How a flexible, strategic channel program changed the game for a major automotive manufacturer.
Customer Satisfaction Scores Increased by Channel Incentive Program Design & Segmentation
In the ultra-competitive automotive industry, customer experience is critical to brand loyalty and market share. One major auto manufacturer’s lagging customer satisfaction scores—due in large part to team member disengagement and subpar training certification rates—had leaders seeking to engage and motivate dealer owners, technicians and service staff to perform at higher levels.
Seeking a Nimble, Forward-Thinking Partner
The auto manufacturer reached out to ITA Group for help finding the right solution to overcome their challenges—including a hard-to-reach audience spread across nearly 900 dealerships nationwide and justification of their existing incentive investment. They were also up against competing internal priorities and demand for higher customer satisfaction indexes, all the while battling a pre-existing earning structure that rewarded participants for doing what they’d always done, instead of prompting behavioral changes.
When ITA Group entered the picture, it was clear the auto brand needed flexibility in program strategy and technology, as well as a new way to segment and incent dealership owners and employees. To start, ITA Group data experts analyzed program history and audience details, learning that the program was based around a single threshold participants either met or didn’t in order to receive an award. The strategy was valuable for consistent dealerships, but provided very little motivation for under-performing dealerships to improve service levels.
Flexible Strategy & Technology Laid a Solid Foundation
From initial assessment and analysis work, ITA Group generated a new segmentation strategy and program design. The result was a base program that prioritized customer experience elements throughout the year, then implemented strategically timed short-term promotions for training and service objectives. Moreover, the program encompassed new stretch goals for each segment to drive increases in satisfaction scores across the dealerships, not just consistency in the top tier.
These changes, coupled with flexible technology and custom reporting, allowed ITA Group to manage, measure and report on the progress and success of the service incentives program so the automotive brand could refocus on what was most important to their business while still getting all the details, updates and insights generated by the program.
Relevant Awards & Communications Boost Ongoing Engagement
With the strategy in place, it was time to engage participants. A comprehensive mixed-media communications campaign reached service team members in various roles and clearly described earning opportunities. Quizzes and additional gamification—including game plays—encouraged participants to visit the program website and regularly engage with their objectives. Finally, aspirational awards, including tangible items, experiential choices and personalized options for high earners, motivated both dealership and individual participation.
A Decade of Increased Success Resulted From Ongoing Assessment
Over the course of 10 years, this partnership has grown to manage 7–10 programs annually and sees ongoing participant engagement growth. Most important, the auto brand has seen a consistent rise in their J.D. Power CSI score.
But it doesn’t stop there. ITA Group conducts ongoing industry and program assessments, as well as participant surveys, to provide further insights and strategies that will help the program evolve and meet client needs in an ever-changing field. As the program enters its second decade, it continues to show that a flexible, comprehensive incentive program that engages the right channel partners at the right time can have a positive impact on the customer experience.