Driving loyalty through customer journeys

How BAMM used conflict groups to generate a truer read on how consideration is driven during the aftersales process.

As a heritage brand, Mercedes-Benz has a strong customer base with a loyal following. Yet they found it falling behind brands like Audi and BMW when it came to evaluating their JD Power customer satisfaction scores. Mercedes-Benz could either rest on its laurels, or interrogate the scores to understand where the deeper problem lay. They knew the ‘what’, they needed to know the ‘why’.

We knew Mercedes-Benz were suffering from a double-edged sword. They are seen as the best of the best. Their customers have far higher expectations. Other brands weren’t necessarily providing a better service, but Mercedes-Benz customers would be more prone to judge Mercedes-Benz harshly. It makes the picture more difficult to understand.

To get underneath this issue, and develop a more accurate picture of what drives satisfaction, we carried out a set of conflict groups followed by ethnography sessions. The groups were designed to create a deliberate conflict of opinions, with different brand owners in the room challenging each other and sharing their experiences relating to their expectations and satisfaction with dealerships.

The follow up ethnography sessions were then used to explore their personal customer experience in greater depth, to help probe specific elements of the process. These sessions included visits to the showroom to probe specific elements of the aftersales experience.

An example of a customer journey through the aftersales process

Through this conflict-led process, we were able to map the reality of how satisfaction is set and where the real highlights and lowlights sit across the Mercedes-Benz aftersales journey. This provided the brand with tangible opportunity areas to shift the dial on their customer satisfaction scores.

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