May I ask a more generic question? What professional differences are there, for a person in your position, between working in Turin and working in Detroit?
Both Turin and Detroit have a strong, proud automotive heritage. While both have gone through tough times, both continue to maintain a vivid passion for cars. From a professional standpoint, I feel at home in both places.
When I compare my many years within Fiat, starting at Iveco and then at Fiat Group Automobiles and CNH, and then moving to Chrysler, it’s clear that both companies have gone through a process of rebuilding a position in the marketplace by developing a strong work ethic, establishing a culture of meritocracy and maintaining a passion for following new paths. Because this texture is the same, the nationality doesn’t play a role. Today, along with my family, I have a multi-cultural spirit and enjoy the nuances of both Italy and the U.S.
Moving on to Customer Service, has the approach to the customer changed in the last three years? Are there different needs and tools depending on the geographical area? Could you give us a quick overview?
With social media, the channels for customer-care communication have increased in the past three years. It’s no secret that more and more customers are using social media to register their complaints. These customers expect quick feedback and resolution. At Mopar, we have embraced this channel of communication and view this as yet another opportunity to fully satisfy our customers.
We have a holistic approach to customer care that involves our dealers. In fact, we work tirelessly to effectively cover every single customer touch point: online, on the phone, in the mail, and in the service lane.
We do not see significant changes from one region to another. Customers everywhere in the world expect similar treatment. Access to online information allows them to quickly gather feedback from other customers, wherever they may be located. This is why we are working every day to further turn our company toward the customer. Only through analysis of customer feedback can we continue to improve our internal processes.
Again, we have 70 million customers on the road today. That’s 70 million opportunities to offer high-quality service, parts and customer care. Our job is to make sure that we seize every one of these opportunities – in every one of these venues – to satisfy and delight a customer anywhere in the world. In short, we want our customers for life and want our customers to tell their friends and neighbors how satisfied they are with our brands and our products.
Experience tells us that when these activities are outsourced, the headquarters lose, or risk losing, their influence or control of the situation. How do they intend to avoid this?
The majority of our customer-care operations are in-sourced, which keeps our teams fully engaged and dedicated to our customers and our business.
For instance, even in the EMEA Region, where every automaker is facing a difficult situation, we continue to invest in an in-house centralized contact center in the north of Italy. In this facility, we have more than 300 agents who serve 18 countries in 12 languages. For us, there is no compromise in the quality of service that we provide our customers.
And also in markets where we use service providers to run some call-center operations, we have maintained a strong internal customer-care team that is fully responsible for managing the process and continuously adjusting our response to customer needs.
Dealing with customer service for different brands, limited to the same geographical area, how can you diversify your activities?
The way we manage our customer-care teams is tailored to the specific market structure. For instance in the U.S., where we have six brands but only one primary language, although we offer Spanish service too, we have dedicated customer-care teams for each brand. In EMEA, where we need to provide service in 12 languages we have language-specific teams representing all of our brands. We use specific, strategic approaches that are appropriate for each market.
In short, we customize customer care. Regardless of the approach, the key factor is establishing a close connection between our customer-care teams and our brand teams. The customer-care team provides the expertise for customer service techniques while the brand team sets the expectation and requirements that are unique to each brand.
Staying with the subject of CS, how important is outsourcing in your organization? Are developments at hand to eliminate it or reduce it to a necessary minimum? Do you agree that outsourcing leads to a loss of control of the situation?
As I mentioned before, I don’t think we can talk about “outsourcing” vs. “insourcing.” There is no doubt that there are activities where using service providers who specialize in offering a specific service can generate higher efficiencies and effectiveness. However, I do agree that in order to be competitive, a company must maintain a strong know-how also for what it buys, whether it’s a component or a service.
This is even more important when it comes to customer service. For this reason, we have invested and will keep investing in these processes both in terms of resources and systems.