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Remote diagnostics to enable full CRM service approach for car manufacturers

Jack Loo | Sept. 28, 2012
The automotive industry of the future is likely to be service oriented, rather than just a manufacturing vertical.

Car manufacturers are expected to increasingly use remote diagnostics, a telematics feature, as a tool for CRM service delivery, according to ABI Research.

Remote diagnostics has been offered as a main feature of telematics solutions from the very beginning by OEMs such as GM, Volvo, and BMW. Recently, Ford has also added diagnostics as a feature on its hybrid phone-based SYNC system.

"With telematics penetration increasing and remote diagnostics well established as a core safety and security feature, car OEMs are now exploring how to extend their service approach to encompass genuine customer relationship management (CRM) to increase customer satisfaction and improve loyalty," said Dominique Bonte, vice president and practice director, ABI Research.

"Elements of this approach include predictive maintenance based on prognostics as well as up-selling and cross-selling applications and content," added Bonte.

But the best known example of CRM would to be Toyota's Friend private social network. Powered by Salesforce Chatter, the network connects Toyota customers, their cars, and their dealerships to share product and service information such as electric vehicle (EV) recharging alerts. The private network has been extended to public social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It will be available globally but is first being offered in Japan on Toyota's EV models and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV).

One critical CRM issue to solve is setting up a collective and consistent ownership of the customer relationship across a multi-touchpoint environment and supporting multiple methods of communication, said ABI Research.

This includes e-mail, social networking, face-to-face (dealer), in-car, portable devices, and print. Other issues include the complexity of communication and data collection, privacy protection, technical implementation, and integration of back-end CRM systems.


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