Automakers, dealers must fully digitize

Comprehensively digitizing the customer experience in the age of … best solution during one of the most difficult periods experienced by the sector.

TO THE EDITOR:

Today, automakers and dealers face a significant challenge — balancing investment in fully digitizing all aspects of customer engagement to drive growth and keeping the lights on at the same time.

The market was already slowing before COVID-19 and continues to weaken in its wake while accelerating the need to better connect with customers to improve sales. Comprehensively digitizing the customer experience in the age of contactless transactions seems the best solution during one of the most difficult periods experienced by the sector.

Although 81 percent of industry executives surveyed by Accenture believe much more is needed to thoroughly digitize engagement, less than half (44 percent) are moving aggressively in that direction. The dilemma to both maintain core operations and innovate during tough times is further compounded by the need to invest in new technologies, such as customer data platforms, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, that will help fuel that innovation.

In short, the problem must be solved to sustain growth. Automakers and dealers cannot afford to be just aspirational when it comes to aggressive digitization. If that means executing a zero-based approach as a resolution, they should seriously consider it. To do less threatens future success.

BRIAN IRWIN,Managing director, Accenture, Detroit, The writer leads Accenture’s automotive and mobility practice in North America.