Mercedes-Benz is developing its global sales and marketing activities further in order to address individual customer requirements at the customary high standard in the digital age as well. The company laid the foundation stone for the further development of sales as early as 2013 with “Best Customer Experience” and has invested an annual sum in the three-digit millions since that time. Access to the products and services of the company for existing and new customers was further simplified with, amongst other things, the launch of the Mercedes me service brand in 2014. The optimisation of the online presentation of Mercedes-Benz as well as the advancement of physical retail including a new brand architecture also facilitate contact with the brand for customers. With “Best Customer Experience 4.0” the brand is now taking the next major step. Mercedes-Benz is available on numerous channels along the customer journey – conveniently online and offline. The customers can select flexibly between the channels and only need a single profile for this. In this way, the Mercedes me ID provides easy access to numerous offers and services – whether by smartphone, in the car, on the Internet or in the Mercedes me Store. Mercedes-Benz is thus offering current and future customers an even more emotional, better and seamless service and product experience on all channels in new and innovative ways – true to the motto “The best or nothing”.
“The digitalisation is changing the way we live and do business. Customers around the world expect to be able to interact online with their brands anywhere and at any time,” said Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales & Marketing. “With “Best Customer Experience 4.0″, we are consistently aligning our sales activities to these requirements. We want to offer our customers seamless luxury experiences and lasting memories – regardless of the time, place or channel they are using. Buying a Mercedes-Benz should become as easy as ordering a book for our customers. We expect that by 2025, 25 percent of our worldwide sales will take place online.”
Key elements of the “Best Customer Experience 4.0” initiative are the new generation of the Mercedes me app, the Mercedes me ID, physical retail as a point of experience and the seamless customer journey across all online and offline channels.
The Mercedes me ID – the admission ticket to the complete mobility world of Mercedes-Benz Cars
The mainstay of the customer experience is the Mercedes me ID. With this personalised Mercedes-Benz Account customers have 360-degree access to the holistic Mercedes me Service brand over a constantly growing number of touchpoints. As part of “Best Customer Experience 4.0”, Mercedes-Benz is further expanding its Mercedes me offering and will be introducing a completely new app in the next quarter. The new generation of the Mercedes me App will then gradually bundle the entire spectrum of mobility and connectivity services under a single roof.
In future, the Mercedes me ID can be used at every point in the customer journey – be it on the internet, at physical locations or in the car. Customers have easy and fast access to the services and offers they want at all times. To this end Mercedes-Benz is developing new and innovative sales and business models together with its partners. Getting a Mercedes me ID does not necessarily require being the owner of a vehicle from Mercedes-Benz. Customers with vehicles of other brands and those who do not own a car but want to be mobile nonetheless can also use it. With their individual profile, customers get access to all digital services – including from the Mobility as a Service segment such as car sharing, for example.
Physical Retail – from Point of Sale to Point of Experience
Physical retail is undergoing a transformation as the result of “Best Customer Experience 4.0” – with new sales formats, modern locations and individual concepts.Although the digital touchpoints are gaining in importance, physical retail with its worldwide 6500 partners of Mercedes-Benz is and remains an essential part of the customer journey. While digital solutions simplify and personalize the customer experience, they cannot replace the haptic and physical experience of a product. That is why Mercedes-Benz is seamlessly blending physical retail with the digital channels and is redesigning it with innovative store and location concepts. The point of sale is becoming the point of experience.
For the continuous optimization of physical retail Mercedes-Benz is developing new formats tailored to customer catchment areas. The brand is where the customers are. Depending on their needs, customers can visit a city spot during their shopping trip or leave their car at a local drop-off point for subsequent maintenance in the workshop. In addition, there will be more showrooms and pop-up stores in the city centres. Mercedes-Benz opened its first pop-up store in Warsaw as early as 2013 and is continuing this success story on a consistent basis.
An important and established part of physical retail are the Mercedes me Stores, which offer visitors an interactive brand and product experience in exclusive city-centre locations. With their modern architecture and inviting catering and event concept, the Mercedes me Stores are increasingly appealing to young and new target groups.
In addition, Mercedes-Benz is also modernising its brand identity in the exterior and interior of its retail outlets. The aim is to create a fascinating customer experience at the Point of Experience. Since the beginning of 2018, around 450 retail outlets worldwide have been scheduled to be equipped with the new brand presentation or have been already. In future, prospects and customers are to experience the hallmark luxury of the brand even more strongly. Digital media, customer-oriented processes and spatial individualization options will further improve customer service. Mobile consulting tools, spatial flexibility and optimized processes will give employees the opportunity to respond even more individually to the respective needs of customers.
In addition to modernising its retail formats, Mercedes-Benz has adapted the tasks and roles of its employees to the transformation. As the central contact in the showroom the Star Assistant greets the customers and visitors and holds an initial informal conversation in a relaxed atmosphere. In their new role as a host and the “first face” they ensure that the customer immediately feels welcome and professionally looked after when greeted. He clarifies the concerns of the customer in dialogue with him and puts him in touch with the right contact person for a consultation, service or sales meeting. The product expert explains the special features of the models and their technologies directly at the vehicle, for example. He also uses digital devices and screens for this purpose. The sales consultant assists the customer in the concrete purchase agreement, amongst other things. After the purchase, the customers are supported by specialists in the service area. They ensure seamless coordination of workshop appointments via various channels and are the initial contact for customers in all service matters. With the new architectural approach in the car dealership, the sales and service areas are merging together seamlessly. This ensures optimum coordination between all units.
The performance and sports car brand Mercedes-AMG also stands for an inspiring and emotional experience in physical retail. The Hague is home to one of more than 550 performance centres worldwide by now, which specialise in Mercedes-AMG. These points of sale are precisely tailored to the needs of the performance-oriented customers. The specifically designed brand environment with accordingly dynamic product presentation shapes the atmosphere of the AMG section of the showroom. The AMG sales and service experts on site are specialists for all Mercedes-AMG models. In addition to professional expertise in direct customer contact, the performance centres offer a host of AMG test vehicles to generate lasting enthusiasm for the brand and products. Customer-focused AMG events and marketing activities on a regular basis strengthen the positioning of the performance centre and offer customers a unique buying experience.
Seamless customer journey across all online and offline channels
Customers move in their own individual life worlds and enter into contact with a brand in a variety of different ways. The merging of online and offline sales facilitates a seamless customer journey in which the (potential) customers can use their preferences and profile settings at each touchpoint. The classic journey begins with contact on the internet and ends with the physical product experience. In future, the Mercedes me ID gives customers access to their personal profile at any time and at any point in the customer journey. In this way, the staff can advise and support customers individually quickly and efficiently. After customers’ attention is mostly drawn to products online, where they preconfigure them, they like testing them in the offline world before they make their final decision to purchase. This is important for over 80 percent of customers especially when purchasing a vehicle. In addition, an appointment for a test drive can be easily and flexibly scheduled online.
The variety of contact possibilities continues even after the vehicle purchase: With the previously mentioned Mercedes me ID, the customer can flexibly use an increasing number of online and offline services along the entire product cycle. The personal settings are always stored in the profile and can be used by the customer at any contact point – online and offline. If, for example, the customer books digital services via the Mercedes me App on the smartphone, he can use them when logging into the vehicle system for the next journey. This can be a newly compiled playlist as well as the destinations pre-set for the next day. The networked Mercedes me services are very popular with customers. The Mercedes me activation rate for new Mercedes-Benz vehicles is over 90 percent, which currently are more than three million active Mercedes me users.
To enable offering customers the best possible customized services along the customer journey, Mercedes-Benz is increasingly relying on data-supported services and artificial intelligence. True to the core brand value of safety and security, the company pays special attention to the protection of customer data and attaches great importance to transparency and the responsible handling of data. The customer himself decides at any time which services he wants to use and which data he wants to share. Safety has been part of the DNA of the Stuttgart-based company with the three-pointed star for more than 130 years and is the basis for the trust customers have in Mercedes-Benz.
Consistent advancement of the Mercedes me portfolio
In order to serve the various target groups, Mercedes-Benz offers a broad portfolio of Mercedes me that has grown and will continue to grow as part of “Best Customer Experience 4.0”. The portfolio is subdivided into three different strategic fields “My Usage”, “My Way” and “My Life”.
“My Usage” includes all solutions that facilitate the use of the vehicle or the mobility service. These include, for example, the language assistant in the MBUX infotainment system, maintenance management and carsharing. Furthermore the company is also testing new offering concepts, such as Mercedes me Flexperience. This Service enables the user to switch flexibly between up to twelve vehicles within one year Customers can choose between models from different segments – from convertibles for the hot season to estate cars for family holidays. As a result, users benefit from tailor-made mobility offers and get another convenient and flexible access to the product and service range of Mercedes-Benz.
The strategy field “My Way” encompasses all services which enable personalized mobility on the way from A to B. This also includes all applications in the field of electric mobility under the EQ technology brand – from the provision of the vehicle to the optimisation of charging processes. In addition, with the Send2Car function on the smartphone, the user can send destinations found, such as a new restaurant, directly to the vehicle so that it can be accessed when the next journey begins.
“My Life” bundles all the solutions that fill the time on the road – for example music streaming, Internet in the car or in-car office.
The Mercedes me portfolio extends over various regions worldwide and is adapted to the customer expectations in the respective region.
Source: Daimler AG