Four Customer Experience Challenges for Connected, Driverless Cars

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Driverless and Wi-Fi enabled vehicles are transforming the automotive experience. These futuristic cars are designed to make our lives easier by allowing us to focus on other tasks besides getting from point A to point B. These advances also give automakers opportunities to engage people with new entertainment and safety features.

On the surface, connected and driverless cars are a logical fit for our increasingly interconnected and digital-first lives. But a lot still needs to happen in order for these cars to offer truly useful and engaging experiences. From a customer experience perspective, automakers and their partners will have to address several challenges.

automotive customer experienceDisjointed Interactions

Companies are still trying to deliver an omnichannel experience that ties together user data across multiple channels. A Wi-Fi enabled car represents yet another channel with user data that will have to be integrated into an organization’s customer strategy. For example, a few automakers have rolled out vehicles that automatically check the condition of the engine, transmission, antilock brakes, etc., and alert owners when it needs to be serviced. While this is a useful feature, it’s unclear how the data from a vehicle is connected with other data the automakers have about the car owner and whether the data is frequently updated.

We Interrupt this Driving Experience…

Apple and Google are vying for a spot on a car’s dashboard and both have introduced platforms that connect your phone to your car. Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto connect drivers' smartphones with car dashboard interfaces, allowing the driver to make calls, send messages and email, listen to music, and get directions. The interfaces are designed with large icons and fonts and respond to voice commands so that the driver can focus on the road.

Right now, Android Auto and CarPlay are both light on marketing content, but it’s easy to imagine brands embracing the opportunity to send consumers location-based offers and other targeted messages in a car. We are already distracted by the sounds our phones make and a dashboard that tells you about available offers as you drive could be even more distracting. Opportunities to monetize connected cars are inevitable, but brands and marketers must find ways to safely engage consumers.  

Privacy Protection

Data security and consumer privacy continue to be hot-button issues and automakers must take these concerns into consideration when it comes to managing data from a connected car. Car owners and their passengers should have control over how data about them is collected and distributed. As automakers add more Wi-Fi enabled features to their cars, they will also need to protect the user’s privacy. Data security will become an important part of the automotive experience and automakers need to assure consumers that their information is safe.   

Measuring Customer Satisfaction

As automakers enhance the driving and passenger experience with new capabilities and features, they’ll have to revisit their methods for measuring customer satisfaction. Owning a car, for example, will include interactions with more partners beyond the dealership and mechanic. Automakers may want to know how quickly customer service representatives are helping people as they drive and are the offers that appear on the dashboard relevant? Which types of data should be included in the NPS measurement? How do you measure the value of a Wi-Fi enabled experience in a car?

Connected and driverless cars offer game-changing opportunities but these changes are still nascent and bring a host of issues and questions that automakers will need to address as they strive to engage customers.

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