Cadillac to wow customers with total customer experience
Among car enthusiasts and the automotive press there is near unanimous agreement that Cadillac is back. What started with the redesigned CTS sedan and then evolved to a full line of world class vehicles has now continued with the redesigned SRX crossover, and the coming ATS compact sedan. Without a doubt Cadillac vehicles are near the pinnacle of luxury cars in all of the world. The question remains however, if the Cadillac product is among the elite of the industry.
What is the Product
One might ask “What is the difference since the vehicle is the product?” But is it? Or is the overall ownership experience the product. Cadillac is following Lexus and others by realizing that in the world of the affluent automobile buyer, a large number of extremely high quality vehicles are available. In fact, they are all so good, and so numerous, that in order to draw in and then retain the customers it is seeking Cadillac will have to do more – much more – than provide a great car. What is needed is an overall feeling of being treated special. The Cadillac customer can go anywhere for an excellent car, but what they want and will continue to come back for, is a wonderful feeling from the time they start their new car search until the day they return to trade their car for another.
In order to better understand this soup to nuts ownership experience, Cadillac enlisted the Luxury Institute. Calling itself the “Independent voice of the high net-worth consumer,” the Luxury Institute is dedicated to understanding the attitudes and behaviors of affluent consumers and then transferring that knowledge to luxury brand manufacturers. Cadillac’s Vice President of Sales and Service, Kurt McNeil, points out that “While we’ve performed fairly well in customer service, we sensed a bigger opportunity…We call the approach Defining Moments – the fact that every interaction with a customer can potentially define our brand.” Consider a service appointment. Coffee can be an example of the experience a customer has. Is there coffee available? Is it high quality coffee and free? Is it self-serve, like the photo from Cadillac shown here, or is a cappuccino served to the customer by a barista? Cadillac needs to determine what its customers will respond to best.
Loaner Cars Are So Last Year
Cadillac points out that it offers loaner cars for its customers who have service appointments. However, every luxury brand has that and more and more value brands offer it as well. This illustrates how hard it is to stand out from the crowd. Milton Pedraza, founder and CEO of the Luxury Institute sums it up saying, “The opportunity for luxury brands not only lies in out-performing the competition, but also out-behaving the competition.” In order to learn ways to out-behave the competition Cadillac co-developed training with Ritz-Carlton.