Going digital is easy if delighting the customer is your intention. Source: Shutterstock

Going digital is easy if delighting the customer is your intention. Source: Shutterstock

How Nissan uses digital solutions to deepen bonds with customers

AUTOMAKERS in some parts of the world have a strong base of fans and followers, built on a long legacy of product excellence. Japanese brand Nissan is one such automaker.

The company has a strong bond with customers, many of whom have been buying cars from Nissan for generations. To deepen that bond, the automaker is working on re-imaging itself with digital solutions.

“Nissan has been embracing new digital technologies to interact with our customers and is making strides in connecting real-time with vehicles on the road. We are mapping out the customer ownership journey in each market and can proactively interact with them to anticipate their vehicle’s needs,” Nissan APAC Head of Aftersales Dealer Operations Jamie Morais told Tech Wire Asia.

“I envision a near future, where customers don’t need to call us to schedule their vehicle service or even have vehicle breakdowns due to lapsed service intervals or a dying battery.

“Vehicles will connect online with our workshops, proactively informing service needs, and having appointments made automatically by checking their owners’ calendars.”

While that’s the future vision, the company has already established digital platforms in many markets, and even offer mobile apps to customers looking to interact with the company.

What’s most exciting to see is that Nissan is not only trying to build itself into a smarter automaker, but carrying the principles it built its reputation on to drive its success in the future — nurturing relationships with customers..

“Nissan has a very strong heritage of Japanese process control and continuous improvement mind-set. This culture is not limited to our manufacturing operations; it has been purposefully cultivated into the Nissan aftersales process.

In ensuring that customers get a ‘good ownership service experience’, Nissan continuously keeps in touch with customers and their changing needs, and makes efforts to implement new solutions to meet and exceed expectations.

The Japanese automaker is embracing new digital technologies in customer aftersales touchpoints, Morais told Tech Wire Asia, while at the same time, ensuring that its fundamental processes in service process are true to its origins and in line with best practices adopted in each country where Nissan has a presence.

According to Morais, the sales and aftersales process are co-dependent for the development of Nissan as a business.

“It is widely known that on average a customer would purchase 6~8 cars in their own lifetime. As such, maintaining a strong relationship with our customers, right after their new car purchase is key, in order to be at the top of mind, when it comes to a new car re-purchase.”

This has to be done by continuously keeping the customer satisfied in their vehicle aftersales journey, of course.

“I am very proud when I see old Nissan vehicles, even from 10~20 years ago on the road, as this is not only a testament to the durability of our vehicles, but also to the parts availability and serviceability of our vehicles, despite rapid changes in automotive technology.”

Morais, who will be speaking at the Field Service Asia conference in Singapore later this year, says that the shift to digital should aid customers to go about their daily lives with the least hassle and speed up their interaction and engagement with a Nissan dealership for their vehicle service needs.

“This is the aim of the new digital era being embraced by companies in engaging customers to their products and services. I am most excited when a customer is able to book their service with a click of a button on your phone, and have everything ready for their service arrival.

“Imagine as a customer, being able to see what the technician discovers on your vehicle that requires work, and then being able to communicate with the dealership to have that repair carried out, obtain the live status of your vehicle servicing process, pay online for the service job, and all of this done remotely while you are at work or at home.

“Then, you can be sure that your vehicle is truly ready for your delivery back in the shortest possible time. This will soon be a reality in certain markets in Asia,” said an excited Morais.

Morais, who seems endlessly passionate about the ideas and projects that the company is working on, explains that Nissan is leaning on digital to delight customers.