs and wishes.
Dealing with Challenging and Angry Customers
Customers Care Division deals with challenges and angry customers by thorough consideration of their problems, determination of causes of the described problems, taking timely actions for their rectification, and taking preventive measures. However, studying of the article “7 Steps For Dealing With Angry Customers” created the background for the understanding that the company’s measures of dealing with challenging situations are not effective enough, because employees do not receive information about the ways of managing with issues correctly. In the above stated article the author focused on the fact that workers should undergo special training to improve their communication skills, (like anger management, development of listening skills, methods of graceful apologizing, etc.) for successful business conduction. AAC does not have such trainings. Hence, workers of Customers Care Division may not have sufficient knowledge or skills to effectively deal with challenging situations and angry customers. That is why its methodology of dealing with issues is superficial and ineffective.
To summarize the above mentioned information, the current paper represents a practical analysis of the customer care services rendered by the real company based in the United Arab Emirates. AAC renders services of delivery of vehicles, spare parts and accessories, as well as other relevant pre-purchasing and post-purchasing services. The company has special Customers Care Division that conducts CSI surveys and handles any customer grievances. A great variety of provided services and realization of the retention strategy increase the customer satisfaction and improve their attitude towards AAC. Besides, management tries to stipulate employees to improve the quality of customers care by providing freedom of decision making, career promotion, and financial encouragements. However, the company should develop deeper methodologies to determine customers’ perceptions and pay more attention to the development of skills which would help to deal with challenging situations.