In an attempt to better serve the drivers of their vehicles, Mazda is using IT and CRM to simplify the process of buying and having service done to their vehicles. After seeing reports that their customers were satisfied with the driving experience, but more concerned with the technology on-board, the car making company is using a CRM system to not only speed up the process, but make it less stressful and more convenient for the owner of the car. In a business in which there are many competitors for service and repairs, Mazda is making sure that their dealerships are more attractive than the auto-shop down the street.
The CIO of Mazda, Jim DiMarzio, first identified the problem that faced the internal IT management group at the company by noting, “it was new territory for us because, as employees of an automaker, we don't shop for cars like everyone else--we order them internally”, meaning that they were unaware of the customer experience of buying one of their cars. To gather data on customer touchpoints, for example what customers liked and what they wanted Mazda to work on in the future, the company needed to implement technology that would harvest both dealership sales information and service information. Jim DiMarzio comments on the usefulness of this technology, “As a result, we're now able to see, for instance, that a customer has bought two Mazdas in the past three years, has been in for service five times and has bought accessories from us.” Once Mazda has this historical information from customer service, they can begin to use it in their future customer interactions. As the cars keep becoming more technologically equipped, so can the IT management better pinpoint customers. For example, they can now see if someone has a “check oil” light on, a message can be sent from the car to the CRM system and they can be sent a coupon for an oil change at the dealership rather than being beaten out by a local shop. The dealerships make most of their profit on service and sales, so the easier and cheaper the experience at those locations, the more profitable they will be.
Something I would have liked the article to touch upon was the system (if any) that Mazda had in place before this revelation of a new CRM system. Mazda is one of the larger car companies in the United States and it would surprise me if they had no system up until a couple years ago. In an article dated May 10, 2006 from Capgemini, a French consulting and outsourcing company, I found that the company worked with Mazda Motors to develop a cross-dimensional CRM roadmap. The second thing I would have liked mentioned would be any financial information as to how the new system is being used or if they’ve seen a bump in revenue.