Last year was rocked by brand scandals. Whether these were related to safety, deceitful practices, or just downright bad CX, it's no surprise that some of the most well-known brands saw huge variability in customer approval and loyalty in 2016.
In our latest Customer Quotient (CQ) research, this rang true, especially for automotive brands. CQ was developed to assess the relationship between customers and brands, from the customer's perspective; it is a customer's emotional buying criteria, a blueprint of what draws customers to certain brands. And this year, automotive brand scores ranged from -6.91 to +6.03, demonstrating that even in a category where all products meet some fundamental measure of quality, relationships and emotional connections matter. Consumers want to feel confident that manufacturers mean what they say and follow through with actions. Companies that betray consumers' emotional faith pay a heavy price.
By the same token, the high-performing companies -- both in the automotive category (Subaru, Lexus, Tesla) and outside of it -- have paved the way for what companies can and should do in 2017 to generate trust. Beyond providing great customer service, what makes or breaks consumers' experience with a brand is not horsepower, torque, or technology. Rather, it's these five things:
- A deep understanding of customers;
- Authenticity, and
- A willingness to be open and honest about both its strengths and weaknesses.