Challenges and opportunities
Qoros, a brand new Chinese automotive company with global intentions, commissioned Engine to create and develop their end-to-end customer service proposition from the ground up.
Incredibly exciting and unique, this bold new car manufacturer had the opportunity to build a customer experience journey from the beginning, without having to work around any existing legacy systems, technology or processes. This represented a genuine and once-in-a lifetime chance to design the sales and aftersales experience for an automotive company, from scratch.
Engine were able to support Qoros during an 22-month project to develop their customer experience strategy in tandem with the design of their dealerships and environments, each informing the other for the best possible services and experiences for customers.
Due to the scale of the project and in preparation for their launch, Engine were asked to focus development around three core areas:
1. Developing the customer experience and flow in a dealership environment
How could the space facilitate a more experiential and customer-centred process for both sales and after sales?
2. Integrating digital experiences
How could digital touch points, in-car, in-dealership and online be linked together to provide a unified customer experience?
3. Informing the staffing model
How could staff be structured, trained and incentivised to become ambassadors for the customer, as well as the brand? How could they provide holistic support, moving away from the ‘lone wolf’ salesman mentality?
What we did
To gain a rich understanding of the context, Engine conducted detailed ethnographic research (and focus groups) within 3 cities in China to draw out key cultural differences, local market opportunities and customers’ expectations of service.
Using this approach we were able to distill vivid insights on the needs and motivations of both customers and dealership staff, to both inspire and substantiate our thinking throughout the project. The unique outcome for us was in understanding what good service looked like in China, what service expectations we would need to meet in the automotive market, and how we could begin to differentiate.
Following research insights, it was important to develop a retail experience strategy as soon as we could, aligning internal teams around a point of service that fitted the market and made them unique. In doing so, Engine worked with the Qoros leadership team to develop a Retail Philosophy and Principles, aligned to their brand values and level of ambition.
The philosophy acted as a central vision from which to inform and inspire development teams, while the principles that sat beneath it helped to translate this philosophy into a tangible and pragmatic set of service experiences, that could be linked to capabilities for build.
It was crucial to seek and engage with all departments within Qoros, this ensured service features and experiences were developed within an achievable and rapidly evolving landscape of capabilities. Meanwhile, the opportunity to design from the ground-up allowed for more ‘cross industry’ inspiration to be used to help differentiate the dealership experience and disrupt current industry stereotypes.
Having designed the experiences at a high-level, a storyboard illustration of the target customer journey was produced, mid project, to align other work streams and suppliers. Since many other initiatives touched on the customer journey, it functioned as a strategic document to aid business units in understanding the impact of their actions.
Following a mutual alignment, Engine were able to proceed with detailed people, product and process specifications for the touch points and components defined within the journeys.
These included wireframes, visual mock-ups and environmental prototypes to inform implementation teams and prototype experiences through real life situations.
The largest in scale took the form of a fabricated dealership, using actors and staff to test experiences against those specified in the customer journey, which were then evaluated holistically. These prototypes were at a sufficient level to demonstrate the experience to others, while the recorded outputs helped to refine and detail the design further. Once complete, process flows, detail scenarios and environment layouts were finalised and handed-over to implementation teams for the final push.
During the handover, Engine provided on-going project guardianship to help operational and implementation teams to understand and implement the target experience as part of the first wave of Qoros dealerships within China.
In supporting Qoros, we were able to develop a sales and aftersales service that enables customers to experience a range of brand propositions both within and outside of the dealership. These propositions are driven by the latest in digital technologies that enable one touch access to information, and full service integration with back-end systems.
Due to our early engagement, we were able to support development of the dealership environment, staff roles and digital interfaces which aligned to a single journey design. Developing from a retail philosophy and set of core customer journeys, ensured touch-points combined to form a unified Qoros experience for both Sales and After Sales services.
Following our involvement, Qoros made their debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013, with their domestic release at the Shanghai Motor Show a month later. By the end of the year, they had proudly launched their first flagship dealership in Shanghai and rolled out a further 44 dealerships across China by August 2014.
Currently both Sales and After-Sales digital applications are in use across Qoros dealerships, with 60 more dealerships under design and construction.
We are glad to see the Qoros ambition come to life and were glad to be a part of the process.